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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Back to Normal

by Infoave: In my part of the world, we have endured over two months of lockdowns, quarantines, closings, reopenings, shortages, runs on toilet paper, Clorox, Lysol, hand sanitizer, alcohol -not the drinking kind – and so on.

In a nutshell… things have really gotten crazy!

And just about everyone, common people, rich people, kings, queens, governors, politicians – everyone is clamoring to get back to normal.

But not me.

I’m an old guy and I won’t’ live long enough to revisit these times through the lens of history. And though I’ll never see it, I’d certainly love to know how history will view us and judge us as the novel coronavirus fades into vaccination oblivion (hopefully) and the world gets back to “normal”

Back to normal?

Do I really want to get back to normal? Not that I think the world is ever going to get back to normal in my lifetime. And it’s not like I’m planning to drop off any time soon. But I’ll tell you what, if we never got back to normal it would be too soon for me.

I’m one old guy who is really glad we are never going to get back to normal… at least not in my lifetime.

Some “food” for thought…

When I look back at what we once considered “normal”, I wonder how normal ever got to be such a crazy place. Were we so cavalier about the invisible microbial world? Were we really germ deniers?

I think back on life as it was a few months ago and I think about going into a restaurant and sitting down, opening a menu that had probably never been sanitized or even cleaned – a menu touched by a thousand fingers — no doubt many of them unwashed — and I never gave it a thought.

“I’ll have the chicken breast, baked potato, green beans, and the salad bar. And to drink I’ll have unsweetened iced tea. Thanks”, I say, handing the germy menu back to the waitress who may have not washed her hands for her entire shift.

I get up and waddle over to the salad bar where all kinds of goodies await. There’s a stainless steel container of lettuce mix with tongs sticking up out of it. There are containers of cottage cheese, shredded cheese, coleslaw, banana peppers, chopped onions, French dressing (I like to call French dressing – undressing – ooh, la la, you know the French!), bleu cheese dressing, ranch dressing, Italian dressing, and thousand island dressing, pineapple chunks, butterscotch pudding, chocolate pudding, and fruit cocktail.

Every container in the salad bar has a big silvery spoon sticking out of it so us salad-bar patrons can scoop up the contents and glom as much of whatever it is onto our salad plate(s).

Looking back, I wonder how many germ-filled hands grasped those big spoons, how many nose-picking digits alit upon those big silver handles, how many patrons sneezed and coughed their way through the salad-building process -all those little moist droplets spewed forth from anonymous noses and mouths.

Oblivious to those thoughts at the time, I returned to my table, grabbed the salt and pepper shakers, all, I now know, crawling with all manner of bacteria, viruses, and dirt and put a bit on my overflowing salad plate.

I picked up my fork, which I blissfully imagined having been sterilized in boiling hot dishwasher water laced with germ-killing dishwasher soap. But never did I ever think about the un-gloved, dirty, bacteria, and virus-laden hands that wrapped my silverware in its pristine-looking paper-napkin cacoon.

As I write this, I realize I’m about to vomit, I mean it. I have all these disgusting images dancing through my head – no doubt intermixing with the overwhelming amount of conflicting COVID-19 data stuff in my weary, but still-not-senile (knock on wood) brain.

Maybe I’m the rule not the exception. Did you ever think about this kind of stuff BEFORE the novel coronavirus knocked us silly and out of our complacency? Did you think about all the slimy, putrid, dirty hands that had caressed those ubiquitous ketchup bottles that sat upon the tables in almost every restaurant?

I know ketchup is frowned upon in those five-star joints, but nevertheless those five-star places have caviar spoons, individual sweetie-silver teapots, crystal glasses, and other things us normal folks seldom see or get to touch. But you can bet on one thing: those uppity people use things that are just as full of germs and viral particles as the ketchup bottle in the eateries of the common folk. AND… those fancy places always have nine forks – so you have nine times the chance to expose yourself a lot of dirty filthy germs.

I don’t think I could ever go back to a salad bar — or worse – a buffet-style restaurant without losing my lunch at the door. And it’s not just the coronavirus, it’s just all the little nasties too small to be seen that crawl upon the things we touch every day.

Other than taking my walks almost every day, I’ve left my house maybe six times in seven weeks to buy groceries and pick up prescriptions.

And when I buy groceries, I wear a mask – but I don’t know why because no one else in my little town does. And when I get home, I have a bench in my garage. It’s my grocery sanitizing and wipe-down station. All the groceries I tote home get sprayed with 3% hydrogen peroxide and then wiped down with very clean towels.

Then I wash my hands – for twenty seconds – at least.

I’ll bet you that I’m washing my hands at least twenty times a day. I wash them so much that the skin is starting to peel off the back of my wrists. I buy hand sanitizer whenever and wherever I can find it. I keep some in the car, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom – there’s even a bottle sitting right next to my computer.

I’ve gone from a nonchalant, uncaring, cavalier, devil-may-care germ-denier, to super germophobe so as I think by now, I must Howard Hughes’ legendary germophobia.

So when people say they want to get back to normal, it kind of makes me sick. All I can imagine are salt and pepper shakers, ketchup bottles, salad bars, germ-laden silverware, gasping salad bar customers sneezing in the cottage cheese, buffets replete with self-serve ice cream machines, drink machines and nine-thousand big spoons and scoopers all sticking up out of basins of food and all crawling with trillions of germs and viruses from the hundreds of unwashed hands and fingers of hundreds of people I don’t know.

So when will we get back to normal? Never, I hope.
Infoave is published by Cloudeight.

Tags: Back to Normal. Infoave, Cloudeight, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 8:30 AM - Post Link


Blogger Bill Smith said...

Excellent article! shared on my blog. It may be our ages and past experiences but my wife and I agree agree with the unsanitary experiences you describe. Maybe our being isolated in our "older" age may be literally saving our lives. Heck,I hope so, I am still hoping of catching up on the low military pay over 22 yrs. But, some health experts disagree and would say that we become more acclimated to the our general population of health habits. Ever notice, how often we tend to be sicker after returning from that grand vacation or visiting with the "grand kids" living in other parts of our grand country?


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