The New Normal?

I’ve been a full-time remote employee for my day job for the past 3 years so. My career job before that was 20% work from home. I was there for about 5 years before getting downsized. So I consider myself an experienced consultant in matters of remote working. However, this isn’t just switching everyone at an office desk to a desk in their house.

This is more than that. This year my children didn’t even get grades for the 4th quarter and they graduated based on the first three quarters. Remote schooling with a kindergartener is no fun for the now-stuck-at-home volunteer-mom (or so I’m told). The ADHD 5th grader sat in my office so he could be closely monitored to stay on task. At this point, it is still unclear what will happen in August when the school years typically begin. I’m not holding my breath for a miraculous vaccine.

I hate the new normal. I miss my friends, I miss hanging out and playing games. I miss seeing them somewhere else than on a screen. This new normal is terrible. It is one thing for me to already be a work-from-home person, but to be quarantined/locked-down/stay-at-home is torture. Sitting down at the local eatery and laughing it up while somebody sees how many condiment bottles they stack up is what we need to be doing right now. Playing frisbee in the park. Taking a group vacation. I had one already planned out for thirty of us too, thanks corona!

We don’t need to be hoarding toilet paper or paper towels. We do need to buy a steak, and we need more than a weekly email and a Chromebook to give our kids the education they deserve. We need people to follow the guidance from the one government agency whose job it is to identify and protect the population. Seriously, people, I know that it doesn’t filter the virus itself, but if everyone wore one it would reduce airborne water droplets which are a transmission vector last I checked. Put your mask on and slow the spread: “lower the curve”.

Things have changed so drastically and the pandemic isn’t showing any signs of stopping soon, this could very well represent a shift in our whole society. I’ve read articles advocating for a smaller more boutique-style meat industry to be more resilient to these systemic problems. If you asked me that would be the better way to go. In temperate regions like the midwest and south, a person could feed his family with fruit and vegetables grown in their back yards, and bought from the local farmer’s market.

But let’s face it, putting a greenhouse or a large vegetable garden in a small suburban plot isn’t about to happen. If we’re going to be homeschooling our kids, and doing all our office work from home, then where exactly are we going to find the time to tend to the tomatoes and peppers. If we’re a contractor glutted with jobs because everyone is no longer happy with what they have, how will you have the energy to prune the basil and check the carrots.

So what is the new normal going to be? Will it be this? Will it be a new era of caution and distance. Neither one sounds all that appealing to me. However, one thing is for certain by the end of this pandemic when we finally feel confident to lift stay-at-home for everyone the world will be a different place. So pencil in your calendars: January 2022, “New PPE”. Which either means ‘personal protective equipment’ or ‘post-pandemic era’. Your choice.

Author: Phillip

Phillip is a dad of three boys married to a beautiful dedicated woman. An aspiring artist and science fiction author. He has been an IT professional for the past 15 years. He is currently working on a full-length sci-fi novel, but he also makes small drawings/watercolors for his school-age son's lunchbox and occasionally pretends to be a comedian. He also still struggles with putting two spaces at the end of sentences.