I guess it would come as no surprise that I come at things a little differently. I figure everyone looks at the world through little different lenses because no two people are the same, not even the ones who grew up identical twins. That being said, my kids both know that, when anyone talks about normal, the only think I know of that is normal is the setting on the dryer (the washer too, depending on your make and model). Even normal body temperature isn’t “normal” just average.
So now we are 6 months in to Covid 19. I live in the United States, so I guess that makes me part of the “me” country. Yes, I realize that we are who most of the rest of the world looks at and shakes their heads. I look at us and shake my head.
We fought the good fight for about two weeks when two weeks was what was set out as the game plan. But people got stir crazy. People wanted to go back to normal.
What normal are they wanting to go back to?
Unemployment benefits are being paid out at often well over what people were making while employed. There was a moratorium put on foreclosures and evictions. People who had never even thought of using a food bank before had to start to rely on food banks. People who never ate at home with their family around the table started to spend time with family around the supper table again.
Unemployment boost (the extra $300, $400, $600) will end. People who are unemployed will have to subsist on what “normal” unemployment is again. The moratorium on not losing your home because of back rent will end… and if you can’t make up all of what you owe, landlords and banks will be able to process the evictions.
What “normal” will that leave everyone with? What will “normal” now look like for those families?
People want normal schools.
People want normal lives.
People are demanding normal Halloween.
“These kids deserve normal” (Kids, from what I’ve seen, seem to adapt far better than their parents)
“I want my kids to grow up the way I did” (Take away the electronics then, go back to board games and four channels on the TV)
“If any sheep wearing masks come to my door trick-or-treating they will get nothing from me” (I kind of like the picture of mask wearing sheep… but that’s just because my mind works a little differently)
“People call this the new normal. There’s nothing normal about this!” Why? Shit changes. Shit changes every single day. You don’t like it? Okay that’s great. Start being part of the solution rather than being part of the thing that is getting the US laughed at.
Fifteen years ago, my normal changed. I went from being obese and trying to get in better shape running to having the rug ripped out from under me when I got the phone call that the lump on my finger wasn’t a cyst it was RA and oh by the way I had been having active RA, at that time, for about two years. I was moderate to advanced already. HA. So there.
Enter drugs that dumb down my immune system and enter singing happy birthday twice every time you wash your hands and oh yeah carry hand sanitizer everywhere and clorox wipes to clean off the tables in restaurants and finding creative ways to push buttons on the elevator and the soda machine. Enter being terrified to buy lemonade at lemonade stands because kids are kids (and kids ARE kids and they will always be kids). Enter looking at EVERYTHING just a little differently. Enter a new normal for me.
Was it a pain in the ass? Yep. Was I terrified? Yep, still am to a great extent.
Do you have any idea how happy I am that there are now “tools” that are being imagined and delivered that make MY life easier? I have a hook to pull open doors, to push open doors, to push elevator buttons, to not touch a lot of things that I used to look and try to puzzle through the best way to cope? Do you have any idea how awesome I find it that I have fashion choices I can make with masks that I’ve wanted to wear but the paper ones just didn’t work for my head size and the skin under my glasses? Do you? I took a mask I bought at Walmart to my mom’s with a couple technical shirts in hope that she can reverse engineer the mask and make me some sexy running masks so when races start again (and the bitching at Disney for cancelling the January and February races has been rampant since the announcement came out… and don’t get me started on “social distancing” in races and runners on the left and walkers on the right unless I’m a runner and there are too many runners and I can elbow you to the face because you’re walking a race and you’re IN MY WAY) I can wear something that I am comfortable in and that I think looks good.
No, you probably don’t unless you are one of the people for whom this is… WAIT FOR IT… normal now.
Normal for my siblings growing up was having polio.
Normal for my siblings growing up was barn work and putting in hay in the summer and making trips to the store maybe once a week maybe once every two weeks. Normal for most of us was a land line that had a rotary dial not a computer you toss carelessly around like a $2 notebook.
You want normal?
And what happens when YOUR normal changes?
I’m tired of rhetoric. I’m tired of being taken for granted. I’m tired of knowing that a lot of the people I live around figure that I’m expendable because they want to go back to what they had a year ago. I’m tired of knowing that (despite the fact that I have a job and I contribute to society) I’m one of the people who should just suck it up and die quicker so the rest of the people can get on with their lives and maybe be able to rely on herd immunity.
I’m tired. Mostly I’m tired of seeing just how little regard an awful lot of people have for each other. I’m tired of the new normal making it okay to name call and bully but hey, that’s a great part of the new normal that no one seems to want to get rid of because THAT is just wicked freaking awesome to be able to completely turn off what filter you had and let your bully flag fly. I’m tired of it being okay to call people sheep because you’re too self absorbed to know that there are people like me living right beside you. Maybe I should COMPLETELY turn off my filter (what little filter I have, any way) and tell people what I think of them and THEIR wicked awesome new normal… but oh wait… it’s bad if I say something to you but it’s okay for you to say something to or about me… I forgot… YOUR normal is good, but only yours.
I don’t know what “normal” will evolve in to but it will continue to evolve. At some people even the United States will be able to claim that we have managed to beat Covid into submission (albeit long after the rest of the world minimized confirmed cases and deaths). At that point, normal will be a NEW NORMAL again. Maybe at that point people won’t be angry at that new normal.
As for me… my new normal is… This morning I noticed I’m starting to go gray. I’m wearing one of my masks around my neck. I’m a little concerned I woke up with a headache but a couple of napproxen and an extra 90 minutes sleep beat it back. For now, normal is waking up on the futon mattress on the living room floor with four dogs for company and checking on Bear to make sure he is still breathing. This morning, normal was putting on a hoody to ‘go to work’ in my office 60 feet from the living room. Halloween will mean bagging up candy and putting several baggys on a table to be picked up by trick or treaters. I won’t make fun of them regardless of whether or not they wear masks. I will wear my mask and keep my distance because I know that there are people out there who are asymptomatic and if I catch it from them I probably won’t be.
And… I’m late for work, but I needed this diatribe. Will anyone care? Those who already care will care. Those who don’t, won’t. And if I get any snark… I just might snark back…
Love and light