JIM FURLONG | The March of Time

*Originally published in our July 17-23, 2022 issue

I am older now and things have changed. I noticed that on the back deck of our home a couple of evenings ago. It was nice and warm, and the sun was dipping below the tree line. 

Not a cloud in the sky. I had a Jameson Whiskey (note the spelling) on the go. Everything should have been wonderful and right with the world because we are back to normal, aren’t we?

Do I feel safe? 

Somewhere in my soul though was the gnawing feeling that everything was not quite right. We have been through much during the past couple of years with COVID and we want things to be the same as before all this started, but I know that saying it does not make it so. 

Two people who are close to me have tested positive for COVID in the last week alone. I myself now have had no less than four vaccinations. Do I feel safe? No, I do not.

Given my advanced years I must be careful and I surely am. Now I know that things are opening again, but I also know that in the decision to go back to normal there are political and economic considerations. There are those considerations in everything in the universe. 

What have I learned in the past couple of years? Well for one thing COVID and the crisis has changed my life fundamentally. For instance, social contact has changed. There are people I have not seen in years, and they have not seen me.

Altered time-line?

There has been a time warp. The normal processes of a life lived have been altered. My contact with other people has absolutely changed. I go to shops and restaurants much less. The floor of my car might provide a clue. There are old take-out boxes and wrappers. Subway, Mickey Dees, The Colonel and all the rest.  

I ran into someone I know well the other day. It was on the street walking.  I had my mask on and my friend had hers on. We did lower the masks to speak. We did still recognize each other.

Do you know what struck me? She had aged. She was older than I remember her. Well of course she was!!!!! By a couple of years. Then came the realization that I guess that I have aged as well. 

My friend sees me as older than I was. I hope she was not too disappointed. Unfortunately, not being out in society is not a free pass for anyone against aging. 

There’s a phrase from the far east that appears appropriate; “The dogs bark and the caravans roll on.” 

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]