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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

A Fresh Start

Three years have passed since COVID stole so much of our freedom and took so many lives. I still wear a mask when I am out in the world. I know it isn’t 100% effective at preventing me from getting sick, but it seems important to go through the motions. We now face three worrisome illnesses – COVID – 19, flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and a disease we thought was eradicated – measles!

I am in the process of adjusting to the “new normal”. It isn’t comfortable for me yet, but I think I will soon adjust to this more cautious approach to life. I now think seriously about whether I must leave my home. In the past three years, I have entered a grocery store only once (and found prices have shockingly increased).

No, I haven’t been living on air – many services are now designed to accommodate limited contact with others – I can order groceries, paper goods, and other necessities with the touch of a screen, and I can attend meetings of groups by sitting by my computer and punching a few keys. In many cases, I can attend a virtual medical appointment. Restaurants offer take-out and delivery. My church streams its service to me sitting comfortably in my robe and slippers. It does save a lot of time and energy.

Yet some things still require my presence. A trip to the dentist requires a mask for me and near-space suit attire for the staff. I have a new dentist, but due to protective gear, I couldn’t pick her out in a lineup.

Because I have been worried about climate change for more than 50 years, I drive a Prius and long to own a Tesla. When we lived on Big Sugar Creek, I had to buy gas about once a week. In 2020 I bought only 3 tanks of gas. This year circumstances required that I drive more, and I also took 4 plane trips (a big jump in my carbon footprint). Like my trip to the grocery store, I found sticker shock at the price increases and a serious decline in quality service in the travel industry. I am still stunned that no one would help me with my bags at a hotel, even though I was old, infirm, and heavily laden.

Yet, I remain optimistic. I am hopeful that the world will step back from the abyss and minimize climate change and I will continue to do my part by continuing to reduce my carbon footprint.

Shall we all make a New Year’s resolution to do what we can to save our planet? I think the time has come to recognize our new reality is our “new normal”.

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