From the Back Nine: A new normal

A friend has a 4-year-old who doesn’t remember The Time Before Masks. To her, a masked face is a normal face. Seeing naked lips and chinny-chin-chins from her point of view?

Well, it must be peculiar. Or maybe as alarming as it is to us when someone drops trow to moon the known world or streaks naked across a football field.

As COVID pulses, loosening and tightening its grip, I realize I have changed some practices that I’m not likely to drop, even if we could be the way we were.

I now like having my groceries delivered right to my car by Safeway or Walmart. I am far less likely to load up on impulse chocolate if I am not in the store. I’ve found that the melons and apples their shoppers select for me are every bit as good as the ones I’d select for myself (although I wondered the other day where the hell they got that basketball-sized onion).

And I truly prefer someone other than me to lug the dog food from the store to my car’s trunk.

Yep. This is my new norm.

And not having colds. I really like that. Since hand sanitizers have become ubiquitous, I have not had a cold. I will always carry a sanitizer in my purse and wonder why it took a pandemic to convince me it was a dandy idea.

A 6-foot-apart or 6-foot-under maxim may be over the top, but in theory, I’m okay with it. Who wants strangers any closer than that anyway? Hell, that’s true for some of the strange people I know, as well.

Zoom is the bee’s knees of meet-ups for many doctor, family, or business appointments. Not always, but what an alternative to have available to us. Think of the amount of mileage it saves. And wardrobe wear and tear (other than on fuzzy slippers).

Zoom isn’t great if the point of the meeting is to give blood, smell roses, kiss, or see who is sending secret signals to whom … but I’ve used it for classes and programs often enough to see it as a savior many times over. Who would kick it to the roadside when COVID is finally done?

I think I have become more aware of seasons now, maybe because I have more time to ponder them. It happens when I am in poet mode. With dazzling winter snow or vibrant spring color as treats for the eye, I must admit I don’t feel we deserve this gorgeous earth. I hope that wonder stays with me until I’m compost.

There is stuff I want back in my life, stuff like handshakes and hugs. Travel. You have your own list. But here’s a thumb’s up for grocery deliverers, Zoom, hand sanitizers in purse sizes, and gratitude for the beauty around us. With all of that, I’m playing for keeps.

Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors. Her novels are available at Pacific Mist in Sequim, Port Book and News in Port Angeles, and on Contact her at