Adapting

It rained most of the day here yesterday. Each time we poked out our heads, there were raindrops falling. A single rainy day in a camper is no hardship. The children played peacefully in the camper all morning. We were all surprised when it was lunchtime. The time had passed so quickly. The camper is cozy and dry.

In the afternoon, while the children were having quiet time at their house, Susan and I decided that we would go for our walk. We donned our raincoats and drove to a park where there are lots of big trees. The ground was soft and squishy in lots of places and we got mud on our shoes as we got our exercise. We are not habituated to rainy country and do not have true foul weather gear, but we do have jacket that shed most of the rain. The park was smaller that we expected and we ended up walking through a neighborhood for at least half of our walk. By the time we had covered a couple of miles, we were pretty wet and ready to head back to the camper. We dried out and had a cup of tea.

In the late afternoon, I went for another walk and ended up at least as wet as I had on the first walk. Then, as the children were getting ready for bed, I offered to go out and close the chicken coop for the night. Just as I swung the door closed, I hit the overhead chicken netting and sent a cascade of water down on my head and shoulders, drenching my shirt and back. For the third time in a single day, I had to get a towel and dry myself off.

We will adjust to the new climate. We’ve been watching the locals. Our grandchildren all have boots that they pull on to keep their feet dry and jackets that shed the water. They take the rain for granted and have the gear to keep dry. We will acquire the necessary gear before long. It is likely that we have cold weather gear such as heavy coats and insulated coveralls that we won’t be needing in this new place.

We have been very disciplined about exercise and taking our daily walk ever since Susan was hospitalized last fall. We haven’t missed any days of exercise since she was able to walk for a half hour each day. At home, during the winter, there were a few days when it was too cold and windy to walk outside, so we walked inside the church. Five laps of all of the interior hallways at the church is a mile. I’ve walked as much as three miles inside of the church. We don’t have the same kind of access here yet. Churches are on lockdown and we’re new to the area.

In the evening we had a short discussion with our son about where we might walk indoors. There are not very many options. The local indoor shopping mall is now officially closed. Some of the stores in the mall are open and doing business, but they are accessed individually from their exterior doors. The interior mall itself is not open. The combination of a change in the way that people shop with the effects of the pandemic has caused the mall to be facing bankruptcy.

There are, of course, big box stores that are open. It wouldn’t be hard to get in a couple of miles walking around Lowes or Home Depot.

It is evident that an economic readjustment will be a part of the story of Covid-19. Obvious “winners” in the short term have been supermarkets and Internet businesses. Amazon was already an economic powerhouse and they were well situated to expand their profits during the time of lockdown. People are staying home and ordering everything from household supplies to groceries to be delivered to their houses.

A couple of days ago, as we were driving back to the camper from an errand I noticed a coffee shop with a drive-through where there were two UPS trucks and a FedEx truck all in line to pick up their beverages. The people who make the home deliveries have been especially busy in this time.

I’ve read that during the Black Plague in Europe, entire communities failed and ceased to exist. You will come across large old stone churches standing out in the middle of empty fields in Europe. It is likely that those churches are all that is left of a community that was abandoned. The houses fell down and deteriorated and all that is left is the church. The plague was far more devastating than the current pandemic. There were large areas where the death rate was as high as 30%. There was a huge labor shortage. Crops were left in the fields with no one to harvest them. In general, the plague affected the poorest people more than it did those who were rich. The rich got richer and the poor often simply died. Pandemics have not had a positive effect on economic justice in the past. There is already evidence that a similar effect is occurring with Covid-19.

We were already changing the way we shop before the pandemic. Bricks and mortar stores were being replaced by online retailers. The convenience of home delivery was becoming common all across the country. The fleets of brown UPS trucks were growing and jobs were shifting form traditional retail to a combination of big box stores and Internet-based businesses.

It is still too early to know all of the effects of this situation on the economy and the lives of people, but it is clear that it will be significant.

So, as we continue to walk for our health, we know that weathering the storm will require more than just a bit of better rain gear. We’ll adapt to the weather just fine. Adapting to a new economy might take a bit longer.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!