All posts tagged: early pandemic

A Leap Day tradition with a dark side

A Leap Day tradition with a dark side

The calendar blip has led to some unusual rituals in past decades. Bernd Weibrod / picture alliance / Getty February 29, 2024, 6:30 PM ET This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. A calendar is a site of order. What happens when that order gets disrupted? First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: A Quadrennial Blip February 29 is a blip in the normal flow of time. The date may not appear on dropdown menus or at the DMV; it may scramble pay stubs or confound bartenders checking IDs. It has, over the years, inspired creativity and transgression. And folklore has it that the leap year—and particularly Leap Day—was once the only time when women had social permission to propose marriage to men. The tradition, which some contend has roots in fifth-century Ireland, enabled women (and men) to “try on this other gender, with …

The Pandemic’s ‘Ghost Architecture’ Is Still Haunting Us

The Pandemic’s ‘Ghost Architecture’ Is Still Haunting Us

Last Friday, in a bathroom at the Newark airport, I encountered a phrase I hadn’t seen in a long time: Stop the spread. It accompanied an automatic hand-sanitizing station, which groaned weakly when I passed my hand beneath it, dispensing nothing. Presumably set up in the early pandemic, the sign and dispenser had long ago become relics. Basically everyone seemed to ignore them. Elsewhere in the terminal, I spotted prompts to maintain a safe distance and reduce overcrowding, while maskless passengers sat elbow-to-elbow in waiting areas and mobbed the gates. Beginning in 2020, COVID signage and equipment were everywhere. Stickers indicated how to stand six feet apart. Arrows on the grocery-store floor directed shopping-cart traffic. Plastic barriers enforced distancing. Masks required signs dotted store windows, before they were eventually replaced by softer pronouncements such as masks recommended and masks welcome. Such messages—some more helpful than others—became an unavoidable part of navigating pandemic life. Four years later, the coronavirus has not disappeared—but the health measures are gone, and so is most daily concern about the pandemic. …

Restocking Season Is Getting Out of Hand

Restocking Season Is Getting Out of Hand

Now that the frenzy of the holidays has spat you out into the harsh light of the new year, you might be tempted to look around your disheveled home and decide that it’s time to get your life together. Maybe your fridge is empty, or your pantry is full of the stuff you bought for Christmas baking projects you never quite got around to, or the laundry from your family’s trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa still isn’t done. The internet is full of suggestions on exactly how you might rectify this domestic chaos, but if you go looking for organizational inspiration, the tips and tricks you find will center disproportionately on a single object: the humble clear acrylic storage container. If you’re unsure what to do with one, an entire video genre has sprung up on social media over the past few years to provide some inspiration. Watch a couple, and the tropes become clear. A pair of disembodied, feminine hands—wrinkle free, well manicured, adorned with trendy jewelry—unpacks consumer goods from their original containers …