By Sue Murphy
I need to get my oil changed. Pandemic or no pandemic, there’s only so long a body can ignore the “maintenance required” light on the dash.
When I called the dealership to make an appointment, the service coordinator asked that I arrive wearing gloves and a mask. I assured her that I would, but later that day, I canceled the appointment. If they were as worried about me being there as I was about going, perhaps it was too soon.
I spent the first two weeks of our quarantine in a strange mixture of fear and anticipation. It was scary, for sure, but it would be over soon, right? Then Vice President Pence’s 15 days came and went and COVID-19, alas, did not. In fact, from all news accounts, things were getting worse.
Another 30 days, and people started to get antsy. We wanted it all to go away. We wanted our lives back, but being good soldiers, most of us put on our masks and stayed six feet away from each other, feeling like we were at least doing what we could to be a help instead of a hindrance in the recovery process.
Recently, the powers-that-be lifted a good number of restrictions, and I trust that they did this feeling semi-confident that our increased interaction would not bring the world crashing down around us yet again.
These new parameters give us a pretty wide berth, but I find my comfort zone is still narrow. I go for walks in my neighborhood. I talk to my neighbors from across the street. I go to the grocery store if I wear my mask and use the pre-sanitized cart and follow the aisle traffic patterns and wipe down my groceries when I get home and take a shower and wash my clothes immediately afterward. It’s exhausting.
I drive thru. I carry-out. I haven’t shopped curbside, mostly because it would be grossly unfair to the poor sales clerk. (Um…I don’t know…Do you have it in blue?)
I livestreamed my church services, Zoomed with my writing groups, FaceTimed with my grandchildren. It was uncomfortable for me, but it worked. Now I’m told that these measures are no longer necessary. Go and live and do. Sit in a restaurant (staying six feet apart), go to the gym (again, six feet), get a haircut … OK, I’m at a loss as to how that’s going to work.
It’s all wonderful, of course, but I struggle with Camp Gambill flashbacks. As a child, I looked forward to swimming lessons in the lake at good old Camp Gambill. The water was murky, sure, but who needed to see your toes? As long as you didn’t touch the slimy…whatever it was…under the pier, it was all great fun – until the day lessons were canceled because water moccasins had been spotted in the swimming area. The next day, our counselors marched us to the shore and said, “Dive in. It’s OK today.” I looked out across the brown water and thought, are you sure?
And that’s where I am now. I dearly want to go out to lunch with my friends, browse in some non-essential shop, sweat to the oldies in my Zumba class. I want to go to a football game, and one golden day, I really, really want to go back to Disney World.
But first, I need to get my oil changed. I can do this. One step at a time, right? Switch from living in fear to simply being smart and careful. I just have to trust that there’s enough smart to go around.