Jeff Martin 2020

Jeff Martin

I find myself pausing before sharing a joke or a meaningless photo to social media nowadays with so many people out of sorts. We all have so many friends and family that are suffering so much right now. Maybe they are risking their own health working on the frontlines, or not working at all because they lost their job. But we have to keep our humor, because sometimes it’s all we have to momentarily escape reality. Who wants to read about gloom and doom all day when you can be enjoying a picture of my crazy dog?

There isn’t anything funny about the current mayhem occurring around the world. Recent news headlines are straight out of “The Walking Dead,” yet Americans remain resilient and surprisingly calm despite the deaths, curfews, masks, school closings, toilet paper shortage, unemployment and travel restrictions that have recently disrupted life.

A friend, standing from further than spitting distance, recently told me how pleasant and relaxed everyone seems as neighbors are spending a lot more time on the front porches and conversing with sidewalk pedestrians for their daily social interaction. But at the same time everyone, including myself, continues to worry about getting sick, losing income and managing the kid’s education.

Staying home isn’t a luxury afforded to everyone, including my wife, Betsy. The grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses remain open and it is those employees most at risk for contracting COVID-19. The generosity shown by the people willing to continue to go to their essential jobs has been a testament to humankind.

The surge expected this week and next is being compared to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Hospital staff in the most affected areas are actually living out a horror film: makeshift morgues, healthcare personnel working around the clock, often without the proper safety equipment. Most patients dying alone.

Infection levels will reach peaks in some major cities across the county in the coming days. Please abide by the governor’s stay-at-home order so we can avoid the worst-case scenarios. Whether or not there is a football season should be the least of our worries, but if it’s an incentive to do your part, so be it. I’ll admit this ordeal is made worse with the lack of sports.

The routine at my house hasn’t changed much. Betsy goes to work, where they are currently treating several COVID-19 patients. Olivia is upstairs in class via the computer and I’m accustomed to working from home, although this time of the year I would normally be at the State House. Olivia’s travel basketball season came to an abrupt end before it really began.

Since it’ll be at least until the end of the month before the quarantine is lifted, I bought a treadmill and we’re considering chickens. But it’ll be a month before either arrives. Extending cocktail hour has also become a habit of many, going straight from coffee to wine and skipping the tea. Alcohol sales are up 55 percent. It won’t be long before divorces are too.

Remember to check on elderly neighbors and family members, but from a distance. And if you are looking for ideas to keep the kids busy, we just baked goodies for the garbagemen. I’ve been calling more and texting less and find myself excited about meetings via Zoom if only because it’s a reason to put on some clothes.

I hope by now everyone realizes the severity of this pandemic and the lasting effects it will have on life as we move forward. Can we all agree the handshake has gone by the wayside? I suspect many people will remain working from home after the virus has subsided. Hopefully, we will be moving about in a somewhat normal fashion by summer. But until a vaccine becomes available, we will remain susceptible and by the time the holidays roll around it’s possible we will be back in seclusion.

Please remember to support our local businesses, including The Montgomery Independent, as we all weather these tough and strange times. We are all in this together.