It is hard to continue living with uncertainty. I know there’s no return to normalcy, rather the creation of a new normal. How new it will be is puzzling.
With regard to health, surely we will continue wearing face masks and practicing social distancing until there is a vaccine and widespread antibody testing. Just as certain is the ongoing struggle to convince people to act responsibly and trust data they don’t really understand.
The economy will be different. More people will work from home as a health precaution, but also as businesses see value in reducing overhead. Is Laura’s employer going to compensate her for the drain on our wi-fi? Right now, it’s a sacrifice we absorb because we are grateful for her job.
We will definitely continue to shop curbside as much as possible for the foreseeable future.
I went into our favorite pizza shop twice over the past month. The first time, they had FOX News blaring. I reached out to explain how that harms me and they agreed to stick with local news. Great.
On my second trip, the governor’s orders about masking was in place. The pizzeria staff were mask free and not wearing gloves, 75% of the customers did not wear masks, no social distancing, no hand sanitizer, no nothing.
I reached out again. This time the response was terse – call the store to ask if they on masks.
We now have a new favorite Northside pizza shop. They have no TV and lots of masks.
Part of our new normal will be incessant confrontations like this. Setting our boundaries. Creating our “Plan B’s” when other folx choices threaten our boundaries. Having to keep asking people to give us our space, space we literally need for our health and peace of mind.
The new normal will bring along old familiar trauma and flaws grounded in racism, especially anti-Blackness, sexism, and poverty. The faults and cracks in the foundation of our society will be more evident and create more pressure to blow up the whole thing. Hand in hand will be the all-American desire to look away, deny, rationalize, cover-up, and obfuscate.
It’s an opportunity to do better, to be better. I’m skeptical and hopeful.
That tension isn’t really a new normal. Will Black lives matter? Will we believe women? Will we acknowledge our shared humanity? Will be unlock the cages? Will we stop the gun industry? Will we acknowledge the traumas of our past and make amends?
If the fixation of a new normal is simply the masks we wear on our faces, then there’s not much new about it.
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