It is no secret that everything is so weird and different than it was at the beginning of the year. Yeah, this year started with bad news and has continually packed it on and surprised us, but everything was at least still a little bit normal…. but then Corona happened. A global-wide pandemic is not something I ever thought I would live through, but here we are. If I’m going to be honest, my expectations were not really met. I was thinking more along the lines of zombies, nuclear deformations, and burning bodies. Regardless of the actual dramatics of our real-life pandemic, lives have been lost and changed seemingly forever. Even though 9 months is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, it has been an excessive amount of time for seemingly everything to change.
When there wasn’t a virtual class to attend, I was either reading, staring into the abyss, or watching a movie. During that time, social distancing was heavily encouraged, and there was a mask mandate for several places if you went in public. After a while, it became normal to not touch or stand close to someone in public, and wearing a mask is expected. Watching movies and TV shows that don’t involve the pandemic and enforce social distancing and mask protocols have become really strange. I will go ahead and say that the pandemic has ruined watching movies as a way to escape. I can’t even watch an episode of “The Office” without thinking about how many social distancing protocols they are breaking and how disgusting it is for them to be talking to each other without masks. I can’t even say, at this point, if this is something that will ever change back to normal for me.
Before the pandemic, coming to work or going to school with the sniffles was a normal thing. Teachers or employers would not excuse you from your responsibility unless you were able to go to the doctor and get an excuse. I have always thought that was silly because sometimes you know you just have a head cold and don’t need to spend money on a doctor’s visit, and you want to stay home. I salute and respect people who stayed home regardless because they didn’t want to risk infecting other people because that’s how I think it should be. Now that Corona is happening, I think a lot of people feel the same way. Now, people are encouraging others to stay home and away from people if they have the slightest sniffle or upset stomach in an attempt to reduce unnecessary exposure to the virus. I think this will probably stay like this for a while since everyone is noticing how easy it can be to catch up and how much more important someone’s life and well-being are compared to their job or schoolwork.
If I am going to be honest, even before all of this mess I wasn’t much of a physical touch person. The idea of shaking hands with random strangers and other little physical interactions with people just were not my cup of tea. If I were given a choice, I would choose the polite (and possibly enthusiastic) wave for my social greeting. Now, thanks to Covid-19, I may forever be free from simple expected physical touch! I hate how people just now wanted to think about how nasty it is during a global pandemic instead of before not only is it a little nasty, but some people genuinely do not like physical touch. It is an overwhelming and unwelcome breach of personal space.
I didn’t think about this before since I have had a total of three snow days in my lifetime, but someone pointed out that there will probably never be any more snow days after this. For college students or working adults, there probably never going to be any ‘snow days’ regardless of the pandemic, but for elementary and high-school students, this is kinda a big deal. Even though I never really had snow days, I did have a lot of ‘bad weather days’ where the backroads would flood after a long night of rain so the busses weren’t able to pick up students. I remember waking up and going to my parents’ room to watch the news and wait to see our parish name glide across the bottom of the screen for “SCHOOL CLOSURES.” The feeling was like none other and the joy of an unexpected day off was immaculate. But now that we have had a societal technological movement, teachers will probably not miss an opportunity to hold ZOOM classes regardless of the snow that is falling outside. I will say that this is one thing that is ruined because of the pandemic and will probably never recover.
Although I am sad that there has been care-free energy that has been stolen from us by this plague, I do think some things are for the better. I know people are making jokes about “when this is all over, please continue to stay six feet away from me,” but I think it is fairly true. This is an opportunity for us to practice more social, physical, and healthful awareness and to better prevent any more pandemics from happening. Yes, when this is done, please do not randomly touch me, please do not stand too close to me, please do not go around me when you are sick. Things are changed for us as a global society and intimate community, but that does not mean things are ruined.