As mentioned, the Covid-19 pandemic has not been as big of a subject here as might have been expected. Future readers might know: how has Covid-19 impacted normal, daily life?

The answer is that we don't have a normal life, but we forgot that we don't have a normal life. A few months ago, I moved to Corvallis, Oregon, at a time when the pandemic was under control. There is a long story behind this. At this point, safety from the virus is tracking closely with both education levels and political affiliation, and as a well-educated, left-leaning town, Corvallis was pretty safe. Through the summer, the main signs of the pandemic were the ubiquity of masks (people took them seriously here, in Corvallis, I only saw one person try to weasel out of in a supermarket) and the fact that most venues for any events are closed. In the past few weeks, as the nation wide trend has continued, things here are getting worse as well. I am starting to curtail my own behavior: perhaps going down to once a week shopping trips, like I did at the beginning of the pandemic. Through the summer, the buses here (which are free), still had signs that said "essential travel only", but I felt comfortable taking them to visit a park.

All of that is changing. It looks like I might be sequestering myself for a while, as the virus hits a winter peak.

I think now that the truce we had in the summer with Covid-19 might have been a bad thing. In the initial phase, we had lockdown and quarantine, which segued into encouraging or requiring mask wearing. Mask wearing does greatly stop the spread of the virus, but I think we all got into the mindstate that we were "safe", because we were wearing a mask, even if we were doing something like, for example, shopping for leisure items in a crowded store. The other week, after ten minutes searching for a deck of playing cards in a Dollar Tree, I thought "Is this really how someone in a lifetime-defining health crisis should act?", and thy answer is, "no". But there is a very real aspect of fatigue. It is hard for people, no matter how good their intentions, to keep themselves in a state of wariness and caution for months at a time. As the pandemic dragged on, we lost track of just what type of situation we were in, and that it could get much worse.

So where are we right now? Where am I right now? I guess for future historians, the stores are still open, we have all forgotten what normal is like, and there is just a thick cloud of doubt over everything. Right now, I can't imagine what fabled "post-pandemic" life is like. I don't even know what next month will be like, just with the impacts of the disease, and not with the impacts of everything else.