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Judy Kucharuk: Pandemic habits not so easy to break

It feels weird to flip a switch and assume we are all mentally prepared and capable of returning to a sense of normalcy
Mask-GettyImages-1320902579
Judy Kucharuk: "It feels weird to flip a switch and assume that we are all mentally prepared and capable of returning to a sense of normalcy. We cannot turn back time. We cannot forget the loved ones we lost."

judyMy grocery basket full, I proceeded to walk down to the frozen food section, turn, and walk toward the grocery checkout. 

I then waited for someone to motion me forward toward their checkout. It was at this point that I noticed that there were no stanchions, no arrows, and no one behind or ahead of me in the ‘line’. 

A smiling cashier motioned me forward: “Don’t worry – lots of folks have done the same as you. Habits are hard to break.”

Isn’t it the darndest thing? We used to think, “I will never get used to this,” and then we did, and now it is difficult to press delete on all the rules. 

I look down at the floor to see if there is an arrow or a circle indicating the direction of my waiting area. I stand well back from other shoppers and, if I must skirt around them in an aisle, I am apologizing and hugging the display as I move past as swiftly as I can.

Does anyone else feel a bit naughty when they walk into a store without their mask? I am still wearing a mask in the store (when I remember). I am fully vaccinated, but my grandchildren are too little for the vaccine and my children have not received a second dose yet. I also find it a bit comforting – it is like a face cozy, reminiscent of those crocheted things we used to cover the toilet paper roll – disguising the roll as a Barbie Doll with a large skirt.

Side note: Why did we feel the need to disguise the toilet paper roll? Everyone knows why you need to use the bathroom so playing “find the toilet paper” does not make much sense.

I wonder how many friendships did not survive the pandemic. Did you lose friends either because you could no longer interact because they were not in your bubble or maybe because they did not share your beliefs regarding the pandemic?

It feels weird to flip a switch and assume that we are all mentally prepared and capable of returning to a sense of normalcy. We cannot turn back time. We cannot forget the loved ones we lost.

How are our children and grandchildren going to remember the past 18 months? I think about their brains like the rings of growth on a tree – what does that look like?

I don’t know. I am deep in thought these last few days. Personally, I need to ease into the changes – baby-step my way forward.


Judy Kucharuk lives and writes in Dawson Creek.