Getting Back To Our ‘New Normal’ Is Not As Easy As I Expected


Ahhhhhh, breathe deeply. In. Out. In. Out. You know what that is? Air! Air flowing freely, unobstructed by cotton, polyester or polypropylene. Air that is carrying all sorts of dust, germs and allergens. But because, as a caring and conscientious person, you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t even have to worry about the C-word.

Now we have to deal with the fallout. We don’t know how to behave anymore. Someone sneezes, and people hit the deck. Someone reaches out a hand? We nod and move on. Someone stands only 5 feet behind us? What are they, a pickpocket?

I even found myself parking only where there was a space open on either side of me. I call it automotive social distancing.

So, I am trying to right myself and get back to “normal.”

I ate inside a restaurant on Monday. And you know what I was thinking? Why am I eating in here when I could be eating in my car, listening to comedy on Sirius?

My daughter is part owner of a microgreen farm. Thanks to their distributor, they deliver healthy green sprouts throughout the Midwest. They’ve barely been alive for months — just scraping by. Now orders are coming in fast and furious. The largest resort in Missouri just ordered 30 pounds of microgreens for this weekend.

“That’s wonderful, Jen!” I said.

“Oh, yeah!” she retorted. “It’s great. It’s a new account. But plants need time to grow!”

Since my parents’ assisted living facility re-opened, one of their kids or grandkids has been to see them every single weekend. They’re exhausted by so much company. How does one entertain? We’ve all forgotten.

Simply carrying on a conversation is difficult — all this eye contact. All these facial expressions. All this body language. It’s too much. Just call me on the phone. Better yet, text. I’ll decide what your inflections are and whether they tick me off or not.

Walt Disney World is booked solid into June. I know. I checked. But how long until we just drive up there on a whim? With stimulus money burning a hole in our pocket? Or perhaps even with money that we earned at our jobs?

I still don’t see why movie theaters were singled out as the worst possible place to congregate. Many are still not open! James Bond may be able to storm into any spy hideout he chooses, but he’s not getting into theaters — oh, no. Not yet.

As for me, there were several things that I actually liked about the pandemic.

Social distancing. What’s wrong with that? My “three feet of personal space” has always been six feet.

Wearing a mask. I had all sorts of work done on my face. Nobody knew.

Carrying my own pen. I don’t want to borrow your skanky old pen. Give me my Bic.

Opening doors with my shirt sleeve. People used to look at me funny for doing that.

I, for one, am embracing the “new normal.” I don’t like it as much as the “old normal,” but when have I ever liked anything new? I will learn. I will grow. I will adapt. And, someday, I will get to see the new James Bond movie in a theater!