I don’t like the ‘new normal,’ but…

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I don’t like the “new normal.” 


I don’t like wearing a mask when visiting any public place; it can never seem to fit my face correctly. I either pull it down too much where it goes below the nose, therefore defeating the purpose — or it’s just high enough to irritate my eye.

I promise I’m not crying because y’all ran out of toilet paper. It’s the mask that’s causing the tears. 


And sometimes it makes my beard itch. 


I don’t like when I’m trying to pick out the perfect carton of eggs in Rouses, I hear the person next to me — who is not wearing mask — get out an “aaa-”, and before that sneeze splatters everywhere, I’m already next to the produce on the other side of the store, hearing the “-choo” echo from the walls. 

I think I left that carton open. 


I don’t like the awkward encounters when I see people at the store I know.

What are we doing? Hug is off the table — cool. I guess a handshake is too. Fist bump? Nah, it’s not 2007. I think I’m just going to point at you and acknowledge that I know you and move on. That’ll work. 


When I get home, I don’t like taking an extra 15 – 20 minutes to use a Clorox wipe to disinfect all my groceries.

And maybe my keys. And also can’t forget my phone. Well, I read somewhere that shoes can pick it up — so let’s give those a good clean too. I should maybe throw these clothes in the washer as well; I ain’t going anywhere else today anyway. 


After I finish disinfecting and put everything up, I’m then finally able to cut into my rotisserie chicken that’s probably cold by now. 


I don’t like the “new normal,” (or maybe my new normal that might seem a bit extreme) but I must go with it. 


“Mask Up”: I was tired of hearing that phrase somewhere around the 12,345,890th time I came across it. But there’s a reason they have to keep saying it. 


White House, state, local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials have all recommended wearing some type of face covering while out in public. Yet, people still choose not to. 


“We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms,” CDC wrote, 


The organization continued: “This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” 


Now I might be a “sheep,” but I feel I must follow the recommendations of people much smarter than me to help stop the spread. I would hope with all of the maybe over-the-top precautions I have taken that I’m not carrying the virus — but you never know. 


So, as we continue with Phase One in Louisiana, I will keep living my life: go to the grocery store, frequent a few restaurants, visit with family and friends (at a limited capacity), etc. But I will continue to protect myself by washing my hands — or using hand sanitizer if that’s not available — and disinfecting objects I might feel have been exposed. I will also try to protect others from me by wearing my irritating face mask and remaining at a distance. 


And I get it: “It’s a free country; I don’t have to wear a mask.” Cool. That’s your choice. I’m also not on my high horse telling you you’re evil because you don’t wear a face covering in public.


And perhaps these various health organizations from around the world recommending wearing a mask might be wrong. But there’s a good chance they are correct. Maybe let’s all just try it — sheep and wolves — for a little while longer and see if it truly “flattens the curve.” Unless you have a condition where you can’t wear a mask, it doesn’t hurt to try. 


And if you still choose not to wear a mask in public, please just don’t sneeze around me.