Monday, June 7, 2021 started like any other workday. Or, at least, it started like I used to consider normal for a workday. I got up at my usual ridiculously early time to get in a good workout before putting everything I’d need into my backpack and beginning my bike ride to work. I like to bike to work when the weather permits in order to leave the car for my wife if she needs to go anywhere.
The trouble was that it had been more than a year since I’d biked to the office, so I was a little out of practice. That led to a rather nasty situation in which, about a mile from my house, I got cut off by a driver (not maliciously, but still unexpectedly), and I had to swerve to avoid him. My chain came off the cassette, causing my pedals to swing wildly around and making me lose my footing on them. The left pedal connected violently with my leg and dug a deep hole into it that quickly began to gush blood. I considered my options for a few seconds before deciding to simply put the chain back on, roll up my sock as high as it would go to soak up most of the blood, and then soldier on the last two miles or so to the office.
Here’s what it looked like when I got to the office and pulled the sock down:
I managed to clean the wound and bandage it, and it wasn’t too painful. But I’ve looked at that scar for the past two months as a symbol of something much bigger than a bike accident.
What the Scar Represents
You see, June 7, 2021 was the first time that I had been allowed to return to my employer’s office since March 2020. That closure was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful to have a job that is easily accomplished remotely, so it wasn’t a huge sacrifice.
The gaping wound that I received in my leg served as a reminder of the scar of the COVID-19 lockdown. I am in a state that has been much less extreme than others, but it was still a visible change from the norm. Nothing was the same, nor would it ever return to the way it was, and I saw that reflected in my workplace. Things I once took for granted were missing. I didn’t have my old private office. Now I found myself working in a large open room with many unfamiliar faces. Many familiar employees were gone, replaced by new ones. Change can’t be avoided since that’s the nature of the world, but it’s still sad to have to say goodbye to old friends at a distance without closure.
A Permanent Scar
On Monday, August 2, 2021, just two months after finally being let back in, I learned I would once again not be allowed to enter the office for safety concerns. This brought the symbolism of my wound into focus once more. I had watched the progress of my leg’s healing over the past two months, and I noticed it’s left a visible scar that I think will be permanent. This is what it looked like on August 7:
Perhaps this scar is meant to serve as a constant reminder to me of this whole experience losing many precious freedoms and having my once-normal life replaced by something damaged and foreign.
I don’t mean to come across as ungrateful for my employment any more than I would complain about having a perfectly usable leg with a small scar on it. I simply want to drive home the point that I don’t think everything will go back to normal. Perhaps our pristine, happy-go-lucky existence before COVID-19 was an abnormality, historically speaking. Peace, liberty, and prosperity seem to be on the verge of crumbling to reveal dark things that have been hiding in the shadows for many generations.
I think tough times are coming, and I hope we’ll all be prepared as best as we can. The day could come when I am barred from many places because of my vaccine status. Whatever the future holds, I aim to face it with dignity, not fear. May each scar I receive make me stronger and give me a new story of hope to regale others with.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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