The Novel Coronavirus is unique in more than one way. It will impact each of us differently. That made me ponder the impact of the Coronavirus on my own daily life. I am one of the lucky ones … so far. The disease has not found its way into my life in any dramatic or tragic manner.
As I carry on, I still get to talk to a lot of people. There seems to be a disconnect with the hysterical reporting we see on television and the attitude of the average person-on-the-street. The reality of daily life seems inconsistent with the dramatic reports I see on the news. It is the nature of news to focus on the unusual – and even to make the unusual appear to be the usual. I see that differentiation when I go out and about.
We do not shake hands anymore and we keep a bit more distance for the most part – but not the six feet recommended by the medical professionals. The grocery stores may be a bit less crowded – and there are a few folks wearing rubber gloves and even fewer with masks. Interestingly, those without any protective gear seem to be disproportionately the older folks – like myself.
The store has long provided hand sanitizing sheets at the door. They were rarely used in the past – and I have yet to see anyone using them in my past three trips to the store. Perhaps that the staff is wiping down every shopping cart as it is returned to the store is a reason.
As we pass within inches of each other in the aisles, no one jumps back or warns to stay back. In fact, we often smile — or even exchange a pleasantry. People in the checkout line maintain no more distance than the length of the shopping cart. I have not seen any without a cart standing back – and no one tells them to do so. If we speak of the virus there seems concern, but an utter lack of fear. In fact, they are more likely to shrug it all off.
Vegetables are being picked up, examined and often returned to the bin as usual. Sensitized by the media warnings, I paid attention to face touching. Since I never observed it before, I cannot say it is not diminished, but — oh my god! – I never realized how much we all unconsciously touch our own faces. We scratch. We rub. We wipe. We swipe. We cannot seem to think without putting our hand to our forehead – to ponder without rubbing our chin. We flick our nose with our thumb and clear the corner of our eyes with a finger. And I have no idea why we suddenly decide to pull on our earlobe.
Eggs and meats seem to be the scarcest items. Toilet paper was gone from the shelves for a day or two, but it is again available – one package to a customer. I have gone to the store three out of the last four days to get eggs. They now have a one-to-a-customer supply limit.
I thought it was humorous to think that they tell us to say home, but by limiting one dozen eggs to a customer, they necessitate that I head to the store every other day for … eggs. Three people can go through a dozen eggs quickly.
When I went to pick up a prescription, the pharmacy staff did not wear gloves or masks. Everything seemed quite normal. The tennis courts I used to use at any time are now crowded at every hour – mostly folks over 50. Well after all, I do live in southern Florida. No matter where I go almost everyone is over 50.
South Florida is experiencing a greater outbreak than other parts of the nation – except New York City. That is likely to be the reason. Seems like every other person you meet down here is from New York. Many spend their summers here. We call them “snowbirds.” This year, they do not seem to be flying north on schedule. In fact, the airlines report an unusually large number of folks flying here from New York. For years, they have been infecting Florida with their left-wing politics and now they are bringing us the Coronavirus. Thank you, New York.
Since my job is writing commentaries for a number of online news sites, my life has not changed all that much. I have been a home worker for the almost 45 years I ran my consulting business. I was ahead of my time.
My youngest son, Alex, 26, lives with me now. He had supplemented his wrestling, acting, modeling, musician career by being a part-time Panera delivery boy. Ironically, the job taken to supplement his income is now
his only source of income – and his hours have been extended. He also said the tips are significantly better. He
does not interact with customers. They order, pay and tip on the phone or computer. He drops the food at their door and calls them to retrieve it.
My sacrifices are nominal — hardly to be characterized as problems. I have had to postpone some minor hernia surgery. No big deal. I am unable to go to restaurants for my favorite foods – Chicago-style hot dogs, pizza, gyros, egg foo young with fried rice and a great bar burger. That IS a big deal. For me, a greater problem than the hernia operation.
I am, however, deeply appreciative of my own good fortune – or lack of bad fortune – and extremely empathetic for all those who have far greater problems and are making much greater sacrifices.
People will die and leave behind family and friends to grieve them. But for the most part, we the people will get through this time and hopefully be stronger and better for it. I can only hope and pray that as the virus subsides, it will take with it the acrimony and hatefulness that has infected our political and civil discourse.
We cannot know the future, but my personal mantra of the moment is, “so far, so good.” And for those less fortunate than me, we can only trust in the biblical assurance that “this too shall pass.”
So, there ‘tis.