The New Normal

We’ve all adjusted, some more than others.

New York State is fighting to keep the COVID-19 pandemic from resurging here; other states are now experiencing what we did back in March and April.  My sympathies are with those states, but I would like to say:  Keep your sick citizens in your own state.  Please!

Slowly, I’ve begun to venture out into the world again.  Sure, I’ve been back to work for more than a month, but that was no huge adjustment as there are only 4 people in my firm and we all have offices with doors we can shut.  There’s very, very little contact between us, and we all wear masks in the common hallways and kitchen area.

As my regular readers know, hubby and I have begun taking day trips on nice days, just to get some fresher air.  Going to parks, driving country roads, and strolling along woodsy trails is becoming our preferred outing.  Last weekend, however, we realized that we don’t have any serviceable folding lawn chairs to take along so we can sit awhile.  At least I don’t.  Hubby is thin; we have a very nice chair for him.  But I’m of the larger persuasion (especially after 3 months lockdown), and while I can still fit into our remaining sturdy folding chair, it’s not as comfortable as it was a few years ago.

There is no outdoor/camping equipment left in any of our local stores.  Apparently, everyone else is doing the same things we are.  Understandable, but annoying, when I can’t get what I want  right now.

Searching online, I found what appeared to be my ideal chair.  It was available (more or less) through Amazon and Walmart.  I prefer to buy large (no pun intended) items from a store which has a local brick-and-mortar presence, for ease of returns.  So, Walmart it was!

The website said our local Walmart had 5 of my chairs in stock right now, so I opted for ship-to-store, figuring I could pick up the item the next day.

The next day, I got an email saying the order was cancelled because the item was no longer in stock, nor available.  Say what?  I didn’t believe that email, and the following day was my regular day off, so I decided to drive to the store and see for myself.

Having not gone out much over the last few months, I was not prepared for the precautions being taken at the store entrances.  I parked in my usual far-away spot, only to learn that I had to walk all the way to the entrance at the other end of the store, then walk to the camping area at the end where I had parked, then walk all the way back to the registers, and then walk the length of the store to my car.

I had to do this twice, because I had to go to two different Walmarts (didn’t learn my lesson at the first store, silly me).

Anyway, I eventually located the outdoor/camping gear, and sure enough, pretty much everything was gone.  That aisle at both stores were  as empty as the toilet paper aisles were back in March.  Heading disappointedly back toward the front of the second store, I spied – on the very top shelf and all by itself – one lone folding camp chair.  I checked the label for dimensions and  weight limit – good to go!  I grabbed it and trotted (more or less) to the registers.

In my exuberance, I proudly placed my intended purchase on the conveyor belt, whereupon the customer in front of me turned around, glared, and quietly admonished, “Social distancing!”  I apologized.  She went on her way.  The store clerk rolled her eyes.  I found it necessary to point out that I was wearing not only a mask, but also gloves.

Shopping is not much fun any more.

On the way out of the store, a young couple was standing and chatting in the only permitted exit.  No one could get around them.  Eventually, a store employee came over and asked them to please move aside.  They both turned to me and apologized, and of course, I told them no problem.  I figured it was some form of balancing by the powers that be.

(BTW, of the people involved in these scenarios, some were white, some were black, and some were hispanic.  Not one person found it necessary to bring race into play; we were simply all either doing our shopping or doing our job, as the case may be.  I’ve found, at least in our area, that most people just go about their business and let everyone else go about their business, and everyone just treats everyone else as someone they’ve briefly met and probably will never see again.  Really, isn’t that the way it should be?)

Once home, I excitedly opened the canvas bag holding my folded up chair, only to discover that it was broken!  Now I have to take it back.  I think I’ll ask hubby to do that; he’s much better at walking around than I am these days.

Back to Amazon.  The preferred chair was no longer available there, either.  But I did find a giant folding chair (King Kong!) with an extra wide seat – and a weight limit of 800 lbs!  Even I am nowhere near that limit, thank heavens.  It will arrive on Tuesday.  I can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, if we go out this weekend, I’ll have to use the smaller chair we already have.  Hopefully, I won’t embarrass myself by getting stuck in it, or having it collapse under me.  That would definitely not be a good thing.

Happy Weekend to all of you.  Stay safe and health out there.


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Image by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

This entry was posted in Covid-19, Health, Photography, Road Trips & Cars, That's Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The New Normal

  1. Shopping online OR in person isn’t much fun. If you go in person, there no guarantee there will be anything there, no matter what the “inventory count” which was taken a week ago says. If you order it, it won’t come the next day or the day after unless is something you don’t really care about a lot. We’ve waiting months for things and may wait months more. I try not to wait until I’m desperate to order things, but that doesn’t always work out.

    Life is definitely different.


    • It doesn’t help that so much of our stuff comes from China. I ordered disposable masks in April; they didn’t arrive until the end of June. By then, I had already found some at our local pharmacy.


  2. Marc Beebe says:

    Shopping is a challenge even here in the middle of nowhere. It’s tourist season and all those people who aren’t supposed to be here came anyway. Oh joy. I was in a store the other day and ‘backtracked’ because I’d walked past what I was after. A snooty young man pointed to the arrows on the floor and remarked I was going the wrong way. I pointed to my N95 mask and noted he wasn’t wearing any mask at all. Silliness and stupidity; the masks are more effective than the distancing which can not in any practicality be maintained in a store.
    I’ve tired of trying to explain things to people and just try to avoid bopping them on the head when they get stupid. :p


    • The problem with distancing is that the droplets hang in the air after a person moves on; then the next person walks through those droplets and gets infected if not wearing a mask. I have to keep reminding myself of this at work, where the 4 of us are constantly walking through the hallway. going to the copier or restroom.


  3. willowdot21 says:

    Shopping is no fun these days. I never liked it at the best of times. Mind you since I have been unwell, in hospital and now sporting my cholecystectomy drain and bag I have not been shopping for months. Hubby does it all. Oh! If only this virus had never happened.. but it did 💜


  4. markbialczak says:

    What an adventure, CM. Of course the chair was broken. If it was noticed before this, phooey to the clerk who shoved it on the top shelf instead of doing the necessary computer work to retire it from the system. Otherwise, Murphy’s law did not put a mask on and distance itself from the virus, unfortunately.
    Over to the East here in our state, I find that most people are pretty much acting in concert against the circumstances as well, as you note about your home area.


  5. Jane says:

    the new normal sucks. The Walmart I go to (IF I have to), is often picked over as well. I prefer to go to Bjs which is much more open and spacious. We found on one trip, they too were picked over and had change many of the products I use or were completely out of them, especially if they had a coupon. Shopping is now a expedition with the great unknown.


  6. Oh, no! Sorry to hear about the broken chair, CM. Just chairish what you have. LOL! (*^▽^)/


  7. Trent Lewin says:

    That sucks about the chair, buying something new that’s broken is the worst, especially these days. I went to the hardware store the other day and they were out of lumber for the most part. Everyone’s building stuff at home. I guess that’s not a bad response to this pandemic.


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