29 / 01 / 2021
the new normal!
So… we have once again entered the realm of working in our trackies, socialising in our trackies, homeschooling in our trackies, sourdough baking in our trackies, buying trackies online in our trackies… you get the gist.
I think we can all understand the lay of the land and are happy to do our bit in the fight to quell the pandemic. For the most part we’re all getting excited at the prospect of things changing – incrementally at first – and the thought of returning to something more closely resembling normal soon.
But between now and normal is a long journey, and I, for one, am fascinated by what this limbo will look like. Will we emerge from the darkness of this winter lockdown with a dystopian two-tier society? The vaccinated and the ‘unclean’? Will my mum and dad – who should receive their jabs before the spring – be able to book holidays and visit restaurants as it suits them? Will they be able to walk around town free of face masks, brazenly leaving their hands unsanitised as they nip to the shops, deliberately coughing in people’s faces as they share charcuterie boards and play monopoly while singing loudly at the pub? While we remain closed up indoors, fighting over the last squares of toilet paper and ferreting dried pasta under our mattresses?
And what about the kids – the so-called superspreaders? Children under 16 are not scheduled to receive the vaccine as yet, but they seem to be particularly susceptible to this latest incarnation of the virus, and all-too-competent at passing it on. So, what is in their future? Must they stay locked up forever? (Please say it isn’t so… two weeks into this year’s homeschooling and I’m seriously considering seeing what I can get for all three of them. Will happily exchange for a box of penne and a multi-pack of Andrex.)
When will my parents be able to see their beloved grandchildren again? (I say that like it’s all about what they want, but actually I’m asking when will I be able to get rid of these monsters for a few days so I can catch up on some sleep/adulting.) If my parents are vaccinated and my children unlikely to experience symptoms, can we throw them in together for a half term and just see what happens?!
The most devastating thought in all of this is that the monster post-pandemic party that I have been planning (thoughts of which have got me through some of my darkest hours this past year) may not happen the way I imagined it might. We won’t all become free to wander the streets, visit each other’s homes or head to the pub together on the same day. It’s going to be a long, drawn-out process until our new normal emerges. It will probably happen so incrementally that we’re not really aware of it.
But one day, we’ll be sitting in a pub garden with all our friends, laughing as the kids run riot around the tables, sharing bowls of chips, and it’ll suddenly dawn on us, that we’re there. We’re back. I can’t wait.