Stay the Course

Social distancing black man and woman character wearing medical mask maintain to prevent from virus

Monday, September 21, 2020

Today I am grateful for staying the course.  There is a lot going on these days and I’m not talking about the political debacle, which I’m not going to get into.  I promise.  If you follow me you know how I feel anyway and I don’t need to beat that topic to death.  Again.  I’m talk about staying the Covid-19 course.  Because I’m a little worried.

As the months march on I realize, probably like many you, that I have covid fatigue.  I’m pretty sick of wearing a mask, but I do.  I’m fed up with ordering groceries on line to minimize the time spent in the store, but I do.  I want to hug every human I know and some I don’t know, but I don’t hug them.  I do very unsatisfying air hugs.  Not hugging is probably the most difficult part for me.

These days it seems the world is spinning out of control.  I feel like I’m on a warp speed roller coaster, and I’m begging someone to stop it and let me off, but the operator has left for the day so I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be, moving too fast, being jerked around, going nowhere and dropping fast.

Gyms, movies, restaurants, stores, churches and some schools have opened up, some with less occupancy but all with mask and six-foot distancing requirements.  That’s great. . .provided people comply.  The risk in trying go back to what “normal” looked like before is that many of us, myself included are slipping into an “everything is normal” like it used to be mindset.  And that can be dangerous.

We have lowered the numbers of cases in my state because we took precautions.  Now we have to guard against getting lax with our resolve or I’m convinced our numbers will fly right back up again.  I’d rather be extra careful for a long time, than have everything shut down again because we got impatient and stopped being as careful.

I am as guilty as the next guy.  I admit it.  The Y pool is now open and I’m thrilled.  We all wear masks as we wait for the doors to open, but one day I sidled right up to someone, elbow-to-elbow because she was talking to me and I couldn’t hear her through the mask.  Wrong!  She should have told me to back off, but she was polite and let me stand there.  She should have put me in my place.  Please don’t be too polite.  Be safe!

When we gather our pool toys, many people take their masks off first and then get the noodles and buoys.  That clumps all of us around the equipment within a foot of each other, without face coverings.  Too close!  We need to be more mindful.  If we just stood back and waited until people moved away, we could maintain a six-foot distance.  We’re forgetting.

In the pool, we’re fine, but it’s the same when we get out of the pool and put things away.  We jumble together, letting our guard down.  And that’s not smart.  We need to be smarter.

It was also suggested that we use the now open locker rooms, so that we’re not dripping all over the common floor walking out wet.  I went through the locker room to see what it was like and not one person getting dressed was wearing a mask.  Not one!  Nor were they distancing at least six-feet because it’s impossible in such a small space.  Not good.  We need to do better.

I now bring two towels so I can dry and soak up my suit with one, then wrap the other around me in hopes I won’t drip on the hallway floor.   But they might have to put matts on the floor.  I also bought a long, warm robe to use when it gets colder, because I’m not using the locker room after a class of 20 people unless everyone wears a mask.  Even then it’s almost impossible to distance. 

People should put a mask on before they come out of the shower stalls and keep it on while they dry and dress.  But they’re not.  Maybe covid fatigue is getting to them, too.  But Covid-19 is still here and isn’t going away soon.  We have to try harder to be aware. 

Most establishments, including my YMCA are going above and beyond, not only to stay open, but to keep us safe.  They are doing a wonderful job!  It is a pain-in-the-neck for them, I’m sure.  I really appreciate their efforts because I missed water aerobics almost as much as hugs.

Restaurants are at a third or half capacity and struggling.  Our favorite bakery has a two-person limit for their small store, so there is a line out front with those waiting for one to come out so another can go in.  It’s smart.  It’s necessary, at least for a while.

My own sister told me her church has distance requirements, yet they fly out the window during after-church social events.  No masks, no distancing.  Come on!  We’re all in this together. 

But all of these establishments can only do so much.  We have to do our bit, too.  We have to call each other out when we see someone who is not complying.  I hate that.  It’s confrontational, even if done with humor.  It’s awkward.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s necessary.  We all slip.  I caught myself entering a store one day and was mortified I had forgotten my mask in the car.  No one said anything, but they should have. I went back for it anyway.

I wear my mask for you.  Please wear yours for me.  I stay six-feet away for you.  Please do the same for me.  Because while I’m not sick, I don’t know who I might have come in contact with who is.  And I don’t know where they have been and who they might have been in contact with, either.  It goes on and on.  Is it a major pain-in-the-ass?  For sure. 

But we have to remain vigilant.  We could be in this for another year or more.  It is dangerous to give in to covid fatigue and jeopardize our collective well-being.  We’ve had almost 200,000 deaths from this scourge.  Please don’t get lax in your safety precautions, now.  It isn’t easy.  But I will stay the course, wear a mask and keep my distance. . . for you!   And hope you will do the same for me.   Be safe.

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