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We’re all coping with brave new world

Weekend voices: Ruminations

COVID19. Coronavirus. Pandemic. Novel coronavirus. Social distancing. Aren’t you tired of hearing about the latest effort from Mother Nature to eliminate us from the planet? Me too. Let’s talk about something else.

I miss my morning coffee with friends at Meeder’s Restaurant. I miss flitting around, coffee pot in hand, and talking to everyone — well, most everyone. There IS this strange guy who sits in the corner watching everyone. I think he may be CIA or ICE, looking for any murderous aliens that might be hiding out in restaurants. Oh — this is about closing restaurants because of the VIRUS. Oops, excuse me.

My library, my home away from home, is closed. No more hanging out in the dust laden demolition area, admiring the original 1892 beams, the bones of the building. Up until last Wednesday books could still be ordered from the system to be picked up, but that has stopped now too, along with the knitting group, the writing group, and the people who drop by for a cup of coffee and some company.

I’d visit my friends in nursing homes, but I can’t get past the armed guards at the door, charged with keeping all visitors, aka germs, out. I suppose I could stand outside the windows and shout messages, but it’s still pretty cold out, so I guess I’ll just sit down and write cute little cards and messages to them and mail them. The Post Office is still working, isn’t it?

What is “novel coronavirus” anyway? Evidently coronavirus isn’t new. Pneumonia is part of the coronavirus family. This particular strain that has us all on edge is a new, or novel permutation of the virus. SARS and MERS, earlier versions, are both in the same family. For those of you fact checking, forgive me if I’m wrong, but that’s the information I read. It really doesn’t matter. All these viruses can be deadly in some people if left untreated. This particular new, or novel, coronavirus is proving to be more deadly, particularly to the elderly (those of us over 60 – to which I protest being deemed elderly).

If we adhere to “social distancing” and wash our hands often, and make an effort to not expose anyone else should we be a carrier not yet showing symptoms, perhaps nothing will happen. The virus won’t take hold in the United States like it has in other parts of the world. That’s a good thing. We will have helped halt a potentially deadly disease. For those who don’t believe it is real but rather a government plot, you will feel vindicated. No matter.

If on the other hand, we continue life as normal, perhaps we will unwittingly infect grandma or grandpa whose immune systems are weakened with age. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be that person. I think we may be on the verge of another social change. Home schooling will become the norm; shopping online, already taking over the retail world, will be forced upon those of us who don’t trust our credit card numbers floating around in space; and social gatherings will take place virtually, everyone gathering by their tablets and computers to chat in cyberspace with their friends, sipping their favorite wines and munching on their delicious, exotic hors d’oeuvres.

I said I wasn’t going to talk about coronavirus but somehow it sneaked into the conversation, as it often does these days. I apologize for preaching to the choir, if the choir you be. Be considerate, be kind, be safe, and be healthy.

By the way, does anyone have any spare toilet paper?

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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