Aging / Coronavirus / Pandemic / Social distancing

Around town with the coronavirus

Parking lot from bird view

This deadly pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Fact is, no matter where I go, COVID-19 is riding shotgun. Just a few examples:

  1. The restaurant: I notice the health department rating for my favorite breakfast spot is “A,” as in a perfect score of 100. I compliment the manager, tell him that means a lot in these days of watch-what-you- touch-where-you-touch-it. He smiles, says “safety first” for his customers.
  2. Same restaurant the next day: A young, friendly supervisor catches the eye of a regular customer eating his breakfast. He strides over to the table and shakes hands with the 60-ish man, sitting down a couple of feet away. In this new world with new rules, he has broken two of them. No handshakes. Stay at least six feet from others. Hope they can hold on to their “A” rating.
  3. The bank: I approach the twenty-something teller with a request for $20 in quarters for the laundry and notice an envelope laying on the table. I ask the teller to drop the quarters into the envelope, rather than a hand-to-hand exchange. After all, he might be a carrier and I’m vulnerable (Age 71, underlying health conditions). Gotta think on your feet out here in VirusLand!
  4. The grocery store: The pharmacy tech says that customers are on edge with the coronavirus. She recounts that she hurriedly gulped her soft drink and started to gag. A customer who noticed asked her if she had the virus. Both laughed nervously.
  5. Back at the grocery store: The day after World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic, my wife and I are among those joining our fellow hoarders, our second trip to the supermarket within two days. The parking lot is jammed.

As we exit our car, a stranger walks up to us with a shopping cart in tow. “Here, please take this,” she says pleasantly. “There are no more inside.” We welcome it and smile. Then, she gives us a double bonus: Wipes the cart clean and even tells us which items are in short supply.

Later, as we’re loading up our groceries, we notice a young couple heading for the store.

“Here, take this,” we say helpfully, rolling our cart to their side. “There are no more inside.”

The couple gladly accepts it and joins the throng inside.

P.S. Since I wrote my account, the restaurants are closed to diners, so no more handshakes at my “A”-rated breakfast nook. Social distancing has gone national and a few community lockdowns are in place. And shortages, yep, plenty of those — including supermarket parking spots and staple items.

The bank remains open and the teller, unfortunately, is still young and still my number one suspect. Most likely, he could shake off the virus as an inconvenience. Ain’t so for my generation.

Next time I stop in for quarters, I’ll wear gloves!

© Ron Cooper 2020

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