Back in March, I advised readers in a column that we shouldn’t believe that the current climate is how life will be like from now on.
“Don’t think that this is the ‘new normal,’” I said. “This too shall pass.”
Four months on, I still feel that way.
It’s mainly because, as you will note, it’s only been four months. Like many of you, I make jokes about how the last four months has been the longest five years of my life. Like many others, I have wondered when the other shoe will drop – if it will be necessary to start shutting down the economy again, or how many cases of COVID-19 we’ll see before a vaccine is developed. Will the vaccine be the ultimate cure? Will I have to get shots every year for the rest of my life?
I have made changes to my daily living habits. I no longer plan on doing my grocery shopping at midnight, because most stores that were previously 24-7 now lock their doors at 10 p.m.
(Remember when we used to joke, “If Walmart is open 24-7, why do they have locks on the doors?” Ah – good times.)
I now often go shopping for more than just myself. Both of my elderly parents are in the danger zone for getting serious complications from COVID, so I urge them to stay out of public as much as possible. I have had various degrees of success with that. My mother does tend to get stir-crazy and leave the house without my permission (wags finger at Mom).
Like many, I know what it is like to spend a holiday standing outside the window of a health care facility, talking to a family member on a phone and waving at them through the glass of their window, being an outsider to their world with no way of getting in and just giving them a hug.
I have had to make changes at work, too. I often laugh about how the most read thing I work on for the newspaper will be the Saturday land transfers – not my life-affirming feature spotlights or my (to me) extremely important health department updates on the current state of COVID-19 in our area. Too many people only want to know how much their neighbor’s house sold for.
For months, that feature had to be put on hold because the Pulaski Courthouse, the place I have to go to get those documents, was closed to the public. Just recently, restrictions have eased. I have been given permission from Pulaski County Clerk Linda Burnett to use their computers to compile the list of land transfers once again.
Even there, changes have been made. Instead of floating over to the Courthouse whenever I want, I have to schedule a time to go into the Clerk’s office, requiring careful planning and coordinating with Linda and her staff.
(I recognize their help in this effort and thank them profusely.)
And, most importantly, the biggest change I’ve made is to make sure grabbing a face covering is part of my walking-out-the-door routine. Some days it’s a beautifully made mask, some days it’s a piece of unsewn fabric out of a pile of scraps that was supposed to one day serve as quilting squares (for that far away day I would have time to learn how to quilt).
Yet, every day I note the changes from how I lived my life up until the beginning of March, I still refuse to call all this “normal.”
Maybe I’m too optimistic, and maybe I’m living in denial. Maybe I’m right. Time will tell.
But I still hold on to the belief that someday this will all be a memory and we will go back to the way life was like before. It’s only been four months or so. Even if it takes a couple more years, we will see life back to the way we’re used to. It just takes a handful of patience and an unwavering belief in the will of humans.
We will just have to wait and see.