I’ve never been much of a prognosticator.
Even as a kid, I got predictions wrong more often than I got them right.
As much of a Mets fan as I’ve always been, I thought the 1969 Mets were going to lose the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles. The Jets in the Super Bowl III? No way were they going to beat the Colts.
Years later, I continued to buy VHS tapes, mostly for my kids, even after DVDs started to become popular. Later still, I kept giving DVDs as gifts until I finally caught on that this streaming thing was for real.
I’m not always wrong. I never bought an 8-track tape player or a SONY Betamax video system. I picked the Giants to beat the undefeated Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl.
Still, as we look ahead to the long-term changes our exposure to the coronavirus will bring, I admit I don’t have much of a speculation track record.
I’m going to make a few predictions anyway.
I think the first time I ever heard the phrase “the new normal,” was in the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Life, as we knew it then, we were told by many, would change forever.
In many ways it did, especially when it came to security.
Traveling by airplane would never be the same, with the TSA security lines, having to remove your shoes and belts, etc. I remember being able to go down to the gate to greet an arriving relative or to wait with a departing one. That ended forever.
Likewise, going through a metal detector and having your bag inspected when you went to a sporting event or a concert would become the norm.
Day-to-day life, though, didn’t change anywhere near as much then as I imagine it will in the aftermath of this pandemic.
As I sit writing this column at a desk in my East Buffalo Township home office, I suspect a lot of people will be working remotely moving forward, when technology and the kind of job allow for it. Some businesses may decide they no longer need to provide a physical workspace.
I also expect a lot of business travel will be a thing of the past, as companies realize it is often unnecessary to be in the same physical location.
I’ve got a rack full of ties I now almost never wear. I won’t be surprised if we start wearing masks that go with our clothes. I think we’ll keep wearing masks for some time to come, especially in close quarters.
I don’t expect we’ll go back to shaking hands or casually hugging people. A head nod and a smile seem the most likely alternative.
While I think we’ll eventually go back to being less far apart physically than current social distancing conventions recommend — including going back to church — I’d imagine being part of dense, packed crowds at concerts and sporting events will probably take a long time to come back, if it ever does.
There’s one final prediction I’ll make without equivocation. Our communities will continue to need accurate, up-to-date local news, and we will continue to provide it in multiple ways and on multiple platforms for years to come.
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