I had to go to my optometrist yesterday. It’s out of town and I typically go alone and, after the appointment, I have a tradition of treating myself. You see, there’s a Tim Horton’s restaurant just across the street.
As I sit in the drive through, I know that I’m going to get a medium black coffee and then the suggestive selling on those signs come into focus. I decide to cave and will buy myself a donut to go with the coffee. But, which one?
In a pre-COVID world, I would have parked and walked in as I’m convinced that the long lineups are hard on gas. I also kind of hope for a short line to order; that gives me the chance to scan the display case looking for something new or at least something tasty looking and I’ll also hope to find something that looks freshly baked as well. If you’re in line behind me and there is no lineup in front of me, I can be your worst nightmare as I scan everything. Well, not quite everything since I don’t like chocolate.
Back to me in my car, I’m trying to remember all the types that are available and I’m drawing a blank. I know I don’t want “Old fashioned plain” so when it’s time to order, I go for at least some thing that I remember “Sour cream glazed”. The dog and I will have to walk a bit further later on. As I got my order, it came through the delivery window in a plastic serving device so there’s no chance that I would come in physical contact with the server. I tap to pay and I’m on my way.
On the way home, I start to muse about the safety that was put into place there. I’m sure that a lot of planning went into the whole process but I can’t believe that it was terribly expensive and has paid for itself many times over. Earlier in the day, I sanitized my hands as I went into the doctor’s office, answered a couple of questions, and got my temperature taken. Out of the ordinary, to be sure, but it wasn’t like I had to jump through too many hoops.
These days, I have hand sanitizer in the car and use it after every time I’m out of the car in public. It’s an extra step and stings if I have open cuts on my hand but it’s just become a regular routine.
I also started to think about the “deep cleaning” that’s now happening in schools. I was always the poster child for the teacher that got a cold in the fall. I’d like to attribute it to football practices and games in the cold and rain but I’d also catch the bug in the years before I started coaching. Like so many teachers, I just attributed it to being part of the job. As we head into the fall of this unique year, I start to wonder if maybe one of the benefits of all the new procedures in school will be fewer colds among teachers.
Things are definitely different this year. I can’t think of anywhere that I might go (not that I’m a big traveller these days but I still have to shop, get gasoline, etc.) that hasn’t been affected. New protocols are in place everywhere to help us stay safe and healthy.
So, my question is this: if we’re doing this to protect ourselves against the spread of COVID-19 and it works in keeping that and other illnesses from spreading, will we be in a rush to return to what used to be normal? Or, are there permanent lessons and changes that we need to keep and help us and society as we go forward?