How quickly the world as we know it has changed. In the course of a few days, Hanes has gone from making undies that cover one set of cheeks to making face masks that cover another. Liquor distilleries are bottling alcohol into hand sanitizer. When cops talk about busting folks for selling bags of white stuff, they mean Cottonelle, not cocaine. And my pantry now has more rice and beans than a Taco Bell franchise. Isolate yourself at my house, and you're going to need a mask for a whole other reason.
Thoughts that consumed my mind a month ago aren't even on my radar anymore. My forthcoming exotic honeymoon to the other side of the world? Canceled. Instead of celebrating our nuptials on a coral reef in the Maldives, Trapper John and I going to a cabin in Jasper, Ark. This took some selling on my part, as Trapper is ... shall we say, a bit more citified than I. He's never kayaked the Buffalo River. He's never hiked the Ponca wilderness. And get this: He owns not a single pair of cowboy boots. (I, too, own not a single pair of cowboy boots. I own five.) Instead of the world traveler opening my eyes to the wonders of the Indian Ocean, I get to show him just how pink my neck really is.
When I ventured to the market the other day to buy necessities like bananas and peanut M&Ms, someone on a neighboring aisle sneezed, and I found myself running for cover instead of saying "God bless you," offering a tissue and asking about their family. Social distancing may be an introvert's dream, but it's jarring for the uber-extrovert.
Mexico now wants to close its border to keep out sick Americans. Forrest Gump's 63-year-old bride is rapping in her living room, and I'm actually watching it. (She ain't Merle, but she's impressive nonetheless.)
Most students are being homeschooled, and millions of adults are working from home, if they're fortunate enough to be employed at all. There's likely no prom, graduation, Olympics or the Masters. NASCAR drivers are racing on virtual speedways. No more Sunday matinees or trips to the beauty parlor. We're watching church service in our pajamas.
And if we're blessed to be only inconvenienced, then blessed we are indeed. So many are ill. So many lives lost. The virus is no respecter of persons.
Our world changed, and maybe we will, too. Maybe we'll find ways to fill joy in the voids of our calendars. Notice spring flowers more than usual. Stroll a little longer with Fido. Dust off the Bible. Eat dinner as a family.
Humans are a resourceful bunch, and I suspect we'll find ways to adapt and overcome. I also suspect a lot of babies will be born this December from cooped-up folks who never quite got the concept of social distancing.
And if the shortage of Charmin continues, I suspect those who elected to only take the digital edition of the newspaper might regret that decision.
NAN Our Town on 03/26/2020