What If Things Don't Go Back to Normal?

James Titchener / @mistertitchener

We're now months into "lockdown" and there's little sign of things changing soon. Anecdotally, I'm noticing more people in San Francisco wearing masks, but I don't know what the rest of the country is doing. And even in one of the libtard capitals of the world, there's a lot of people in SF (mostly young) that seem to be getting together in groups, inside and out.

It seems that we're tired of this shit and have thrown our hands up with the whole social distancing thing. Meanwhile the case numbers and deaths in America continue to climb.

Our remaining hope seems to be the ever-looming vaccine. I just wonder if we haven't put all our eggs in a basket with a hole in the bottom.

Vaccines are not guaranteed to materialize. We're going on 40 years without a vaccine for AIDS. And vaccines are not guaranteed to be effective until the end of time. Corona could mutate, and then we're back to square one.

For a number of cultural, political, and structural reasons, America has proven to be grossly ill-suited to dealing with a pandemic. When the virus began spreading, I was frankly pretty pessimistic about our ability to deal with this. Especially since this was a crisis that required decisive and sound leadership from our government. But some cities and states were relatively quick to shut down businesses and encourage people to stay indoors. Cases and deaths seemed to flatline and go down in some areas. But we got cocky.

Economies have faltered, jobs have disappeared, and people fatigued. Bars and restaurants began opening up again, and we got sucked back into old habits. Despite cases climbing, we haven't yet pulled the brakes again, aside from some adding masks to our daily routines.

Now there's kids going back to school. And massive universities with plans to hold classes in-person. I think a combination of financial pressure and delusion has removed sense making from the repertoire of our school's administration. If it was ever there to begin with.

In March, April, and May, I'd often hear friends offer up fun plans to be made in a couple months. "Yeah! We should totally do that once things get back to norma!" I'm not hearing this as much lately.

What if normal is gone? This virus will linger without drastic measures, and it may linger in spite of them. What would or should life look like in a world (or at least a country) where widespread airborne viruses is the new norm?

To start, I think social circles will and probably should get smaller. At least the circle that you're coming in physical contact with. And even these interactions should be limited to outdoor gatherings with masks on.

I think we have to learn to embrace online-first. For work, socializing, dating, and everything in between. The reality is, the current tools don't substitute face-to-face and physical interaction. Maybe it never fully will, but these tools can be improved upon. I think too that we can learn how to use these tools in a ways that serve us. I frankly kind of hate socializing through online platforms. I get self-conscious about my likes or lack-thereof. I find my ego implicitly judging others as a means of protecting my imagined status.

I say all of this to make the point that despite the structure and algorithms of these tools that play negatively upon our monkey minds, I hold out hope that I and we can learn to find net positive value from them. And I'm coming to terms with the reality that if I want to have a social life at all, I'd better learn quickly.

I'm still not signing up for Tinder though.

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