Once, not too long ago, I had an extensive bathroom collection of little bottles — the kind that hotels give (or used to give) to guests that contained small portions of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand lotion.
I had dozens and dozens of the little bottles stored in various places in our bathroom. I would go on trips for work and faithfully bring the unused bottles back from from my travels so I could use them at home. Waste not, want not, my grandparents taught, so why go out and spend good money on a bottle of shampoo when you can supply your needs through the little bottles the hotels hand out? It’s not like my grizzled mane needs the kind of luxurious concoctions featured on shampoo commercials, anyway.
When I was traveling regularly, bringing home more bottles every week and month, it seemed like the vast collection of little bottles would supply my shampoo and body wash needs forever. But over time the little bottle collection shrank a bit, as hotels transitioned to big push dispensers of shampoo and conditioner to protect the environment from plastic bottle waste, and then the coronavirus pandemic hit, all business travel vanished in the blink of an eye, and the opportunities for replenishment of the little bottle collection abruptly ceased. And now, after going almost half a year without any business travel of any kind, we’re down to only a few of the little bottles left — a mere fraction of what the collection once was.
This coronavirus period has been strange, for sure, but one of the interesting things about it is how quickly we can adjust to and accept the “new normal” of masks, and spending more time at home, and steering wide of people on the street, and the other changes in behavior that become accepted. You’re going along, living your life in the new way, and then something — like some little bottles in your shower stall — reminds you of just how much things have really changed.