The president promised that we would be back to normal by Easter. That was last year. Now it’s this year and that president is gone. The new president hasn’t made such a promise. He’s not that foolish. But here we are, one year on, and whatever we thought about returning to normal–whether it would be sooner rather than later–doesn’t matter. There will be no “return” to anything resembling “normal.”
I’ve ruminated on the concept of normal before–back to normal and Norming–and find myself continually returning to the word. Perhaps because the world seems obsessed with normalcy: creating a sense of it, returning to it, institutionalizing it. The elusive place of typicality. Where conditions are usual. Where everyone and everything are average.
What if no one died from the coronavirus, would that feel normal? Or if no one died from gunshots wounds received while shopping at King Sooper’s, working in a massage parlor, or driving along a highway, would that feel normal? Or if immigrants–illegal or not–received compassionate care, would that feel normal?
When I feel “normal” I often wonder what’s wrong with me. The world seems blunted and dull. I plug into my computer and play the working game. On time, in step, efficient, and organized. I stay calm; I complete my tasks; I forget to breathe.