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Bye Bye Pandemic Politeness... if there really ever was any

Yesterday, minding my own business, maybe a little too much, I pulled out from my street and onto the main road, Jefferson Davis Highway – soon to be renamed. Apparently I misjudged the time it would take me to whip my big arse Volvo around the corner and assume the speed of traffic already barreling up the road.

A minivan with full family in tow starts laying on the horn. My immediate split second instinct is to look to my left and take the next lane over, if I can, so I move in that direction. He moves in that direction, all the while laying on the horn. I correct and move back to the original lane that I took when coming onto the road and the minivan accelerates and passes me on the left. As soon as he passes me, out comes his right hand through the open sun roof with his middle finger extended, as he quickly swerved in front of me in the same lane. I swear he didn’t even leave 6 feet distance between our cars when he took the lane in front of me.

Nice one Dad, Husband! What a boss role model move.

Get a couple of vaccines, good weather, a full tank of gas, and WE'RE BACK! In our full American ugliness.

Before the pandemic I already made it a point to respect people's personal space - giving them a pretty wide berth in aisles at the grocery store, when standing in line, in the office when having a conversation, and sometimes even leaving a seat between me and the next person in a meeting or at a conference - a comfortable amount of space so that we are not breathing each other's morning coffee breath or after lunch garlic and there is room to move freely. During the height of fear, in the relatively friendly community where I live, it became be a very rare thing to make eye contact with just random people in the grocery store. There was a one to two people per aisle restriction. Women would keep their eyes, the only facial feature showing behind the masks we were all wearing, tucked down looking at the floor and no one would say anything to anyone. Flash forward, just the other day while shopping, a woman rolled up so close to me with her cart, without a mask, that she nicked the back of my right heel and then gave me a look as if I somehow kicked her cart.

We may feel empowered having learned new medical terms, broadening our health literacy. We may now feel like we are qualified to be part time medical researchers having had a front row seat view into the spread and attempts at mitigating the spread of a deadly pandemic, but social distancing may have set us way back in terms of civil human interaction, communication, and just plain old respect for other people.

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