Published in the Rains County Leader on May 26, 2020:
I need a loaf of bread. David had been asking for BLT’s, so when Brookshire’s offered a three-pound package of bacon for $9.99, I put it on the list. We have enjoyed several sandwiches since then, and David is a happy man. However, I underestimated the number of sandwiches in that much bacon, and I’m almost out of bread. I don’t have a long list ready for another pickup order. I just need a loaf of bread. In the next day or two I will probably violate CDC recommendations that people of my age avoid such dangerous behavior and enter a grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. I’m sorry if that makes some people including my son nervous, but normal life is calling.
One day last week, we went to Rockwall to have the car serviced. The main reason for the trip was to have the condensation drain in the air condition blown out. Because of a design flaw, the tube occasionally fills with dirt, mildew, and so forth and begins to drain into the passenger compartment. That’s hard on the carpet not to mention my feet since I usually kick my shoes off in the car. The last time we had this done, it only took a couple of minutes, and I sat in the car. That was our plan this time, but in talking with our service writer, we realized it was time for an oil change and some updates to the computer system. Instead of two minutes, it took about thirty – and instead of waiting in the car, we went inside. The chairs in the customer lounge were six feet apart, and we were cautious, but once again normal life was calling.
On one of our recent outings, we saw a class C motorhome parked by the ice machine on Highway 69. A young couple and a preteen boy were filling an ice chest in preparation for what I imagine was a holiday weekend at one of the newly reopened parks. I wondered if theirs would be a family campout or if they were meeting friends and family – or if they would make friends and socialize with campers near them. I’m betting against a solitary weekend because normal life is calling.
Every day on social media I see examples of normal life that refuses to be quarantined. Grandparents are itching to get their hands on newborn family members, loved ones are tiring of curbside birthday celebrations, brides and grooms are discovering that virtual weddings are not nearly as fulfilling as the real thing, and bereaved families long for the comfort of shared hugs and tears. We are social creatures, and the call of community is strong.
Vanity is also calling us back to normal life. Now that more businesses are being allowed to open their doors with cautious limitations, more people will be drawn from their homes. Hair needs to be cut, curled and colored, and home haircuts need to be repaired. Nails need to be manicured and toes need to be made sandal ready. Some of us will go back to the gym to regain pre-isolation fitness, and others will go shopping for new clothes to accommodate post-isolation bodies.
The term “new normal” has become, if not popular, at least an often-used term to describe what our post-COVID world will be like. There is no doubt that life will be different, but we won’t stay shut up behind closed doors forever. The call to life is too strong, and even if it has to be lived behind masks and six feet apart, the call will be answered.