June 5, 2020

Back to the Normal

What an interesting and chaotic two weeks it has been. Covid-19 is becoming less of an issue and protests and riots are ongoing. How wonderful it would be if we could just get back to normal. Normal is a state of mind, a comfortable place where we half way know what to expect. And no, I am not advocating that we just hide in our safe space. To the contrary. I am wanting to get back to where when I meet someone, I can shake his/her hand, have a lunch or supper meeting and actually meet face to face. You know, the way humans are supposed to interact and I will suggest to you, in my humble opinion, the best way to conduct business. I understand that technology has allowed us to work from home or wherever. We can sit in front of a camera or just listen on the phone. I also understand that so much is missed in those online meetings; such as body language, side bar conversations, the nuances of each individual that we learn to recognize and act upon. Something as simple as a throat clearing or a rubbing of the chin.

There are those that suggest we will forever be wearing face masks and talking around plexiglass in stores. (How do you eat with a face mask on anyway?) I attempted to try on a sport coat the other day and was told I could not do that. The reason was because I might spread the Covid. Well I had to ask if they had this policy in place when the flu season was in full force? We have all heard of the deer in the headlight look, well that is what I got. I get that precautions need to be taken but we are adults here and can use that thing called “Common Sense”. In speaking with people from various walks of life IN Appalachia, most, actually a vast majority, think enough of this, time to move on and get back to “normal” or at the very least, a common sense normal.

When all this started, there were a lot of unknowns; mask or no mask, surface transmission or not, one age group more likely to contract than others, casual contact or stay six feet apart (apparently 6’1” is ok). We were told “We must flatten the curve”, we did that. The curve is now barely a curve at all. The number of cases is extremely small IN Appalachia. I know, in other parts of the state and country it is still more of an issue. But IN Appalachia we need to get back to work. They selectively closed the economy down (you know essential vs. non-essential). Those that were deemed non-essential are ready and eager to get back to making a living, providing for their families and contributing to society and the local economy. (A side note, if you are a small business owner and were considered non-essential from up on high, I will suggest to you that feeding and providing for your family is very much essential.)

I believe that those of us IN Appalachia can safely conduct business, serve food, interact with people and move on with our lives and our commerce. In fact, I know we can and we must. Now more than ever, we need to pull together, businesses need to lead the way and take charge of their own destiny and the destiny of IN Appalachia. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities IN Appalachia. With opportunities will be problems and with collaboration, innovation and creativity they can all be solved. Doing this, we can become more self-sufficient and stronger while growing the economy IN Appalachia.