While we may not need to wear masks the rest of our lives to avoid Covid-19, we do know they’ll be with us for many months while we await full-on distribution of vaccines. But like people in many Asian countries, Westerners have now learned the value of masking up to protect against the spread of diseases. Whether mandated or not, no doubt many people will choose to wear face coverings to the grocery and other crowded indoor settings forevermore, particularly in winter to help reduce spread of the flu and colds.
Division and distrust
The pandemic laid bare longstanding undercurrents of hate, distrust, and division in the United States, marked a noticeable gulf between people who think masks are a reasonable safety measure and a way to show you care about others, and people who view them as an infringement on civil liberties. Whatever side you’re on, I don’t need to tell you how emblematic the mask debate is of the country’s divisiveness on so many political and social issues, gaps that became gaping in 2020 and don’t show signs of closing anytime soon.
Be honest: Whenever a stranger coughs or sneezes, you will react differently than you did your entire life up to 2020. Will fear of infectious diseases keep you out of movie theaters forever? Will you ever again go to the mall just to people watch? Excuse me, but will you ever be able to stand in a line without glaring at that person who invades your bubble? And yes, you can expect ongoing division on these questions.
Lots of used RVs will be for sale
Okay, this may seem comparatively frivolous, but sales of RVs have surged across America. Once the relatively privileged folks who could afford them realize their newly purchased rigs have all the problems of home — clogged toilets, broken cupboards, beds that need making, and sheets that need washing — not to mention tires that need changing, gas tanks that appear bottomless, and payments that seem endless, I predict a return to home life, at least for many people, and a lot of action on OfferUp. Meantime, with car camping also soaring in popularity, the natural world is being trashed with beer cans, paper plates, wads of toilet paper, and even bags of human excrement (I’m out there, I’ve seen them). This is no small consequence for national parks and other natural areas that were already burdened by overcrowding and trash.
Calling in sick
I’ve been working from home most of the past 20 years, and I can promise those of you who’ve joined the crowd this year that it’s not so easy to beg off work when you can do it in your jammies, surrounded by endless tea, and all the medicines you wish to gather, dogged meantime by the fear of being out of the loop and dispensable. Besides, one of the chief reasons for calling in sick — to avoid infecting others — is moot for us remote workers.
Sure, this is perhaps among the least weighty casualties of the pandemic, but it’s one that strikes at the playful soul: As school officials gradually learn how to deal with in-class instruction when it’s safe and appropriate, they’re also getting a lesson in how to keep the ball in the air when it’s not, switching back and forth from online to in-class formats. This could forever dash the dreams and fantasies of many children who, before long, might not even know why snowy days used to be called snow days.
Meanwhile, school officials are still educating themselves on how to react. Moments after this story was originally written, Dr. Canapari’s kids got some good news:
- The US Senate has fallen short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement to insurrection
- Phones are big. Arguably, too big to be used. It might be why you’re seeing some fruit-based companies releasing ‘Mini’ versions of their flagship devices. While sure, it’s nic