I just want to go on record as saying that I think some of us needed a wee bit more notice before they said we are free to roam about outside in public.  Three months’ notice would have been nice and possibly a seminar for increasing your will power.  I don’t know about you but a year of sticking around the house has made the door frames in here seem narrower.  I’m sure it’s the door frames.  It couldn’t possibly be me.  Ok, if it is me, I can explain.  You see, like all of the heroes in the medical field, the fine individuals at Publix that deep fry chicken tenders were also called essential workers.  I didn’t want them to feel unappreciated because that would just be ungrateful and wrong.  

                Add on to that the limitations imposed by having one’s knee replaced and you might as well just sell the doughnut tire in the trunk of your car, because how many spare tires do you need?  You would think one would be enough.  But with greater girth comes even greater responsibility.  It is time to clip the price tag off of the slightly larger new pair of shorts and get back to roaming outside in public. 

                In an effort to not have to completely replace our wardrobes, Derek and I reactivated our memberships at the Dr. Phillips YMCA.  This was the best thing we could have done.  I can’t say enough good things about the YMCA.  First of all, I love that I see my neighbors, fellow Rotarians and friends there.  It really feels like the center of our community.  We actually started back a while ago and everyone that works there has just been great.  They have embraced technology that allows members to reserve a space in a group class and to do a completely touchless entry.  For awhile there they had every other cardio machine (treadmills, elliptical machines) blocked off so that there was adequate social distancing between machines.  Derek was actually disappointed when they reopened up access to all of the machines recently.  He had become accustomed to the additional space to sweat out last weeks chicken tenders in privacy.  Mostly because that just never smells good.

                This transition time that we all seem to be in has been tricky.  Derek and I have never experienced a slow ending of a pandemic before, and since there doesn’t seem to be a clear protocol as to how one ends a pandemic, we have decided to rely on common sense.  We keep a mask with us when we go out so that we have it available in case one is required.  We continue to wash our hands and we respect the wishes of each individual business that we enter and of each individual that we interact with.  Everyone is at a different place in what is happening around us so we just try to meet them where they are.  That is what good neighbors do. 

So, as life comes back to normal, let’s use our common sense and get back out there and do the things that we have been waiting to do.  Our clothes may not feel the same and all of this may seem uncomfortable, but the only way to change that is to start moving forward.   The world may not look exactly the same out there but we get to choose how we fit into it.  Elastic waistbands and all, I know we can do this.


Mark Ramey