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Published June 9, 2020

THE VIEW FROM MY SEAT

I ventured out to run some errands and was pleasantly surprised

Tires, appliances don’t realize there is a pandemic going on

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

You might be under the impression, if you watched TV news, that everyone was flaunting social distance guidelines at the pool or the beach.

You might also have the impression that we are spending our time arguing over face masks. Or wasting time looking for villains rather than addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

While some of these things are happening, I recently ended two months of staying at home and was pleasantly surprised by what I found as I ran errands in our county.

Although I would like to see more face masks, I encountered businesses and everyday folk trying to reopen the economy ... and doing it in a safe way.

I know passing out compliments is not in vogue these days, but here are a couple examples of businesses adjusting to the times.
I needed new tires for my van.

I had delayed getting them because I dreaded sitting in my wheelchair in a waiting room crowded with potential carriers of the coronavirus. After weeks in self-quarantine at home, I didn’t want to risk exposure to the virus over a couple of tires.

Sound paranoid? It comes with good reason. I have a disability that resulted from a bout with the flu -the regular kind. For reasons that still aren’t quite clear, my antibodies not only attacked the virus, but also my spinal cord, leaving me paralyzed. I worry about catching the flu again. Who knows what would happen?

But as the economy began to reopen, I couldn’t wait for tires any longer.

I called a tire dealer in Pearland and explained my medical situation. He said if I made an appointment, I could get the new tires without ever leaving the car.

I have no idea how common such service is, but that is exactly what I needed and what happened. All the employees I spoke with through the car windows wore masks. There was even a plastic bag for my credit card so fewer hands touched it.

I left with new tires and more confidence that, somehow, we would all get through this pandemic.

The next stop, a few days later, was my dermatologist’s office. I had postponed various appointments with other doctors, but I needed to keep this one.

A few days before the appointment, an e-mail arrived with instructions for my visit. The dermatologist’s practice was cutting back on the number of patients it was seeing each day in order to keep proper social distance in the waiting room.

I was instructed to call the office from my cellphone upon arrival. I would be told if I should come into the office or wait in the car until there were fewer people in the waiting room.

It turns out I was allowed into the waiting room right away. There were fewer chairs, and they were arranged in a way that patients would keep the proper social distance.

We had to fill out a questionnaire about potential exposure to the Covid-19. What was remarkable about the visit is how normal it seemed. Everyone – doctors, patients and staff – wore masks. I heard no complaining or whining.

Judging from other e-mails, my other doctors are following similar procedures. Good for them.

A special compliment closer to home. We had a washing machine quit in April and a well-stocked refrigerator went kaput in May. It was like the virus had infected our household appliances.

Try going a week without a refrigerator during a pandemic when all the restaurants are closed or offering limited service.

Kelly, my wife, was able to buy replacements for both appliances and have them delivered in the middle of the pandemic lockdown.
The new fridge replacement even has a computer screen. Hopefully, I can figure out how to use it so I can post a note telling her what a lucky guy I am.

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)