Sunday, July 26, 2020

No Clumping, Please!

So we seniors in my 50-plus apartment building are now adapting to new rules to prevent the spreading of the corona virus. We're sensible people who recognize the life and death nature of these rules. However, most of us were brought up to consider socializing a desirable behavior, and we became accustomed to large gatherings at an early age: think high school athletic events. Remember those crowds at the football games in autumn when the band marched and soft drinks were dispensed at a makeshift refreshment stand? 

Hey, I played the snare drum in our band. Big crowds were fun! Now to prevent the spread of that nasty virus, we're advised to stay six feet apart and avoid large gatherings. That all takes some getting used to even though we appreciate the necessity for it as our lives could be at stake.

Coincidentally, I just read this paragraph from Fannie Flagg's novel, A Redbird Christmas:

"The evening ended with the lighting of the tree. As soon as everyone was outside, they all mashed together in a large clump, and Oswald found himself in the middle. He could not help but think about the photo in the old hotel brochure of those thirty people standing under a rosebush. People in Alabama must love to stand around in clumps..."

Well, people in Minnesota also love to stand around in clumps - left to our own devices, we clump in our hallways, the laundry room, the lobby, outdoors in front of our building and wherever we find ourselves.

Sadly, a pandemic makes clumping with our friends and neighbors a risky activity. So we've learned to keep our distance from each other in the lobby where seating is no longer available and outdoors where chairs are kept several feet apart.

Actually, a pandemic makes breathing a risky activity, so now we wear masks to protect ourselves and others with whom we come in contact. Have you noticed that customers and staff at your local grocery store are now wearing masks?

It's summertime, yes, but life has changed considerably - I even find it hard to recognize my neighbors wearing those face masks that cover the lower half of their faces. And a frequent comment these days has to do with "when life gets back to normal." 

Some of us wonder if it ever will.

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