We are all making changes to the way we do things and lifestyles are on hold for everyone but hermits. As societies, we are adapting to changes being forced on us on a daily basis. The messages from country to country may differ in specifics but generally, the world has been told to protect itself by physical distancing from one another. Once again, advantage hermits.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, my regular routine has changed very little. I am still on the job because I am part of the product supply chain, therefore considered an essential service. People need to eat and shelves need to be full. But the world around me has changed and I am doing my best to adapt and ultimately survive. I don’t want to complain but I must admit, some of these changes are really annoying. They throw my whole life out of sync! I’m old!! I don’t do out-of-sync very well!!
I can’t get my hair cut. My appointment from 2 weeks ago was canceled and no appointments are being made until after this is over. I fully understand, but I haven’t had my haircut since January. By the time I can get one it will be June!! I’m going to look like a 60-year-old metal-head! I have wavy grey hair, that is stiff and unruly, and I wake to bed-head every morning! The longer it gets on top, the higher it stands on end! I’m a cone-head some mornings!!!
One of the Millennial bosses at work told me to get Honey to cut it. “It’s what wives are for”, she told me. That’s right! “She”!!! I was stunned when the 27-year-old said this to me out loud. Where in the world would she even get the idea that handing a pair of scissors to your significant-other and telling them that it is “what they’re for”, was a good idea??? Then turning your back on them!!! I’ll stick to using Honey’s hair-controlling products, thank you very much.
The coffee shop changed its hours of operation. I can no longer get coffee at 4am, as has been my routine for a decade. Get up at 3-ish, shower, shave, dress, into truck, 20-minute drive to coffee shop, first cup of coffee as I organize my day. That’s been the way of it forever! Now I’m making coffee at home and then sitting around! It feels un-natural!! It’s what I do on my days off!!!
Now, I drink 3 cups of coffee before I even start my truck. There is a definite side-effect to this change. Drinking coffee before 4am makes me need to pee at different times. Public washrooms aren’t exactly available to the masses anymore! I’ve found myself doing the ‘pee-pee dance’ on a few occasions in the last week, waiting to access one of the few that are.
My hands hurt. Until now my life didn’t call for hand-washing every time I touched something. How do healthcare workers do it? This has always been in their job description! Wash hands… examine patient… wash hands… open door… wash hands… examine another patient… wash hands… How do they wash their hands so much and still be able to pick up a spoon??? I’m washing my hands 30 times a day! The constant soap and water have made my skin so wrinkly, that the security scanner on my phone won’t recognize my fingerprint! All the hand-sanitizer I’ve used has sucked all the moisture out of my hands! The backs of my hands are washed raw and my knuckles are cracking. They look a thousand-years old!! They’re mummified!!! In an effort to help, I decided to use some of my wife’s Aveeno deep moisturising lotion, the one marked ‘for dry cracked skin relief’, that “Intensely moisturizes on contact”. This was a really bad idea! I thought I’d set them on fire!! The burn was intense!! I almost cried!!!
I have to self-evaluate. Every morning when I get up, I must do a self-evaluation of my health. How do I feel? Do I have any flu-like symptoms? Am I different than yesterday? I know most of us are doing the same thing, but I’m doing it at three in the morning. I always feel horrible at three!! I have to decide if I feel any more horrible than I did yesterday. I’m almost sixty, I ache like I’m dying every morning! I’ve smoked for 40 years; I always hack in the morning! It’s getting close to spring and my allergies are starting to perk-up. I analyze the amount of stuffiness I feel and check the tissue to be sure my snot is not fluorescent green. It’s three in the morning!!
This self-evaluation process takes me 20-minutes of fact gathering before I can make an accurate determination. It is important that I get it right and I don’t venture out if I am at all symptomatic. Being able to go to work has never been a problem for me, I have missed only one day to illness in the past 33-years. My problem is remembering that it is not about me being healthy enough to do the job, but me being healthy enough to not harm others. It’s all very stressful.
In regards to the big-picture, these are just minor inconveniences and I’m not complaining. They have become my new reality and like previous changes I have faced, I will adapt to them. We are all facing a new reality right now, normal life is on pause and when this crisis ends, reality will not look the way it once did. No one will be unaffected by this pandemic. The new ‘normal’ will be different. We will all need to adapt to changes eventually. Except maybe the hermits.