The coronavirus has hit the Hannagans.
I don’t have it. Joe doesn’t have it. No one we know has it.
The little virus causing so much havoc around the world has changed the way I deal with people and the things they touch.
Two weeks ago for the first time I grabbed an antiseptic wipe to wipe off the handle of the grocery cart in the Giant Eagle. I’d always thought people who did that were paranoid or silly. I’ve become one of them.
There were no large bottles of hand sanitizer on the grocery shelves. I bought a half dozen of the little ones you attach to your purse or backpack.
I read a lot of what I call apocalyptic literature where a virus, zombies or political upheaval turns the world upside down and puts us back in the stone age. I know how to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.
Two weeks ago I snuck in extra canned tuna into the grocery cart and told Joe we needed more canned veggies sneaking in those as well. I’m actually stocking up in case we get quarantined.
The following shopping trip Joe admitted that he’d been thinking the same way. We bought more canned veggies, a large bag of rice, noodles and extra spaghetti sauce. I haven’t added extra toilet paper to the list, but I have stocked up on cough syrup, Tylenol and tissues. We’ve made sure we have enough of our medications to last a month.
I stretch my long sleeves to cover my hands when I open doors in public bathrooms. I flush toilets by using my foot to karate kick the button or push the lever. (Don’t laugh, some of you do the same!)
I sing “This Land is Your Land” in my head when I wash my hands for 20 seconds.
This week we started bumping elbows with friends we meet at church.
Then there are the things I’m noticing about others such as how close we stand next to each other and strangers.
Grabbing a chai at Starbucks on the Ohio Turnpike I stood at least 6 feet away from the group ahead of me in line. I watched the barista push her hair off her forehead, scratch her nose and pour the tea into a cup before she handed it to me. The chai wasn’t contaminated, but I wondered what bugs her hands had left on the paper cup.
I’d never thought of that before.
When we arrived at a friend’s home for Sunday dinner, he went in for a big hug. I backed away and offered an elbow. He made a joke about it, then hugged me anyway. I stiffened.
Since Charley’s immune system is already compromised we’re trying to avoid her getting sick, Joe explained.
We’ll we’re not staying 6 feet away from each other, he replied with a laugh. I had already taken a couple of steps back bumping into the couch.
We’re not changing our other routines. I have a movie matinee date with a friend later this week. We’re still volunteering to serve community meals. We have tickets for the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the foodbank next Sunday.
We leave for Florida in our motorhome after my next treatment later this month to visit with friends and family, and do some disaster rebuilding with Nomads there.
I’m not paranoid about a virus, maybe a bit silly.
So, if you’re not my family, don’t expect a big hug when I see you. You’ll get a hearty elbow bump instead.