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Covid quarantine has some winners: The introverted, the productive and Jeff Bezos

A field guide to understanding the people who will have trouble letting go of pandemic lockdowns.
Robin Muccari / NBC News

After a year of exhausting research, I have definitively proven something I suspected since the Covid-19 lockdowns began: namely, that everybody else has had a much better pandemic experience than me.

I’m joking, of course. I know this is totally untrue. However, as we slowly emerge from our collective Covid-19 hibernation, there will likely be some folks who won’t be able to stop waxing nostalgic about the past year. I’ve divided them into seven “lockdown success” categories to help provide some insight into why these individuals aren’t as excited as the rest of us to see this global pandemic fade into the rearview mirror.

The productivity crew

These are the people who really had their acts together during lockdown — the ones waiting their whole lives to finally have enough time to launch their own eponymous dessert line, start a dog-breeding business or finish that novel. It’s a little painful to compare these accomplishments to my own pandemic endeavors, which included trying to understand the psychology of toilet paper hoarding, wondering how the tigers at the Bronx Zoo could get Covid-19 tests but I couldn’t and polling friends about whether my mask was supposed to match everything else I was wearing.

People with all the things

While on the one hand many individuals were Marie Kondo-ing the heck out of their lives, others were running out and purchasing different (but presumably more joy-filled) items. And while I’m not sure that gas grills, outdoor furniture and propane heat lamps spark joy in everyone, these things sure would have helped me get through this past winter of my discontent.

The lockdown glow-ups

These are the folks who miraculously lost 20 pounds while simultaneously baking Instagram-worthy loaves of sourdough bread in tiny studio apartment ovens, or the men who grew out their hair and beards and now look like Justin Trudeau, only hotter. It’s like a classic rom-com where the main character goes from ugly duckling to swan, but in this case all that was required was several months inside without a haircut.

Jeff Bezos

Bezos’s net worth has multiplied during the pandemic, so he now has several billion dollars more than before the world shut down. While I can’t imagine exactly what a billionaire does with extra billions (although I bet Amazon and Whole Foods front-line staff, especially the 20,000 workers who contracted Covid-19, might have some ideas), I’m guessing he probably hasn’t been spending hours surfing the web and wondering if his life would be vastly improved by fostering a kitten.

The pandemic romancers

Who are these people? How did anyone manage to find love in the middle of a giant, worldwide pandemic? These individuals must have been born with immunity to Zoom fatigue and a genetic predisposition toward extremely strong texting thumbs. Hopefully these romances, whose foundations were built upon shared Covid-19 hygiene measures, are able to last even when it doesn’t look like the world is coming to an end.

The happy introverts

These are the ones who honestly enjoyed spending hours alone reveling in their own company. Constantly posting solo selfies on social media with single cups of tea, purring cats and actual paper books, these introverts are redefining hygge and hoping the Zoom calls, or at least the social distance, continue even after the pandemic is over.

The entire country of New Zealand

Do I even need to explain? Keeping the number of Covid-19 deaths to just 26 to date, holding a peaceful pandemic election without anyone deciding it would be a good idea to storm the seat of government and communicating transparently to their citizens even without Dr. Anthony Fauci (but with incredibly endearing accents), the New Zealanders seem to have done the pandemic right. Nice job, New Zealand!