Woman searching and connecting with people online using her phoneBy Kim Fernandez

Instagram populates your search page with images it thinks you’ll like based on your previous searches (and sometimes what you’re talking about, but we’ll address creepy another day). My search? All exotic cars.

Bugatti, Apollo, Koenigsegg, Pagani–these were not names I knew two years ago. But they are central to my on-campus college kid’s world, along with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and others. Every day, he messages me Instagram posts of exotics and I message him photos back, and so even though my own ride is “sensible,” the supercars have taken over my search feed.

Seeing a notification that a car photo waits for me in my messages lights up my day. My kid wanted to share something with me. It’s a “hey, Mom,” and a little “I’m good,” and sometimes it’s “You up?” that, every so often, leads to a deeper conversation over text. The cars are a connection between us and the daily linchpin that lets us know the other is here. Right now, being here is huge.

Johnna Frosini, CAPP’s fabulous story in this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine is all about those connections and how important they are. Coffee over Zoom, a distanced walk, and even a quick “how’s it going” text can all be the kickoff to deeper conversations with our colleagues, and those conversations–even just those quick check-ins–may be just the perfect thing if someone’s facing challenges.

I read the other day that astronauts on the space station face their greatest homesickness and the biggest psychological hurdles of their long journeys the two weeks before returning to Earth, when it’s so close and so much time away at the same time. I think a lot of us are right there right now, with light at the end of this terribly long tunnel we can see but not quite touch.

Thanks, Johnna, for the insight and wisdom. You’ve done a great service for all of us. Hang in there, gang, and keep reaching out–we’re almost there and that little touch-base can make all the difference.

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publications.