One of the most challenging aspects of the pandemic is trying to predict the future we’re going to face. So many aspects of our lives are going to be affected that it’s impossible to guess how things will turn out.
But some things have already begun to change, in both big and small ways. I’m already living through dramatic changes- I went from learning how to be an in-classroom teacher to learning how to conduct distance learning in about two weeks. There have been other changes to my thinking though, even after only two months of the pandemic. I want to explore those changes below.
1) I am buying a car. Before the pandemic, I had zero interest in buying a car. I’ve gotten everywhere I need to be without one, so why take on the extra expense and hassle? Riding the bus ain’t great, but it’s so much cheaper than owning a car that the inconvenience is worth it. Besides, with Uber and Lyft as ubiquitous as they are now, I’ve had ready access to a car whenever I needed it (that someone else is driving, paying for and maintaining).
As I said, though, that was before the pandemic. Since the quarantine began, I have only ridden the bus to go grocery shopping. It feels like riding in a coffin. There’s no social distancing to speak of. The overwhelming majority of people wear masks, but not everyone. Public transportation employees are dying from Covid-19, so these fears aren’t imagined.
I don’t want to get the coronavirus because I don’t breathe that well, especially at night. One step beyond that is my son, who has asthma. Without a vaccine, I can’t risk putting him on the bus again. That means finally getting a car, and all the associated headaches.
2. I’m going to buy contacts- I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 20 years old, but I’ve always liked them. They’re a great way to accessorize clothes and give you the “smart” look while doing nothing but seeing. But with the requirement to wear masks now, I can’t see a damn thing because my glasses keep fogging up.
Again, contacts have always seemed like a hassle. They require the same amount of work as glasses, except they’re tiny and clear. If they’ll make it easier to see for as long as we’re wearing masks though, I’ll just have to become more responsible with small things.
These changes might seem like a simple shift of opinion, but they’re going to have significant knock-on effects for the rest of my life. I’ll have to budget for a car, for as long as I have one. That’s an expense I’ve never had, and had been planning on never having. If, in another thirty years, I’m still putting my contacts into their case before going to sleep, then that would be a behavior of mine totally changed by the pandemic.
Those kinds of downstream effects are going to reverberate throughout the world for years, as people, companies and entire nations make changes as a result of the pandemic. Some of those changes may even be more important than whether I’m on the road or not.