What will the path look like?

Suzi wanted to try a new walk.

We already have five of varying lengths that we choose from, but instead of taking the usual short spur of the rail trail near our house, she suggested going in the other direction.

The trail is more than 8 miles long and passes through several towns, and it has been in the back of my mind to explore more of it someday, probably if and when I ever get my bike back on the road.

After a while, the trail approaches and runs parallel to the main road, so it ducks in and out of the woods, and the trek left me curious about what’s even farther down the trail.

Seriously, I have to see about prepping my bike.

Golf course

But for the purposes of our walk, Suzi had seen that the trail breaks near the local golf course, so we crossed the road and headed up a side street to go back toward our house.

We figure it was around 3 miles, which makes good training for the 5K I hope to walk again at the end of May, but with the way things are going these days, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

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Forgive the segue that just collapsed from exhaustion because it had to work so hard,  but I felt a parallel between the walk and a series of short essays I read that day about how coronavirus would change the world, because they both involved new paths.

It still seems a bit early for that kind of thing, since we’re still probably closer to the beginning than the end, even if everything goes well.

If things don’t go well …

Several of the writers hopped on their various hobby horses — editor of libertarian magazine says certain regulations will fall, chairman of company that makes electronic ballots says electronic voting will go mainstream, and so forth.

But it was interesting to see what kind of predictions people had even if I don’t necessarily believe them — sorry, Peter T. Coleman, Columbia University professor of psychology and author of “The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization,” I don’t think polarization will decrease.

Especially interesting about this article and others I’ve seen is that they seem to be focuses on our relationship to things or situations in life. We’re going to learn there are lots of meetings that should be emails, and maybe limiting the amount of hand sanitizer you can bring on the plane is kind of stupid.

Also, parks are cool and taking walks is fun.

The National Theatre in London is working on ways to stream performances it offers through NT Live while the theater itself and many cinemas are closed.

As someone who has enjoyed numerous NT Live productions at a local movie theater, my first thought was to fling my credit card at them and say, “Take my money, please” if it becomes a permanent option.

But then I thought about it a little more. Sure, it would be great to see terrific London productions while sitting on my couch just by pushing a few buttons, especially since  traffic is often unpleasant and the theater is kind of hard to get to, anyway.

On the other hand … we don’t just go to the show.

We have dinner at a pizza place in the neighborhood. We usually kill time beforehand in a bookstore down the street.

It’s a night out.

And the theater itself is an independent nonprofit that opened in 1933. As much as I like watching movies in large reclining seats with cup holders and tray tables, no modern multiplex showing the latest blockbusters has anywhere near the charm of Coolidge Corner.

Plus, the NT Live screenings either sell out or come close, so I’m guessing they’re good for the theater’s business.

Should NT Live streaming become reality, where does that leave Coolidge Corner? Is there room for both?

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of similar questions about all things old and new.

Just as, if not more, interesting to me than the question of how we’ll deal with things in our life is whether we’ll be different people when the crisis ends.

I think the first reaction will be joy and relief at things getting back to normal, whatever “normal” looks like by that time — visiting friends and family, eating out at restaurants, attending ballgames or the movies, tossing the term “social distancing” into the trash once and for all.

But will we be better people once we’re out the other side? Will we be patient? Will we remember to not complain about little things? Will we treat our waitresses, store clerks and other service employees better?

Will we keep washing our hands?

To be honest I’m not sure if we will, unless we realize our new, coronavirus-induced habits are good for all situations.

I’m not entirely sure we’ll remember — and, to be clear, I include myself in the “we’ll” — that while the rest of us were staying home, the clerks and the baggers at the local grocery store were dealing with behavior ranging from people making sure they had enough food to panic-buying every roll of toilet paper they could get their hands on (and probably screaming if there weren’t any available).

But I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

 

7 thoughts on “What will the path look like?

  1. Unfortunately, I have to agree that I don’t think we’ll remember. When “normal” rolls back around I feel like we’ll all be grateful for like two weeks and then forget the whole thing ever happened. I will really try though to take some of these lessons I’ve learned with me in the future whenever things start to change.

    Liked by 1 person

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