From the Other Side of Tolerance

During the pandemic, people had to make decisions about who was worth risking spending time with. We rarely made the cut.

Shinyung Oh
Published in
9 min readJul 7, 2021


Photo: Getty Images

The day I realized we need to move out of our San Diego home, I ordered four new pieces of furniture. Not little decorative stools or night stands that you can stack on top of boxes, but four solid wood cabinets that would require two or three movers to carry back out of the house and occupy valuable cubic feet in the moving van. One towered four feet tall, requiring anchoring to the wall for safety.

“Isn’t it crazy to order new furniture now, when we’re thinking of moving?” asked my husband.

“Yes,” I said. “But I’m not leaving until we have lived in it fully, as we had planned.”

Ever since we moved into our newly built home four years ago, we had been meaning to fill the space flanking the oversized Cantina glass doors to our travertine-tiled patio with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean. We had also been planning to replace our sticker-covered Ikea bookcases that we had temporarily put in the office and the main bedroom to hold my ever growing stash of books. Suddenly, these long procrastinated purchases became top priority.