A whole new world, the abnormal version

It’s Day 37 of my hibernation, Day 32 of the semi-lockdown, and I still can’t believe how the world has practically ground to a fullstop in the blink of an eye and how life, as we know it, will never be the same again. These days, everybody’s talking about the new… heck, I swear if I see the words ‘new normal’ one more time, I’ll smash this peanut into the wall… oh wait, what am I saying? I’m not a violent person and um, I don’t even eat peanuts *shakes head* !!

Right, so let’s see, what’s with this new normal when we’ll essentially be doing stuff in completely different ways from how we’ve always done them? Shaking hands, for instance, used to be normal but now it’s a thing of the past. Now we’ll have to instantly remind ourselves to retract our hands and reposition them into an alternative form of greeting, and that is going to feel acutely abnormal to those of us who instinctively stick out our hand.

Then there’s physical distancing which, no matter how you look at it, is not going to feel normal any time soon. Standing 6-15 feet away from other people will definitely not be normal and will take a lot of getting used to, even for someone like me who has long sought to distance myself from people with no concept of personal space. There goes Sting’s song playing on loop inside my head.

Then of course, there’s the question of whether it’s even possible to maintain that distance from the next person when supermarket aisles are only this wide. And I foresee that distancing is going to be next to impossible for those lovely folks who think nothing of body-slamming and plastering themselves onto your back, scraping their butts against yours as they insist on pushing their way through every spare inch of space, and putting their chin on your shoulder to gawk at what’s on your phone screen. So good luck to us!

Then there are all this other stuff like being stuck at home waiting out this pandemic for goodness knows how much longer, having to order and have groceries delivered to your doorstep (there goes the joy of loitering around the supermarket!), not being able to visit or be with loved ones. And now, even doing the most basic and mundane of things could potentially involve life-and-death decisions. None of this is normal.

So no, I don’t believe any of this is going to be the new normal anytime soon simply because none of this is normal. This is not how you normally behaved before, neither will it be normal to do them the way we have to now. So I’ll call them new practices instead. New and alternative ways of doing stuff whether it’s at work, in business or daily life, or whatever. Changes we’ll have to make and adapt to until a vaccine or drug becomes available, even as scientists continue to learn new things every day about the behavior and nature of this nasty little virus.

Everything’s changing whether we like it or not, nothing stays the same, this is life. And life in a pandemic of this scale is like nothing we could’ve ever imagined just a few weeks ago and it’s going to take time and a ton of innovation and re-adapting for things to even begin to return to normalcy *sigh*. That said, in theory, at least, abnormal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all bad though.

Not having to shake hands, for instance, is something of a longtime dream come true for me. In my days as a suit, I often had to attend seminars and tech shows, travel and manage project teams, and had people come see me at my office. Imagine how many hands I had to shake! I hated it… ya know, cold clammy hands, jellyfish handshakes – glad that’s over 😛 .

And with that, be sure to stay home and wear a mask if you really have to go out. My prayers go out to those whose lives have been impacted in even the smallest of ways by this pandemic. And especially to those selfless people putting their own lives on the line to save others, and to the scientists and medical experts racing to find a vaccine or drug, the world cannot thank you enough. Stay safe!