I am keeping my masks and toilet paper stocked


I will admit it. It is pretty weird.

You go through your entire life not doing something, and then you have to start doing it all the time. Then suddenly, boom! You don’t have to do it anymore.

It might take me some time to get used to not wearing a mask when I go to the store.

Yes, I am one of those nuts who actually listened to the advice of experts and wore a mask. And I never once felt that my freedom was being taken away. To the contrary, I felt like I was doing my part in helping the pandemic from getting worse.

Getting used to a mask took some time, for sure. It was a very post-apocalyptic feeling going to the grocery store while wearing a mask, following the arrows to go the right way down the aisle and not getting too close to other shoppers.

But, let’s be honest, the mask enforcement was all over the place. I think the last year has proven that we are, as a group, incredibly selfish people. Wear a mask to help yourself and others? No problem for most of us. A large problem, apparently, for some.

All I could do was the best I personally could do. I wore my mask, I stayed 6 feet away and generally – especially early during the pandemic – I stayed home most of the time.

Sure, it was a bummer sometimes. Yes, I wanted to go out and see live music and dine with friends and have people over. But I didn’t. My wife and I did our best to stay safe, and it worked.

I have followed the COVID-19 numbers in the state pretty much daily for more than a year. I saw them increase quickly last year. The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths was numbing for some time.

But in recent months the numbers have been going down – way down. The latest number I saw was 244 new cases. This time last year it was in the thousands.

The difference? The vaccines of course. I, like many Americans, got my vaccine and I am glad I did. Those of us who did have helped drop the number of cases. We can still get COVID, of course. But it won’t be as bad, if we even get symptoms at all.

I am excited about this because early next year, I plan to travel to see my 87-yeaer-old father. He stayed safe during the pandemic, thankfully, but I really want to see him and spend time with him. Without the vaccine, it would be much too risky for him.

That is the point – get the vaccine for others even if you don’t want it for yourself. No one is forcing you to get it.

Not that we have done a good job of that in the last year or so. I went plenty of places where people didn’t take the pandemic seriously at all. Some of those people ended up getting sick. We all saw the deniers on the news who also died from COVID-19. A lesson learned too late.

But we are coming out the other side, and that is great news. I am happy to go maskless when I can. I do still wear my mask at the grocery store, because they recommend it. I am glad to if it makes people feel safer.

I am sure this is not the last pandemic that we will face, and the next one could be much, much worse. I will be keeping my masks handy, and my toilet paper stocked.