Tag Archives: new normal

Face mask order forces me to acquire new habits

It has taken an order from the Texas governor to get me to step it up with this “new normal” way of doing things.

I don’t begrudge Greg Abbott for issuing the order, even though I do endorse the notion that he was a bit late in declaring it. That said, I won’t dwell on its timeliness.

Abbott has told us to wear masks when we venture to public places if we live in counties with 20 or more coronavirus infections. Well, in Collin County we, um, are well past that “magic number.”

My wife has been much better about complying with voluntary new normal procedures than I have been. I guess it took the order from Gov. Abbott to get me to pay attention. He issued it and I am heeding it to the letter.

To be sure, I wish we didn’t have to wear these masks. It’s awfully hot out there and the masks make me sweat. However, the cost of not wearing one — in addition to maintaining that “social distance” thing — is too serious to ignore.

Even though I don’t like wearing the masks, I dislike getting sick even more. I seriously dislike the notion of possibly dying from the illness known as COVID-19. More to the point than even that, I shudder at the thought of my family members being sickened by the virus. They know who they are and I am imploring all of them to follow the rules … to the letter.

If it takes a government order to keep my loved ones and me healthy, then I’m all in. You will not hear me gripe about surrendering my “civil liberties” or being told how to behave.

The alternative to all of that could be pretty damn grim … and I am unwilling to pay that price.

‘New normal’ has arrived

I hereby make this declaration, which is that I believe we have entered the era of the “new normal.”

What’s more, in due time — which might arrive much sooner than we expect — the “new normal” will just become, um, “normal.”

As I ran my errands this morning to the Post Office, to the garden supply shop, to the grocery store, I witnessed hundreds of people wearing masks. I covered my own mug with a mask.

We keep two masks in our truck, one for me and one for her.

It is now becoming routine for us to reach for the masks in our truck, strap them to our noggin and go about doing whatever essential business we intend to do.

This is what has become the “new normal” in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. We are living through a plague, folks. It ain’t pretty. It ain’t the least bit fun … but am getting resigned to an unmistakable fact, which is that this is the way it’s going to be for, well, maybe for the duration.

The new normal also includes a new way of watching arena sports. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, track and field, motor racing all likely will occur in a different sort of forum. I am trying to imagine when we’ll be able to sit in a stadium packed with fans cheering on our favorite team. The same concern arises with plays, movies and all manner of outdoor festivals.

Indeed, my hometown of Portland, Ore., had to postpone its annual Rose Festival from June to September. The roses are blooming in June and the City of Roses honors that glorious season with festivities over several days that include the Grand Floral Parade that draws close to a million spectators into downtown Portland.

How in the world do they keep that up with the threat of a deadly viral infection lurking — potentially! — in the individual standing right next to you along a packed parade route?

So, here we are. Welcome to the new normal. Let’s get used to it.

‘New normal’ will require serious change of at least one habit

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it, so it must be true. He’s our preeminent infectious disease expert and his voice has become a source of reassurance in the midst of some of the confusion being sown by Donald J. Trump.

Regarding the coronavirus pandemic that still is sweeping across the globe, we’re starting to prepare for what’s being called “the new normal” once we get past the health crisis.

One aspect of the new normal, as stated by Dr. Fauci, is that we no longer should shake hands with those we meet. Eek. That means, oh, fist bumps, elbow bumps, locking pinkies?

I am an inveterate hand-shaker. I like shaking hands with strangers. It’s a way to establish a sort of cursory relationship. Dr. Fauci has said that ought to become a relic, something we no longer should do … if we are serious about keeping the coronavirus outbreak from recurring.

I guess we’ll also be keeping some distance from each other. The six-foot rule will stand in perpetuity, yes? I can deal with that more easily than getting rid of my hand-shaking habit.

The “new normal” is beginning to take some form out there. Get ready for it.

Age keeps getting in the way

Don’t you hate it when you show your age to a young person who doesn’t quite get the reference?

It happened to me today while I was working one of my four part-time jobs.

I was sitting in the break room at the car dealership where I work, visiting with a courtesy driver who’s about eight years older than I am.

I’m 65; he’s 73.

In walked a young salesman. We started talking about how his sales business was going.

The young man made note of how popular SUVs have become “since the price of gasoline has gotten to be so cheap.”

My courtesy driver friend and I exchanged looks — and then laughed out loud.

I told my young salesman friend that he was “talking to two fellas who remember when gasoline sold for about a quarter a gallon.” My courtesy driver friend mouthed the words “19 cents.”

My young friend, who’s 26 years of age, took note of when gasoline “first hit a buck 50.”

So, there we have a clear definition of what I’ve termed the “new normal” at the gasoline pump.

When gasoline sells for $2.50 per gallon for regular unleaded and that’s considered “cheap,” well, that signals a new way — in my view at least — of assessing the relative price of a common commodity.

I reminded my good friend — the young man — that when gasoline hit $1.50 per gallon, some of us became apoplectic.

I don’t think he quite got it. My other friend — the older one — surely did.