Change for the better?

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?

6 thoughts on “Change for the better?

  1. These are some really great questions, Doug! I have to wonder if the answers might ultimately come down to budget, but maybe supporting extra handwashing and sanitizing will also stay around. I definitely don’t hate everything about our current restrictions, but I would love for the day when a little closeness is not a bad thing. That’s something I hope does not have to stick around.


    P.S. I might still be caught up on the fact that you don’t like chocolate… 🙂


  2. Thank you for the comment, Aviva. It was nice to read after coming home from the dog walk.

    Yes, I’m not a fan of chocolate. When I catch up with some American friends, I always bring treats that they can’t get – Aero bars and Coffee Crisp. I get strange looks from my family when I bring it home because they know I’m not a fan. I haven’t been brave enough to bring Kinder Eggs though …

    It’s interesting that you mention budget. I’ve been thinking about that recently. When COVID ends, politically it’s going to be difficult for the powers to be to come forward and say “we’re taking away the safety procedures that were put in place for your child”. The visible things may go away like all the coneage (is that even a word), the play zones, the lineups, etc. But it’s going to be a challenge to say we’re going back to large classes and less cleaning. Not a good time to be a trustee.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hand sanitizer is going to be permanent for me. It was in common use by my wife long before COVID. I think it will be quite a while before I stop wearing a mask in stores. Not sure about conferences. CSTA and SIGCSE are both virtual in 2021 so it will be a while before I face that question I think. I don’t think schools and other places that have improved ventilation will back track. I hope not.

    I missed more days from school from injuries than sickness. And not many for either of those things. My wife though was always catching something from students. I’m spending more time being glad we are retired than that there are more safety precautions if I’m honest.


  4. Thank you for the comment, Alfred. I think that you’re correct; more conferences than ever will be taking on a new format. I applaud them for working with things and not simply just cancelling them. I am disappointed that SIGCSE won’t be held face to face as scheduled. I was planning to go and be the Canadian host for some of my CS friends. I’m glad to hear that you and family are enjoying your retirement. It turned out to be the best decision for you.


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