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The New Normal




Evening Times Editor W ell, it sure is nice to have this whole coronavirus thing behind us, isn’t it? Yep, that was a big ol’ mess for sure but now we can just …

What’s that? We’re still dealing with the coronavirus? Still? Don’t they know we’ve only got so much patience for these kinds of inconveniences? Don’t they know that flu season is approaching? Who do they think they are? Who is this “they” anyway? I’d like to speak to their manager!

No, folks, COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it seems. We’ve been hoping for months now for things to get back to normal. Well, “back to normal” might not even be a thing anymore. Instead, what we’re being told is to look for the “new normal” in a post-pandemic world.

I can at least look at what’s going on now and see some semblance of normalcy. I can watch baseball on TV, and with the fake crowd noise, I almost don’t even notice those are cardboard cutouts in the stands and not real people anymore. Football has returned as well, with a live crowd and everything. The new normal isn’t all that different from the old normal in some respects.

The kids are even back in school. My daughter was going to do the online learning thing. We picked up her device, set up a little study area for here, the whole deal.

She made it a week.

After that, she decided that it was worth wearing a mask all day, risking catching the coronavirus, and getting up early in the morning to be able to interact with her teachers and fellow students, rather than spend all day at home staring at a computer screen (welcome to my world).

And here’s another sign that there’s at least some sense of “normal” in our lives. I’ve already had to make three trips up to West Junior High to drop off something for her that she forgot that she needed for school … her horn for band, her shoes for volleyball, money for the something-or-other. That, I assure you, is extreme normal for her.

But, of course, actually going to the school you lose some of that normal. Most of the students are still doing online instruction. There are signs on the door to the school that remind you to wear a mask. The door itself is locked, so you have to call and have someone let you in. So, yesterday, I’m standing in front of the school wearing a mask, holding a baritone, and waiting for someone to open the pod bay doors and grant me access to the spacecraft like I’m carrying radioactive samples from the surface of Mars or something.

I don’t necessarily like the new normal.

But like I said, there are some parts of our lives that have gotten back to normal again. We can mostly go out and eat. Yes you have to wear a mask going in and coming back out, but you can sit and enjoy a meal. It’s not completely “normal,” but we are at least past the point where curbside pickup was the only option.

That’s the thing. We’re resilient. Businesses have found ways to make it work in a COVID-19 world … mostly. Some have closed. Others have laid people off. We’re not getting through this unscathed. But we’re not going to let this get the best of us either. A lot of companies will look different going forward. Many realized thanks to the pandemic that they can change their business model. It turns out you can get the job done from home instead of having to pay for office space. You can fill orders with 10 employees instead of 15. It turns out online ordering is much easier than driving to the store.

We have learned a lot about ourselves and what’s important to us during these past several months. We hate change, but we will adapt as needed. Oh, we’ll complain about it, but we will grudgingly do what needs to be done. We’re still not getting full participation, though. I still see people who just don’t want to follow the rules. The only problem is, when they get put in the “time out” chair, the rest of us have to go in the “time out” chair too.

It’s like that one kid in class that won’t act right so the whole class misses recess. Well, kid, it’s time to stop whining about your rights and put on a mask like the rest of us. Yes, it stinks and no one likes it but following these simple rules is part of the process of getting past all of this … or at least through to whatever lies beyond it.

Sorry, kids, looking out for the welfare of others is part of the new normal.

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