Things We Took for Granted Before COVID-19…
Fear NOT, no coronavirus here…
Earlier today, my Wife and I prepared to head to the doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment — fear not, no coronavirus here, just a regular appointment.
But, what would normally be a regular appointment isn’t regular anymore. We had to pack up our safety supplies first, to ensure that we were properly protected against COVID-19: Latex gloves, masks, hand sanitizer (our ONLY bottle), and snacks (because I’d be waiting in the car, not unnecessarily exposing myself). All this to GO TO THE DOCTOR, usually one of the most sanitary places to go.
Sure, even before the crisis, when we were still in the “old normal,” you worried mildly about sitting in a waiting room with other sick people, and catching whatever THEY were dealing with. But you never worried about DYING from it. You never had to plan strategically with your spouse, to make sure that one of you survived a trip outside of the home so that you’d be able to care for the kids.
THIS is the new normal.
You can’t go grocery shopping without suiting up and sealing off your body from disease. And, once you get there, you can’t even get in without waiting on line, spaced 6 feet apart, because the store is limiting how many shoppers can be in there at the same time.
And finally, once inside, you can’t even find normal items that USED to be available in abundance (toilet paper, rice, freaking cookies and cream Ice Cream) because everyone is panic buying.
I used to enjoy going to the movies every week with the family.
The intoxicating smell of overpriced, buttery popcorn, sneaking in the other snacks (because really, I’m not paying $6 for candy I can buy for 0.99), heckling bad trailers for upcoming movies, and the oohs and aahs and laughter from the crowd gathered around you, experiencing a group event WITH you.
But this “New Normal” is so much more than the inconvenience of grocery shopping, or entertainment. Families are suddenly spending a lot more time together…or apart, depending on whether they are at risk, or they live far away from each other.
People’s daily routines, like going to the gym, or to Starbucks, have been completely disrupted. Teachers are missing the live, daily interactions with their students, and workers are missing their co-workers.
I posted this tweet earlier today…
…briefly mentioning how I missed the movies, and I asked folks what things THEY missed, and I was moved to tears about some of the things people missed…things they’d possibly taken for granted before we were all ordered to shelter in place in order to stay safe from COVID-19.
Things as basic, but important, as hugs and handshakes; missing dinners with our loved ones; seeing our grandparents and grandchildren…and some have even lost their loved ones to COVID-19.
This is only a partial listing of the pains (and strangely, joys) of being sheltered in place away from family and friends (or WITH them). The thing that moved me most about this was that we are all miles apart from each other…in most cases, we are strangers.
But we are all linked at the hip right now, watching the same movie, experiencing that same group event. We are the cast of characters with our shared pain. And a pain shared is a pain lessened.
We will get through this, together. Thank you for letting me share with you.