I’m still struggling to adapt to the “new normal” out here in Vermont. We’re well past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s becoming more apparent that our society and community have been fundamentally changed. I’m trying to remember that there are both good and bad changes that will come out of this, and that much is still to be determined. Also, to be grateful for my friends and family and community, and for people’s amazing ability to carry on and find a way to get things done no matter what.
I’m not really sure where we’re at in the fight. I stopped reading the news a while ago, in an effort to focus more on my life and the things that I can actually change or do. My impression is that we’re stuck in limbo. At first we had a cause: “Flatten the Curve!”. Now that hospitals are virtually empty, I’m not so sure what our motto is. “Make it Last!”, “Try Not to Touch Anybody”, or “Social Distancing 4 Life!” come to mind. On the other hand, I think lots of people are just plain tired of the whole thing: “I’m over it!” might be more fitting. I can’t quite get to this state, because even out here in Vermont, where we surely would’ve had absolutely no idea that there was a pandemic were it not for the news, things have changed. I’m not happy about the changes. I don’t like the feeling that the goalposts are being moved on us, seemingly to maintain a perpetual state of fear and social distancing.
I recently had a conversation with my good friend Gabe, who’s working hard out in Scotland to support refugees through the pandemic. He’s upset at all the people who are questioning public health authorities right now, believing that the way forward is through a unified response, and not through everybody forming their own opinions about what’s going on or how best to deal with the pandemic. He didn’t come out and say it—bless him—but I can tell that he thinks my questions and doubts are a part of the problem. While I haven’t broken protocol, thrown secret parties, or tried to get super close to people, I’m definitely still not “on board” with this virus. Why not? Am I just being contrary? Is this like in middle school when I made fun of Jack Johnson’s music just because it was popular?