This is Teresa Smeigh from www.tessacandoit.com writing from a new blog using a pen name.
This started as a stream of consciousness written one day while depressed. I updated it for here.
Pandemic: The New Normal
written by Tessa Dean
March through June 2020
As I gaze unseeingly out the window at the now empty streets and sidewalks, I can hardly remember when everything changed. I listen for my neighbors. They are usually banging in and out of their apartments all day, laughing and shouting at each other. They holler hello as their visitors arrive. Hugging and kissing each other.
The community room is usually busy as people come and go either looking for a book in the small library or gathering in groups to talk and do activities while keeping each other company. One group colors every day. We have painting classes in there twice a month, and once a week there is a bingo game.
That was about four months ago. Now it is quiet, too quiet. I never minded being alone all day, but since the pandemic and our subsequent quarantining, I have felt so alone. Just knowing I can’t just go visiting my family or go shopping for new clothes or go to a park and mingle with other people as we walk, is becoming very depressing. I am missing my six-month-old grandson grow from an infant to a toddler except by pictures on FaceBook.
When the virus statistics rose to an alarming amount, my son came home from where he had moved to another state. He came to see me, but because of social distancing (a new word for the times), we couldn’t hug or kiss or even shake hands. We had to have our conversation over six feet apart. If he hadn’t come when he did, he would be subject to a 14-day quarantine just in case. Some of the state borders closed on his route home, so he just made it.
The president and the other people in charge tell us this is going to end, and we will once again be able to leave our homes when we want to and resume normal activities. Still, the way this virus is spreading so rapidly and people are dying in the most significant numbers I have ever seen, I don’t know what to think. We are a small state, but we have alarmingly high numbers of sick and dying people because our state is so densely populated.
I don’t like the new normal. I have to wear a mask, gloves too in some places, just to go out in public. That includes leaving my apartment and walking through the hallways past the other apartments. You see, I live in a senior high-rise, and we are stacked in here like sardines in a tin. My apartment is touched on both sides by other apartments, plus one under me and one over me, and across the hall a few feet is another apartment. We can’t have visitors at all anymore. The only people allowed in here are the delivery people and the aides some of the senior citizens have. We can still leave the building for essential business. However, the governor has advised us to stay home.
Even if we went out, where would we go? We are only allowed out for the essentials, food and medicine, and gas. Who needs gas? Except for essential personnel, no one is supposed to be going anywhere. We can go out for work, but most people have lost their jobs as only the businesses that provide food, medical care, and medical supplies are allowed to stay open. Businesses are closing, and some of them may never recover. The economy is tanking, and it will take a long time, if ever, to recover to where we were before this pandemic hit.
Unemployment is so high right now the websites are crashing, and they have to do everything by paper, and that will take forever. Children are out of school, and parents are finding themselves suddenly teachers.
We still get the news but broadcast from homes. There are no new tv shows or movies as people must social distance themselves.
Things aren’t any better from when I first wrote this. Although the states are starting to open up, the increase in the virus cases is exploding. People don’t bother to wear masks as they think it is safe now since the government has opened up the state some. Anyone with any sense should see the increasing cases as a warning that all is not well.
Some businesses are allowing all employees to work from home, and even call centers have the technology now to allow them to work at home as well.
I believe we will see a lot of changes once we have gotten past the virus invading our planet. Companies won’t need to have those large offices anymore because people are already working from home. They can save money on overhead. Conference calls make meetings possible.
I miss my family, but at least none of us are sick. And I hope to keep it that way. I have self-quarantined myself and only go out for food and medicine. They have apps for the smartphones that you can keep in touch and see each other, and for now, we must be content with that.