I am watching that lady passing my house, walking her black and white Scottish-terriers. They look like poster dogs for that Black & White scotch whisky. Unfortunately, these dogs generally dump their calling cards as they pass. And this lady does not always scoop up.

Previously I placed these incidents high on my despise list, (I can use better words than despise list, but I won’t), right along with spam calls, long queues and inconsiderate people who while sitting near me in a restaurant, ask the server to douse their pasta with Parmesan cheese. Which all brings me to social distancing.

Have you noticed that some things matter less these days?

One item is junk mail.  It used to disturb me whenever I made a trek to my super-box for my mail, to have to wade through a pile of flyers advertising appliances, eavestroughs, and exotic restaurants offering deals on foods I could not even pronounce.  I used to head home clutching this stuff making a beeline to my blue box and mumbling descriptive synonyms reminiscent of those Scottish terrier events.

Interestingly enough I never saw a flyer for duct cleaning.  I guess those outfits confine their advertisements to giving us personalized telephone calls (usually while we’re having supper).

Now, when I dare venture out of the house, I open my mailbox and hardly see a flyer.  And this bothers me.  Oh for the good old days when maybe one of these kind reminders would lead to me visiting a store to check out a new self cleaning oven, or an request an inspection of my blocked eavestrough, or maybe order some hummus, however that’s pronounced.   And oh, for the happy times    where I could hang around that super-box, not wearing a mask, and chatting with a neighbour or two whose shoulders virtually touched mine.

Another irritant was supermarket background music.  The place I generally shopped at constantly used to pipe in songs of the 60s.  Being a baby boomer, I didn’t mind initially but after a while the playlist repeated itself and it started getting on my nerves.   One song that always seemed to blast away was the Beatles, “I want to Hold Your Hand.”  I never liked that song and I noticed it always came on during my first five minutes in the store.   It’s almost as if the store staff knew my aversion to it and when they saw me approach, the manager said, “Here he comes.  You know what to do.”

As of today, given the virus, I have been mostly self isolated, and I have not entered a store in over a month.  What wouldn’t I give now for those days of being able to attend that fine supermarket and as I enjoy picking up those tangerines, bananas and zucchini, the thoughtful staff fills the air with that iconic Beatles song?  Oh, for the good old days!

Another irritant was traffic.  I was a fervent disciple of Waze, always looking for the best route, with the lightest traffic, to where I was rushing.  Where am I rushing to now? And for the first time in half a century, I have not even gased up my car in over a month.  For that matter I hear the pumps are virtually giving gas away. True?

I’d be thrilled now just to sit in my car on the 401 Highway and not move, as I admire the lines of colourful vehicles, crawling to their fine destinations.  As for the gas prices, who cares.  After all we must keep those oil companies happy too.

We have learned a few lessons, including how to view problems and irritants in perspective.

As for that lady with the dogs, in the past I’d bang on my window, when I would see her dogs fertilizing my sidewalk.  This morning I decided it didn’t really matter.  I resolved to let it pass.  It did pass in any event, as the doggies likely found another dumping ground.  I even got inspired to maybe, once the crisis passes, venture out and buy a bottle of that Black & White scotch.  Cheers.

Finally, as for that Parmesan cheese, the aroma is devastating.  Sorry, but eating that substance near me is not small stuff.  Then again, who knows.  Isn’t just about anything small stuff?



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