The new normal – Observations

It’s been awhile. I’ve been meaning to put something together for what seems like an eternity.

I thought I’d throw something together about how today’s pandemic has conditioned me to question day-to-day society.

Living in South Australia, I consider myself fortunate that I am not in a government enforced lockdown.

We are still living a considerably normal life here in and around Adelaide, for the moment at least anyway, in comparison to our neighbours in Victoria and New South Wales. 

Masks seem like they are here to stay for the foreseeable future and so too does checking in via QR codes upon entering a premises.

I almost feel like it would be weird to walk into a store without scanning my phone at this point.

Masks are certainly going to be an interesting prospect during summer and forty degree days, how will the elderly fare?

Regarding masks, I had an interesting experience about a month ago that really laid bare the stigma surrounding them.

More directly when you don’t have one on.

I parked in the local shopping centre to collect dinner, and without thinking hopped out of my car and walked (about 200 metres).

I thought nothing of it, but when I arrived at the store I was greeted with an unfriendly stare from customers.

They seemed almost incensed.

It quickly triggered to me that I had forgotten my mask, and without thinking I rushed back to the car in order to put it on.

You idiot. I thought.

Have you ever seen the film ‘Inception’? (Great film by the way, Christopher Nolan is God-tier).

There’s a moment when the main protagonist gets stared at by their own ‘subconscious’,  the subconscious is essentially random people that are in the person’s dream. They can be quite aggressive!

The subconscious abruptly stops talking and stares at the main character. That’s what it feels like when you are caught not wearing your mask in public.

I’m sure we’ve all forgotten our mask at times, and if not, how is it being so perfect?

I work in retail and the other day I had a customer tug her mask off and say “I’m sorry I’m taking this damn thing off, I hate it.”

I had no idea what to do.

I didn’t blame her, I hate mine too, but I almost felt like I was party to a crime, it’s unbelievable the way this virus has conditioned us to feel.

My latest example came yesterday when I was walking behind a gentleman heading into the grocery store.

I proceeded to watch him not check in. Straight away I was triggered.

This man is doing the wrong thing. I thought to myself.

It made me think of him negatively straight away just because he didn’t check in? He’s probably a nice guy.

Perhaps he’s got a lot on his mind? Perhaps he will do it at the checkout? Maybe he just forgot? And there I was internally criticising him.

I’m loving going for runs at the moment, it’s become almost a daily routine and I genuinely look forward to it – it’s meditative.

I regularly park in a shopping complex which is situated right next to the area I run through, it’s only a short 100-metre walk from the car to the running track.

As we know, when exercising you do not have to wear a mask, but every time I do that 100-metre walk to the running track, I feel an overwhelming sense of self-consciousness.

Are people wondering why I’m not wearing a mask? Do I look irresponsible? I almost feel like I need to tell everyone I pass. How ridiculous that I am questioning this?

I feel as though whenever someone coughs or sneezes in public now it is frowned upon so much more, regardless of whether or not there are active cases.

I guess my biggest query with this whole pandemic is whether or not we are just going to continue to adapt to this new normal?

Or are things potentially going to get more fractious as frustrations grow and time progresses?

Not knowing where this will end up is daunting.

Will I ever get to see the world? Will my kids grow up with this as their normal? By then, how much liberty will they have?

Perhaps we will be telling them stories about how the world used to be so different.

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