The New Normal has begun. I, for one am very happy about the reopening of businesses all over Florida and hope that everyone follows the rules of mask wearing where needed and social distancing. No one said this was going to be easy. However, we are all in this together, and with some common sense we should be able to slowly get back to some semblance of what once was.
I’ve been sheltering in place with my wife since the middle of March. We are fine. We still love each other and are mostly smiling at one another. I’m now, more than ever, very sure I married the right person. Actually I was pretty sure of it years ago when she helped nurse me through cancer and a stem cell transplant.
The only sufferers from sheltering in our house are our three cats. They are a mess thanks to over pampering and attention. I think they would love it if we would disappear for a couple of days. Hopefully for them and us that will happen sooner rather than later.
Freedom to roam has been one of the things I’ve missed the most. It used to be so easy to jump in my truck and go to the beach, go fishing, dine at my favorite restaurant, or shop for albums at the record store. Yes, I like vinyl better than downloads. I’m a ‘touchy, feely’ person when it comes to shopping, and while Amazon and other online stores are a blessing, I miss holding something and examining it before purchasing.
I’ve missed the outdoors in general. Walking the streets of my neighborhood for exercise isn’t my thing, so I bought a bicycle and it’s been somewhat liberating. I ride almost every day while sticking to the back streets and learning more and more about the small neighborhoods of my town. I highly recommend it. The parks recently reopened and I’ve been taking the bike there for rides on the trails. It ain’t the beach, but I will say, it’s the next best thing. I love early morning fresh air and the wildlife I’ve seen while riding.
Social media meetings have been an interesting sidebar during the shutdown. I’ve mostly been using Zoom, an application that allows lots of users to video conference online as a group. Sort of like FaceTime on steroids. My friends and I participate in a weekly virtual cocktail party and share news, virtual drink toasts and talk about how much we miss each other. It’s not as good as visiting friends and family in person, but it’s much safer at this point and is better than nothing at all.
Gosh, do I miss fishing. It’s been a very long time since I’ve casted a line in either salt or freshwater. It feels very strange to think about the thousands of days I’ve spent on the water, and now nothing. I’ve promised myself that once this mess is behind us I will never ever make an excuse for not going fishing or to the beach. During quiet times when I’m relaxing on the couch I often think about how nice it would be to sit in a beach chair with a good book, an icy cold libation, just listening to the waves lapping on the shoreline.
Last, but certainly not least. Thank you to all the special folks that kept working during the peak of the pandemic and still continue to take care of us. Doctors, nurses, police, firefighters and the many workers performing other essential services. They all deserve a medal.
Hang in there. Remember, we’re Floridians and we’ve toughed out many bad situations. This too will pass in time.