Wife and I have gotten pretty serious about the social distancing thing. We're ordering groceries online and our daily outings generally consist of the walks we take. We'll take an occasional drive, and we'll occasionally pick up food from a place that's preparing takeout. Hopefully our support, and the support of others, will help keep them in business.
Last Sunday we took a drive on the Natchez Trace, a beautiful highway a few miles from us that runs from Nashville all the way to Natchez, MS, and is protected by the Department of Interior, kind of like a national park. There are no billboards and if you need gas, you have to get off.
Anyway, it's a wonderful little gem near us and there are some parks along it where there are some great hiking trails. We took a picnic lunch with us to one of those and enjoyed it there, then took a short hike. Many folks were doing the same thing, but everyone was being careful to keep a safe distance.
I hope our parks don't close after the action our governor took today.
He issued a stay-at-home order today, after he had issued a "safer-at-home" order earlier this week. The safer-at-home order was a strong suggestion, while the stay-at-home order is a genuine order, the violation of which is punishable, I suppose, by jail time. I don't know that they would really haul someone in; I'm guessing if you were found in violation, you'd get a warning and maybe an officer would follow you home.
I don't know because, once again, this is all unprecedented.
And I'm not sure if that means our park trails are going to close. I hope not. We're walking a lot in our neighborhood, but for a change of scenery we'll go to one of the nearby parks that has walking trails.
Apparently the powers-that-be could tell from cell phone data that people weren't staying in as they were supposed to. I don't know how that works but it kind of gives me the creeps because it's rather big brother-ish, don't you think?
Of course, if you work for an "essential" business, you go to work. Since I work for a bank, I'm essential, but I'm back office, so we're at home. But if I wanted to go in to work, apparently I could carry something with me proving I'm a bank employee and I would be OK.
Other essential businesses include, among others, construction businesses, car repair places, grocery and convenience stores employees and places providing curbside or delivery services. I am pleased this includes my favorite craft brewery, and I have been by there a couple of times to show my support and make a purchase.
It's all very bizarre. I can't imagine what online church is going to be like Easter Sunday.
But then again, I haven't been able to imagine a lot of things that are happening right before my eyes.
Yesterday, I was needed to copy some documents. When I went upstairs to get what I needed from the lock box, I found our tickets to the Journey concert, bought just a couple months ago, with not the slightest inkling of what lay ahead. I said to Tim, "I wonder if things will be back to normal by July?"
We looked at each other.
I cannot imagine life returning to normal. That thought alone was enough to stop me dead in my tracks.
I know from talking with my father, that they have closed the trails in the national park that is right next to his cabin which severely puts a cramp in his style right now. He is planning to go hiking in national forests though since they haven't yet been closed.
Iowa is one of four or five states now that hasn't mandated staying at home which I think it probably not a badge of honor. We've been staying at home for two and a half weeks now and are prepared for another four as directed by the federal government. Other than two trips to the grocery store, one to the hardware store and trips to pick up packets of school work, getting in my car is starting to feel similar to when I come out of the mountains on a two week backpacking trip, luxurious and kind of weird feeling.
Arkansas has not issued the stay-at-home, either. Our governor seems to think those who would obey it are already doing that (if I understood correctly). As my daughter in Louisiana pointed out, the orders don't necessarily keeps folks home and when you consider how much of the population is "essential", well, that's a lot of folks still out there. (and don't get me started on her situation!)
I've worked at our local food bank each week for a couple of hours and felt perfectly safe doing so (and it was SO good for my mental health). I've also made a couple of grocery runs. As for bank or liquor store, that can be done drive-thru. Also...our local Burger King carries "Impossible Whoppers", so I can even treat myself to fast food occasionally!
I'm really thankful I can get out and traipse around our property all I want, even on rainy days like today. :)
Debby.... I'm with you about "normal".
The really quick normalization of that which felt impossible is probably the single biggest feature of all this. Throughout the whole situation I've been struck again and again with how quickly life can change.
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