I wrote this piece in September 2020, but it feels increasingly relevant as the hope of truly widespread vaccination in America creeps in. Just some thoughts and feels.
I measure time in Greek yogurt expiration dates. It’s not that I worry my yogurt will expire, or that I eat it particularly slowly. In fact, I consume exactly one 35.3 ounce container of Fage 0% Greek yogurt every week — a ritual I’ve continued since my freshman year of college. Perhaps I’m a creature of habit, perhaps my options remain limited. Unfortunately, I’ve become mildly lactose intolerant, but no, that won’t stop me.
I measure time in yogurt expiration dates because by this measure, time travel is possible. Fage expiration dates are always approximately two months in the future. When I initially wrote this essay in early September 2020, in Fage time, it was early November. The US presidential election had just transpired. While the election’s results may be woeful, or perhaps they would be a joy, the hoopla would be over, I thought. Some semblance of the seemingly endless uncertainty infiltrating all of our lives (pandemic or not) would have cleared.
As I revisit this essay in March 2021, in Fage time, it’s mid-April (I bought this container last week). Spring has sprung, the cherry blossoms in Prospect Park are blooming, and we will be weeks away from having enough vaccines for all Americans to be vaccinated (per Biden’s recent announcement). In Fage time, the end of pure isolation is near — a lullaby I can’t ignore amidst our dark, lonely, and seemingly endless winter.
Whenever I toss a container of Fage in my grocery cart, I’m able to temporarily escape the Very Important issues of my present — a work project I cannot understand, a pandemic that’s uprooted all normalcy besides the very act of grocery shopping, a debate over the necessity of stockpiling toilet paper — and transport myself to a time near enough to feel relevant, but far enough to sense possibilities, or anticipate change.
It’s a simple mind trick, and a sense of control. It’s a reminder that while only sixty days away, the future can be different than the realities we see today. Especially now, that encouragement is priceless.
Thoughts? Find me @LeahFessler on Twitter.