Taking things slow during COVID with Joe Pera

Entering the third week of sheltering from the world, I’ve fallen into a new rhythm of day to day life, one that is much more slow.

While things in our world are moving very fast, they are also very slow at the same time. Work is face paced, keeping up with new information is a new area of study, and buying goods is a micro odyssey. A lot of energy is required. But at home, the pace of life has slowed. As most of society has shut down, small things have become a refuge, like meals, a cup of tea, talking to a friend and, yes, even cleaning.

There’s a TV show I watched this week that speaks to this time: Joe Pera Talks with You. It’s the quirky comedy that chronicles about a middle school choral teacher in Michigan’s Upper Penisula. At first watch, it appears to be the soul of a 70-year-old man inside the body of a 30-year-old going through the mundaneness of daily life, but it really is a celebration of those simple things that are now taken away from us. Oh, and it’s hilarious.

As my habits in quarantine have become those of an old man, this show has become much more relevant and relatable.

A Saturday morning breakfast, a relaxing trip to the grocery store visiting friends and family for a cook out — all things that became routine and then for granted but we so desire now. The way Joe talks to you about them are soothing. As we’re looking at the world through a different lens, his perspective is, frankly, inspiring. While each episode is only about 12 minutes, they feel like a full half an hour, a statement of the peace we can find in these things. Time has a different meaning now.

Much of Joe Pera Talks with You celebrates what we can’t do right now, it also highlights things we can do: staying up all night watching internet videos, going for a hike, reading what peaks our interest, lots of reading.

The things he gets excited about are things I am excited to experience again. A story of a simple man with simple pleasures all of the sudden becomes something like an aspiration.

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