The monthly book club I belong to meets on Wednesday afternoon, and is usually over by 4:00. A special, one-time event at Georgia Writers Museum, where I serve on the Board and am an active volunteer, was originally scheduled from 5:00 to 7:00 on the Wednesday before Book Club, but suddenly had to be postponed a week – which gave me a bit of a scheduling conflict.

“Not a problem,” was my first thought, since a Zoom meeting that ends at 4:00, and another one that starts at 5:00, leaves me plenty of time to transition, shift gears and focus, and even change clothes and have a bite to eat if I so choose.

Except these aren’t Zoom meetings anymore. Our Book Club has once again started meeting in person, and the Museum event is actually a small reception to acknowledge and celebrate its reopening.

It’s about half an hour’s drive between the home of the person who’s hosting Book Club and the Writers Museum. So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should still be able to make it between the two with plenty of time to spare. But I had to check the distance and route to make sure.

Throughout most of the last year and a half, when virtually – no pun intended – every meeting and event I attended took place on Zoom, it was quick and easy to get from one meeting to another, even when one was ending at exactly the same time as another one was starting. Or when back-to-back meetings were literally hundreds or thousands of miles away from each other. And when anyone showed up late to a meeting, they were likely to crack a joke about getting stuck in rush hour traffic, or caught behind a traffic jam.

Things are changing now, though, as the organizations and activities I take part in start going back to in-person meetings. And while I’m ecstatic over finally being able to meet in person in situations where it is safe to do so, it means once again having to factor in travel time, distance, and traffic when making plans and arranging schedules.

This used to be an obvious and automatic thing to do. And it will be again, eventually. But right now, it requires a little extra time and attention, simply because it’s been so long since it was necessary. I suppose it’s just another case of “normal” feeling a little strange right now.

In spite of once again having to figure time and traffic into the schedule whenever I’m making plans to go from Point A to Point B, I’m looking forward to having that “problem.” I’m looking forward to going over to visit people at their homes instead of via phone or computer. I’m looking forward to seeing other people out and about doing the same thing – running errands, and going to work, meetings, or other events. I’m even looking forward to the extra traffic and occasional delays that will result.

As long as they don’t make me late to Book Club.

May 16, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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