Good Morning: A return to a pre-COVID love

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

Over the past few weeks, I've been able to return to one of my hobbies that I've been missing since the start of the pandemic. After more than 16 months of keeping mostly to myself, I've been able to blow the dust off of the board and have started playing board games with friends again.

In previous columns, I've written fairly extensively about my long love affair with board games and gaming in general. In many ways, board gaming has been my Zen place and a time when I am fully able to relax and forget the stresses of the work day.

It is a shame that I only grew to appreciate that fact when I was unable to do it for more than a year.

My return to the game, or games as it may be, started a few weeks ago when a friend invited me to play a few games with him on a Friday night when both of us were free. Since the beginning of the pandemic,  I've mostly been doing my board games online through various programs. It filled an itch, but I knew that it wasn't quite the same; some of the appeal wasn't there for me.

We ended up meeting at a gaming shop nearby, but we ended up staying there for a few hours. In that time, a few others joined us. It felt good to be able to talk to people in person and escape the confines of my small apartment for a few hours, even if the experience was draining.

As we played, I felt a sense of nostalgia in a way. It wasn't a sense of longing for the distant past, but instead recent days. Specifically, I think I was longing for the days before COVID changed everything. I was longing for the times when I could spend my Friday nights with my friends without a care in the world.

My friend and I have held a few gaming sessions since then, and I hope this can become more frequent. I think many people have been longing for a return to normality in a strange world.

This is my new normal.