When The Unusual Becomes Normal

I’m sure we’ve all been there… Or at least, I have! You’re standing in line somewhere, perhaps a retail location, grocery store or the bank. The person behind you is basically at your heels, forcing you forward until you’re almost on top of the person ahead of you. Then it happens; the person behind you coughs or sneezes. Maybe they cover up properly. Maybe they don’t. Even IF they do, you may still be faced with the prospect of a fine mist of someone else’s bodily fluids impacting with the back of your bare neck and onto your clothing. Whatever typhoid they may be carrying makes its way into your pores and then you spread it all over the bloody place by dragging it along on your clothing…

Lovely, eh? As disgusting as that prospect may sound, we haven’t even discussed what the terminals, debit pinpads and counter at the location may be carrying as a result of people like that. And having someone essentially riding the spot on your shoulder where your conscience should be also puts you at risk for having less-than-trustworthy folks watching for your debit pin as you pay for your purchase. It may sound pessimistic (and maybe it is) but this happens far more often than we care to think about. And speaking of thinking, that’s exactly what this concept has had me doing recently…

As the world slowly begins licking its wounds amid the lovely beast that is COVID-19, some of society’s strict quarantine measures are beginning to slacken. But as I’ve recently seen from my excursions into the urban wilds to obtain groceries, plenty of people are still wearing masks and gloves and washing their hands despite these requirements no longer being in place. And despite some industries re-opening their doors and some measures being lessened at essential ones, place markers are still present on the floors and directional arrows can still be seen for circulation in the aisles.

Will these things ever go away? A better question is, should they? All things considered, I’ve always felt that maintaining an appropriate distance in public lines has always been important. Not only for hygiene but for personal safety. I’ve often found myself asking the person behind me to take a step back when using my debit and/or credit card. I’ve gotten mixed responses to this, ranging from “sure, no problem” to “go fuck yourself.”

I don’t think I need to clarify that I’m a firm advocate of frequent hand washing, especially if you’ve read any of my posts related to hand washing. But I don’t think that frequent hand washing should have only become a “thing” because of the current pandemic. It’s something that everyone should have been doing all along, for their own personal health and to prevent the propagation of germs.

Masks and gloves are a different story. The first problem is that people need to understand that wearing gloves doesn’t protect you much beyond the immediate moment. Even medical professionals and first responders switch up their gloves often and between patients, so when you see someone using a pair of rubber gloves ALL FREAKIN’ DAY, it becomes easy to forget that whatever you pick up on those gloves stays there. And unless you switch them up, you’ll just spread that stuff the same as you would with your bare hands.

I get a kick out of the photo I’ve seen online, where there’s a man standing in line to pay for groceries. He’s got a face mask hanging off his chin and he’s eating what appears to be a small bag of chips. The joke is he’s eating the chips while wearing latex gloves intended to prevent the spreading of germs and protect himself. But I digress…

Masks are particular, since they’ve been explaining that it’s mostly to protect OTHERS since the beginning of this whole thing. And in fact, many countries have a large percentage of the population that have been using face masks all along. A neat YouTube video I recently watched, entitled Why Do Japanese People Wear Masks? is a good example, as the interviewees reveal reasons ranging from everything including having a cold and not wanting to spread it, to simply not liking the way they look. And that video was released in 2017, well before the advent of COVID-19.

I’m no boy in the plastic bubble, but some health and safety practices should have been implemented as a general part of daily life a long time ago. Maintaining one’s distance from the people ahead of us is a practice that people should have been doing in the first place. So, as strange and unusual as all of this may have seemed in the beginning, will social distancing become the new normal? Are we all going to develop a reflex for staying far away from the people in line with us and learn to distance? It will be interesting to see how society learns to adapt and adjust once it returns to “normal”… ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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