2020: We’ve gotten used to a lot!

You look back to Friday the 13th of March and if, thankfully, you haven’t become a serious victim of the pandemic, maybe you can pat yourself on the back. Because as BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs writes, we’ve learned to adapt, and live our lives in very new ways. Maybe you’ve got a few thoughts on this yourself that you’d like to write about. If you do, we’d welcome it at BoomerCafé.

Since the middle of March, we’ve gotten used to a lot. More than we thought we’d have to. And, longer than we thought we’d need to. If we haven’t suffered devastating loss of life or irreversible loss of income, it’s the little things we’ll remember.

That’s what this short piece is about. And if you have your own perspective on all of this (like, who doesn’t?), write about it, submit it to BoomerCafé. The more, the merrier.

Maybe the biggest little thing in my mind is the simplest: once seen as an abnormal necessity on the other side of the Pacific, most of us on this side too now wear masks. As the old credit card commercial said, “Don’t leave home without it.” It took a while before it became second-nature for me but now, three-quarters of a year into the pandemic, I finally find myself getting out of my car at the supermarket and walking in with my mask. Until not long ago, I’d get to the door, have an epiphany like, “Oh yeah!”, then have to turn around and go back to the car and grab the mask I’d forgotten.

Another change we’ve learned to cope with: crossing the street, moving to the far side of the sidewalk, passing the most convenient park bench for something more isolated, somehow trying to open the distance between us and someone coming toward us. In the pandemic’s early days, if someone showed their disdain for being anywhere near me, I took it as an insult. Now I take it as a favor.

And hugs? Even handshakes? Don’t even try. I probably carry it too far but when someone offers just a harmless elbow-bump, I still turn it down. Not that I’m living like a loner but if I’m not going to make contact with someone’s hand, what’s the point of contact with an elbow? Why take any risk? What’s in it for me?

A lot of us have loosened up on some of the early precautions of the pandemic though. Haven’t washed my bananas for months.

We’ve adopted a whole new set of phrases into our vocabulary: social distancing, contact tracing, flattening the curve (nope, not there yet), turning the corner (yep, but straight into head-on traffic). Whether it’s about protective equipment or economic bailout, we throw around new acronyms like alphabet soup: PPE, PPP, the CARES Act.

Many have adapted to working from home. Some miss the synergy and social rewards of the workplace but some say they’ve never been happier. No lipstick for women, no neckties for men, no razors for either. Then there’s that palpable perk if you don’t have to show up at a workplace: no long commutes. Of course some of us have had to adapt to a new place to eat, since with every computer in the house residing on the dining room table, there’s no room for food.

From time to time we’ve also adapted to shortages, with which this wealthy nation hasn’t had to cope in our lifetimes until now. From golf clubs to bikes, from t-bone steaks to toilet paper (the shortage of which from the start of the pandemic I’ll never understand). At the same time, we’ve adapted to a new way to shop: online. Plenty already did, but more do now. By way of example, Amazon’s sales of cough and cold medicines are up almost 1,000-percent. Good luck, corner drug stores. Total sales on Amazon are expected this quarter for the first time ever to top $100-billion. No social distancing, no capacity restrictions, no masks. Good luck, retail.

Like I said at the top, if you want to add to the list, if you want to write a story about what you’ve gotten used to and what you haven’t— in other words how you’ve coped… and how you’ve struggled coping… and maybe what you’ve lost… and finally, how you’re planning to get through the next few months when we’re surely going to have to cope some more— please write a piece of 500-600 words about it. Depending on the day, BoomerCafé has as many as 75,000 readers. Every one of us has a different story to tell. We’d love to hear yours. So would your fellow readers.

So please check out our story submission guidelines, which apply to both the writing, and the photos or other images that support it. Hope to hear from you.

1 Comment

  1. One of the results of the Amazon shopping is that the rural letter carriers are now delivering hundreds of packages that they and their vehicles were not designed to do. For example, my son delivers 50 lb. bags of dog food regularly out of a vehicle that is not high enough for him to stand in. Therefore he suffered back injury. UPS trucks are designed for such an operation while postal vehicles are not. Many people are unaware that the postal service delivers “the last mile” of many UPS and FedEx packages.

    Many days their vehicles will not hold all the packages so they are required to return to the post office for a second trip. All this while the Postmaster General has instituted procedures to thwart rather than accommodate the changed environment.

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