We have worked so hard on our changed routine this past year and a half that having to change it again fills me with an unnamed dread.
I have got used to the new normal – no shaving, no wearing anything longer than shorts, no shirts without a ‘T’ in them, no cutting hair till the neighbours begin to complain, no driving anywhere, no weddings, no last-minute gift-buying. It has taken 18 months, but, as Prof Higgins almost sang in My Fair Lady, I have grown accustomed to the face of this new normal.
And now I am told there is going to be a newer normal. The new normal is old now and on its last legs, and we should prepare for the new new normal. We have to unlearn everything we were forced to teach ourselves, like working from home, and relearn the stuff we have forgotten, like greeting people and ordering pizzas.
I believe there are classes (online) being conducted to help us get back to where we were before all this began. In this phase, I will have to get ready to meet people, eat in restaurants, take walks in parks, complain about the pandemic to people I am meeting for the first time, and maybe even travel. It’s like the first day at school multiplied many times.
I remember my little daughter coming home from school and crying because her teacher was confusing her. Yesterday she said that three plus two is five, today she is saying that four plus one is five. Which is it? Can’t she make up her mind? OK, so I made up that story, but you get the idea.
This is, in fact, a commentary on life. Just as you get used to something, along comes something else and you’ve got to start all over again. Just as you get comfortable with your goals, there’s someone who takes joy in shifting the goalposts.
We can tell ourselves that since we are now 18 months older, we can choose the best from the various recent normals we have lived through, new, old, newer, whatever, and construct a life that works for us. For instance, I can continue working from home while ignoring all wedding invitations, not drive at all, and keep away from people I once suffered but don’t have to any more.
Or I can jettison the new normal, and replace it with the old normal, which included doing things I didn’t look forward to. Or shift to a new city and restart life under a new name and a whole new set of characteristics.
On second thoughts, I think I’ll simply party like heck to make up for lost time.