It’s About to Get Weird. Like, Really Weird.
Our excitement with getting back to normal can’t cover up how strange the journey back there will be
The summer is starting to look spectacular. The White House recently announced the U.S. will have enough vaccines by the end of May to inoculate every American adult. By the Fourth of July, we should be able to start celebrating our independence from Covid-19.
It’s about time. We’ve all had our fill of Zoom meetings, classes, and weddings. But in our excitement about getting back together with friends and family, we’re overlooking something crucial: It’s gonna be weird.
Not because the pandemic has made most of us a little more haggard. Sure, we’ve gained some weight. And our wardrobe is mostly sweatpants and sportswear.
But more so because in the last year, our sense of normal has shifted completely. Wearing masks and social distancing are now second nature. It’s hard to imagine it ever being otherwise.
The real reason I know that going back to normal won’t come easy is because I’ve done it before.
When I watch movies made in the bygone pre-pandemic era, I’m filled with angst. “Don’t they know that’s not safe?” I ask myself when I see all those maskless people hugging and hanging out indoors.
I’ve even wondered how I’ll explain to my two-year old-daughter that soon she’ll no longer have to chastise me when the mask falls below my nose.
If at the start of this pandemic I told you that this would become our reality, you probably wouldn’t have believed me. Nor did we imagine it would last this long.
The shift to this new normal was so profound, all-encompassing, and long-lasting. Unlearning certain behaviors — like grabbing a mask when walking out the door or keeping our distance — will undoubtedly bring challenges.