Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The ‘New Normal’ Feels Pretty Abnormal

More thoughts about our “new normal”:
  • My personal motto has always been: “I can handle any surprise, as long as I know about it in advance.” In other words, I’m not very fond of uncertainty. To give you an idea, I love going on vacation to the same place twice, because the second time around I can relax since everything is no longer stressfully unfamiliar. Obviously, I’m not bragging. I really wish I could relax and enjoy the adventure of not knowing what will happen. But the fact is, uncertainty makes me a stress-mess. So, not surprisingly, this coronavirus crisis is causing me to lose a lot of sleep. Also, when I’m nervous I engage in mindless eating.
  • Since the pandemic altered our way of life in early March, my first thought upon waking up each morning has been, “Is this real, or did I just have a weird dream?” A moment later, I realize it’s no dream. And then I reach for some Pop Tarts.
  • I’m also hoping some new social norms will develop when this crisis is over. Now that I’ve reached the Felix Unger level of paranoia regarding hand-shaking, I don’t want to do that anymore, even when this particular virus is gone. Fist bumping is too casual and elbow bumping is awkward. I think we should go with the Japanese bow. That would be a cool way to greet people and avoid touching their germ-infested paws. Also, if we dial back the relentless hugging, that would be nice.
  • I’m seeing a lot of skunks. That is, folks who haven’t been able to get their hair colored because the hair salons were some of the first businesses to be closed. Now those gray roots are really noticeable, even at “social distancing” distances. Besides protective face masks, baseball hats have become the latest fashion trend.
  • There’s a fear of having a non-corona medical situation, because we don’t want to go anywhere near a hospital or doctor’s office right now, because that’s where all the germs hang out. My sister broke her ankle in early April, and my first thought was not about the broken bone in her leg, it was instead, “Oh no, she has to go to a hospital. I hope she can hold her breath for a few hours.” I’ve got a tooth that’s been bothering me for the past few weeks, but I refuse to make an appointment with the dentist. Luckily, I’ve got some Sears Craftsman pliers in the basement.
  • No one wants to be a “senior” these days. That goes for we senior citizens, because the virus hits us much harder, and it also goes for young seniors, those students in their senior year of high school or college. They don’t get to enjoy their final semester at school and no graduation ceremonies. If I were a senior in college, I would not graduate “online” and instead would choose to go back to school for one more year. Of course, this would require my Fairy Godmother to drop a duffel bag full of hundred-dollar bills into my lap. But the way the government is reacting to this crisis by spending money faster than they can print it (which I’m sure will work out well in the long run), maybe some “Senior Do-over Financial Aid” will be available.
  • It’s an odd feeling to drive on I-84 in Hartford at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, and be traveling at 65 mph. Normally, it’s more like 6.5 mph. But now the highway is a ghost town. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I long for the good ol’ days of traffic jams.
God bless, and be safe. And cut back on the Pop Tarts.

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