Creature of habit that I am, when the days turn crisp, the nights, blanket-worthy, I put my summer clothes away and take winter things out of the cedar closet. And then, when the earth tilts towards spring and daffodils bloom, I reverse the process. When I stashed my summer things away last month I realized what an absolutely futile exercise it was for this pandemic-tortured year.
Except for a pair of blue linen cropped pants and two white shirts, I hadn’t worn any of my nice summer clothes. Day after day April through September, I wore my work-in-the-yard, clean-the-basement, scrub-the-kitchen scruffy stuff. Keeping safe from Covid-19 includes not just wearing masks, but staying away from crowds and such frequent hand-washing that I could now sand my old kitchen table with my 60 grit sandpaper hands.
So when the temperature convinced me to dig out jeans and sweatshirts, long-sleeved tees and socks it hit home how senseless my biannual rituals were this year especially.
Who knew that masks — such necessary, if controversial, protection against Covid-19 — would become fashion statements as well as, sadly, symbolic politically? Even though the so-essential medical community has endured shortages of appropriate masks and other personal protective equipment, hundreds, if not thousands, of clever designs are available for the mask-wearing public.
Virginia’s early voting began September 18. I wanted to be among the first to be counted. It took me 45 minutes to decide what to wear, another 20 to get ready to leave the house, 15 minutes to drive to the polling site and less than ten minutes to vote thanks to a very efficient process. At last I went somewhere, somewhere that counted in more ways than one.
On October 15 I went into Krogers, rather than into the pickup lane as I’d been doing exclusively since March. Quite a step for super cautious me. There were few people in the store and nearly all were wearing masks, but still I worried. One reckless woman, about my age, was mask-less. She careened around the store crashing into people with her cart like a car weaving in and out of traffic on I-81. I steered clear.
Little did I know last spring that there would be no place I could or would go in the summer or even now that fall is forging ahead to winter. If something miraculous occurs and life returns to something resembling pre-pandemic normal, my cold weather wardrobe is ready. But I won’t hold my breath.