It’s mid-August and I’m still hibernating, fearful of any human who might be a virus villain ready to spew harmful air particles into my lungs, eyes, mouth or on my fingertips.
So, when I received an invitation to a garden gathering of local writers, I declined sending regrets exposing my cowardliness and deep-seated fear of those who may be stalking unprotected and unsuspecting innocents.
Within minutes a note ricocheted through the ethers to my welcoming email box from the hyper-vigilant hostess assuring me of the detailed precautions she was taking to ensure all guests would be safe while in her outdoor venue.
Here are her rules for engagement if one decides to attend her afternoon confab outlining details for safe interactions:
“For my own protection I require everyone who comes here to wear masks and to use gel before being seated, and I have placed the disinfected outdoor seating 6 feet apart. I ask everyone to re-mask anytime they get out of their chair for any reason.
“Any shared food or drink should be served to everyone by one person only, so utensils are not handled by others.
“There is indoor to the bathroom only, and disinfectant wipes for handles, and soap and gel for hand cleaning are available.”
Well, that certainly gave me needed assurance this was going to be a relaxed, unstructured funfest.
I once again sent a ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply, not just for reasons of preserving my health, but with the added burden of going through all those machinations just to get a glass of water and fill a plate with olives and deviled eggs. Besides, what about checking our temperatures before being allowed access to her front door? She obviously hadn’t thought of everything.
Is this the new normal? I have to wonder and worry.
At 78 years of age the learning curve for these new rules has extended beyond my life expectancy. Maybe there is a ‘how to’ crash course on Zoom enabling me to at least know how much gel and disinfectant wipes to purchase for a dinner for 4 friends. Then the question arises, who will be the one person designated to serve everyone? After serving will they be relegated to a table in a glass enclosure where they can see the rest of us but stay a safe distance just in case a determined germ escapes and penetrates their protective gear.
Yep, new behavior will be demanded in the new world. The days of friends getting together and sharing a pizza sitting in the middle of the dining table will be a fond memory.
Future generations will shake their heads at our refusal to wear masks, gloves and hermetically sealed clothing when venturing out to retrieve the mail.
The training curve is going to be steep for some of us.