Next to normal.
Today was a bizarre one for me in the ongoing world of being isolated and quarantined. It was my first day of official “staycation.” Sadly, at 4:30 p.m. yesterday my supervisor called me and told me he needed a document as soon as possible, no later than Tuesday. Really? What part of “vacation” did you miss?
So, sometime between now and Monday night I have to compile the information he needs despite the fact that it’s a holiday weekend and I am officially on vacation. That sucks. But at least I have a job – at the moment – so I will suck it up and do what I need to do. And rest assured, I will monitor the time and take it off later.
The weirdest part of my day, however, wasn’t something negative like having to work when I should be on vacation. It was a positive thing.
Today, a friend invited me over to her house to spend time with her and her husband enjoying wine tasting and dinner. This is the first social invitation I have received in over nine weeks, and the first time I actually spent social time with other people in that same time period.
I did not realize how bizarre this was until I was driving to their house and thought to myself, “When was the last time I did anything like this?” The answer was that the last time I had a social invitation was the third week of March, just after we were all told to quarantine ourselves. It has been nearly 55 days since the last time I actually drove to someone’s home and sat with them and ate a meal.
Tomorrow, one of my best friends is celebrating a 60th birthday. I am driving into Chicago to meet a mutual friend and we are going to their home to drop off gifts, then retreat to a distance, then text them to come down, then sing “Happy Birthday” from a distance. It’s all too weird and bizarre and dystopian for me to accept.
My experience tonight took me back to a near normal world. Tomorrow will remind me that we are in a bizarre non-normal world. I am so weary from this strange dichotomy.
I realize that we will never – never – be back to what we thought before was a “normal” existence. No matter how optimistic you are, you have to just accept that things are forever changed. But I also feel like we can move back to some semblance of what we had before. What I might term “next to normal.”
Tonight, I am praying that I can keep my basically optimistic frame of mind about this.
Next to normal is better than f’d up any day, right?
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.