Are we there already? | Local news

As a card-carrying member of the “evil news media”, I can attest that my profession is not widely admired. We rank near the bottom, between “A guy with a leaky bucket who’ll pave your driveway for a thousand dollars if you pay up front” and “TV preacher who’ll send you a vial of holy water if you send 273. $ to help buy a new jet. “

I understand. My profession has been tainted by cable opinion scare men masquerading as journalists. And even famous journalists make our heads spin when they report real facts: one week, they tell us that the pandemic is on the ropes, like a tired boxer on his last legs. The following week, the virus made a miraculous comeback, gaining energy from a new strain, an indeterminate-strength variant. These journalists only share information made available to them by the most senior government and science officials. If doctors warn us to be careful for safety reasons, you wouldn’t want that covered, would you?

Still, it’s no wonder our heads are turning. What can we do safely, where can we go and when can we get there?

The short answer: nobody knows. So I’m looking for any signs of normalcy in the lives we were leading before March 2020. When I can check all of the following on my list, you’ll know we’ve arrived.

When my neighborhood Ace hardware store launches the free popcorn maker. Free scoops for all! When he’s once again a fun spreader, not a potential virus spreader, it’s time to celebrate.

When you don’t have to wear a mask all day at work. After 20 months, I still forget the mask more than I should have. I look forward to the day when the authorities say, “You can put your mask away. “

So when restaurants and other retailers can relax their mask regulations, then we can again see the smiling faces of waiters, cashiers and customers. The world is so much brighter when it is illuminated by smiles.

When I can’t wait to fly. Fortunately, I didn’t have to board a plane during the pandemic, so I avoided tight spaces, delays, and toddler adults who have temper tantrums when asked to respect. the safety of others.

When we can end “virtual” fundraising events. The same goes for work reunions and family reunions. I understand, we can do amazing things with technology, and a lot of people love to work from home. But I’m done with it. I want to see you, look you in the eye and hug you, without anyone backing up in fear.

When all the buffets reopen. Of course, it was still a health risk, with flimsy sneeze protection and kids with sticky fingers. But I’ll be happy to try my luck again.

When “ladies samples” are back in supermarkets. I could sometimes enjoy half a meal by browsing the aisles. Want to try this new cereal? You bet! How about a mini Steak’umm sandwich? You don’t mind if I do. The hostess has a new cupcake. You don’t have to ask me twice! Want to wash it all off with a little Sunny D? Why yes, thank you. I bet some people will even put on a different cap and jacket, and go back there for a few seconds. At least that’s what I heard.

When I can cough or sneeze in public without people looking at me like I’ve just infected the whole zip code. People used to say “to your blessings” when they heard a sneeze. Now they grab their bags and kids and head to the next county.

When we can again pass the communion platters in the church. As a child, I would envy those who participated in this community experience, without any fear. No matter how you feel about religion, this traditional celebration made us feel like one. It was a form of spiritual food. It is another of our comforts that has been taken from us.

When we can invite family and friends to holiday gatherings again, without fear or question about who is vaccinated and who is not, or which side of the political fence they are on. I long for the days when we didn’t know, and we didn’t care.

When you can store the plexiglass.

When retailers and restaurants are full and we can shop and dine 24 hours a day.

Finally, when we can accompany our sick relatives during visits to the doctor, or during hospital stays, without limit. Whether it’s a newborn baby or an elderly parent saying their final farewells, family members need to be there. We missed so much.

We are not there yet. But I am confident that we are getting there.

Chattanooga news anchor David Carroll is the author of “Hello Chattanooga: Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley,” available at You can contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or [email protected]

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