My province has been set free! Well… sort of free. The Health regulations that have been put in place to protect us from ourselves, are being ever so slightly relaxed in my region. Canada is still struggling in some regions and they have not been set free like me yet, but across the country a general economic re-opening is being planned and executed. Around the world, other countries are making the same types of plans and doing the same types of things as Canada. They all need to get their economic behemoth, the one that has ground to a halt, going again. Because the only thing worse than dying, is being broke!
I understand that many people are nervous about the actions being taken by their local governments to lift restrictions. Most of us have an opinion, depending on your personal situation, as too how and when this should occur. Truth is, what most of us think is irrelevant. We are not in charge, the people we voted for in the last election are. They are making the decisions for the general population, both the paranoid, and covidiots. It’s what we pay them for.
I have heard many differing views as to whether relaxing restrictions at this moment is a good idea. Everything from “way overdue” and “it’s a hoax” to “if done with caution”, and “We’re all going to die!!!” There are lots of different opinions. Which one is right? I can’t say, my magic 8-ball is broken. What I can say with certainty though, is that every single person in the world, currently has their own degree of worry.
I have a certain amount of empathy for all of you, whether I personally agree with your stance or not. This has got to be the suck-iest thing any of us have ever had to do! I don’t care whether you’ve been cooped up inside or been a frontline worker… this has really sucked!! Illness and job-loss, stress and fatigue, fear and anxiety, we’re surrounded by it day and night. I can understand that we all have something to worry about. Our situations are all different at this moment, so stepping out the door after two-months can be difficult for some and imperative for others. But worry is worry, like the virus itself, it can be mild or severe.
As someone who has been out throughout this event, I’ve been witnessing the changes. I have seen the evolution of the ‘new normal’ in real time. I have watched as business and government have developed protocols, procedures and policies. I have changed my daily routine to accommodate these new rules. For those of you that may not have left your homes in the last eight weeks… You’re in for a treat!
Pedestrian travel is a whole new experience. You’ve already seen the markers going up at the grocers, directional arrows and spacing lines at registers. Lines of people waiting to enter retail outlets, whether in person or on the news. That’s just the tip of the ‘iceberg’!! Just think what elevators are going to be like! What about traffic intersections? Or the entrance to the Zoo?? The “movement of the people”, has taken on a whole new meaning! Get ready to spend your life in line.
You may be thinking that it hasn’t been that bad so far. But what will happen when we return to work and our available time to shop, shrinks? When we can’t just go and grab a quick bite for lunch on a whim? How will you feel at that point? How are you going to feel the first time someone jumps the line or invades your personal space??!! What will you do when the person beside you doesn’t have the same degree of worry as you do? How will you react?
I can see there being trouble that will top any Black Friday on record! Especially in countries where they carry guns openly! You have no way of knowing just how worried the person near you is or if they’re packing! They could be ‘super-paranoid’ or ‘totally unconcerned’ and I don’t know who’s the most dangerous!! I envision seeing a headline reporting; ‘Man shot cutting in line at grocery store’. The story will be about some frail senior whipping out a Glock and shooting some redneck trucker at the ‘Piggly-Wiggly’. “I’d been waiting here an hour to get my lotto ticket,” Margret Tossum told media. “He stepped in front of me and was far to close!” The ‘new norm’ is going to include lots of adventure.
As governments relax their ‘lockdown’ restrictions, and start re-opening businesses, they are doing so using health guidelines. My neighbour says that, “We’ll do the social-distancing and the hand-washing. All tremendous things.” The Canadian Prime Minister is saying the same thing, but in complete sentences and in two languages. The neighbour hasn’t conquered one yet! (Someone should slap his grade-school grammar teacher for the way he structures sentences.)
As much as the governments want to say that ‘pedestrian’ movement and guidelines are the meaning of the ‘new norm’, I think they are missing something. I believe that the ‘new norm’ will not be simply defined by lines and arrows, but by how we react to those lines and arrows. Inevitably, you and I will decide what the ‘new norm’ is. I believe our conduct, as we venture forth and try to resume some kind of life, will define the ‘new norm’. Our degree of worry will motivate us at the beginning but as time passes life will evolve as it always has and the ‘new norm’ will become just ‘norm’.