There are still big things, the things that are still a bit of a jolt when they happen.
Like having to sign up for a time to go to the museum.
Like being in a museum for the first time since … since … since …? <<Tries to shuffle files in brain from the Before Times, finds nothing.>>
And then there are reminders of the times we live in, and while they’re noticeable, they don’t seem out of the ordinary.
There are signs at doors to buildings saying to wear masks and keep six feet apart.
Outside, if people aren’t always wearing their masks, anyway, they’re putting them on when people approach, giving wide berths, or both.
Even the divider splitting the picnic table in the outdoor seating at the pub — three cheers to 70-degree temperatures in November! — elicits an “OK, that’s what they’re doing” before getting to the business of figuring out lunch.
Paradoxically, the things that struck me the most were the most subtle.
The bottle of hand sanitizer not in a prime spot at the front desk, like it might have been six months ago, but off to the side. Even though the masks everyone was wearing were more important, I still gave it a couple pumps.
The museum employee, clearly looking for something to do, who followed us — the only visitors at the time — everywhere we went.
Yes, I noticed. Sure, I’m a sucker for any good winter scene that I’m not in, but it’s not like I was going to pilfer Jeff Weaver’s “City in Winter.” Thomas Crown, I am not.
And then there were the capacity limits — 10 in one gallery, four in another, three in another, two in the smallest. In light blue paint on white walls and somewhere below hip-high for a person my size, they were easy enough to miss.
The whole experience felt like “this is where we are” — like the virus is so ingrained in our lives, even if we’ve been lucky enough not to have experienced it ourselves or among our loved ones, things are being done that no longer seem unusual, and we may not even see them.
Although, given how things are going, maybe we ought to be paying more heed.
4 thoughts on “When stuff becomes ‘normal’”
It is strange how we’ve transitioned to seeing things that a year ago were unthinkable as almost normal. Let’s hope some sort of “more normal” returns soon.
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