Some of my realities in the time of COVID-19

Confession: I put on dressy clothes and makeup to get the oil changed in the car yesterday. Having this as the highlight for my week is where I am at right now.

COVID-19 reality is settling in as we continue to adjust our plans for this summer and fall in response to the pandemic. My spouse, oldest son, and I are doing the safer-at-home thing here together. Our son has not yet flown the nest and works part-time from this house. I also continue to work from home. I greatly appreciate that I’m able to telework and am still being paid. I must admit, however, that it is difficult to maintain focus at times. I spend more time than I should on painstaking details. Still, I can work on my projects without a lot of distractions since I have few places to go to these days.

Our main daily concern is what we will have for dinner — or what I plan to cook. This nightly meal seems to be holding us together, and I’m getting more adventurous in my efforts. They don’t realize it, but I’m slowly turning us into vegetarians as we use up the remaining fish and meats in the freezer. I read about the conditions in slaughterhouses for workers and animals and am having a harder time stomaching meat-based protein. I feel guilty for subjecting other beings to all that suffering. I was vegetarian before the boys were born, and it seems a good time to shift back to that.

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As far as our fun events planned for this summer, everything, save for one charity ride, has been called off. I suspect that this ride, scheduled for the end of August, will eventually be canceled, as well. I’m hoping that things will improve enough that it might go on. It’s one of my favorites — an all-women event with mimosas at the end. The reality is that bringing several hundred or so cyclists into a small area to start a ride, and then rejoining them to drink at the end, isn’t a smart thing to do during a viral pandemic. So I’m not holding my breath on this one surviving.

I keep thinking that this HAS to end soon. But I suspect that we are going to live with the threat of this virus for a long time. Partly because of the nature of a novel virus, partly because of the mixed-bag response to stemming the spread — on so many levels. The end of the pandemic doesn’t mean a return to anything close to “normal.” Like 9/11 or the 2008 recession, we’ve all been changed by this. Whether we like it or not, the old normal doesn’t exist and the new normal is really uncertain.

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But back to my reality.

At this point, about all I do for outside entertainment is go for bike rides and some hikes, now that the snow is finally disappearing from our remote part of the world. It’s pretty open here and easy to avoid people for now. That will be changing after Memorial Day next week, when people flood to the mountains, virus or no virus. The gym re-opened yesterday, and frankly, I’m leery of going back at this point. It seems the exposure risk could still be quite high in an enclosed space, despite the constant cleaning of the facility. We’ve all seen how unsanitary people can be in a gym. Now is not the time to be sharing sweat — or breathing the same air, for that matter.

My pool also re-opened recently. The current plan is to have people call ahead and reserve a lane for swimming laps. I made an appointment to swim today, but feel a little uneasy about doing so. Should I be doing this now? Should we be re-opening these places? Am I endangering others by wanting to workout in a pool? Is the rich chlorine environment enough to kill off the virus? I’ll have to see how it goes.

I do kind of like having an assigned time and lane to swim in. There’s no lane sharing and lots of open space. Selfishly, I’d support that approach long-term. At the same time, there is no access to locker rooms or showers at the facility. You come dressed for swimming and leave in a wet bathing suit to go shower at home. That part is going to suck.

What might suck even worse is not being able to hang out in the sauna or hot tub afterward. That was so 2019.

Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

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