Weird Scenes from “After” A Pandemic
Oh, the Humanity!
I’ll just paint a picture, based on real scenes, without judgement.
Pregnant bellies are everywhere.
Smiles abound. But … it’s complicated.
A nicely dressed woman stumbles out of a bar and collapses on the sidewalk. Her friends rush to help her as she gets back up laughing uproariously.
Restaurants can’t find enough people to serve the throngs of the newly liberated people from couches and Zoom.
What used to be in scarcity is now in overabundance: toilet paper spilling out of the aisles, hand sanitizers of all colors and scents, rubber gloves … and of course, a variety of whimsical masks for every personality type.
People greet me, but in some cases I’m not sure who they are. I must have met them just before the pandemic, and now there’s been more quarantine-time than acquaintance-time. Who are you? I think as I remain cordial.
During the worst days of the pandemic in America, when the USA led the world in deaths, we got to know our neighbors (even if they remained socially distanced). We hung out and learned a lot about them. But now, it’s back to: Where the hell are our neighbors?
People who don’t want the vaccine are generally more weary of the variants. I got the vaccine and feel fine, like my immune system learned to dance the Corona.
Of course, Corona beer is back in the “lime” light.
Concerts are back too, but with ridiculously high ticket prices, a little annoying but demand is understandably high.
About the masks…
There are still masks, recommended to the unvaccinated.
The most prominent form of litter is the discarded mask.
One bar offers a free beer for everybody who throws their mask into a bucket.
For some though, the masks go deeper, and they have no plans to lose them. Maybe they like the anonymity, or the warmth they bring the face. One woman told me she likes how they remove the need for lipstick! Another said she can laugh at people without them knowing. Some just like the extra layer of safety from variants and viruses in general.
Others have found new uses for all the extra masks. Someone pulls up to me in their car to say hi. They reach for a mask, but instead of putting it on, they use it to wipe the dust off the dashboard.
People sneeze, cough, blow their nose and sing near one another again … and nobody runs away fearing an airborne intruder. It’s just life again. Germs are part of life. From my experience, it’s more about having a strong immune system than trying to avoid every malignant particle.
Dancing in the Streets (and Crying, and Making Out)
A shirtless young man shows up in the middle of downtown, puts a boombox on top of a car and blasts rap music that saturates several city blocks. Most people are digging the sudden lift in the air.
Others, not so much. After the lyrics start dropping F bombs, the police soon show up. But you can tell by the policeman’s demeanor, they “get it.” People are trying to make up for lost time, lost fun. Everyone’s “okay” and the officer and young man seem to get along. Wow.
A distinguished looking young man with a mohawk steps out from a crowd, suddenly a woman runs up to a him and embraces him as if he just returned from war. Tears flow down her face as she sobs uncontrollably, hugging him tightly amid a sea of strangers.
A couple makes out ravenously on a busy sidewalk, most try to give them privacy by looking the other way but one old man can’t help but stop and stare lustfully.
People who found peace alone are suddenly thrown back into the crowds and the same old social awkwardness returns. Or even worse, aggression. Old enemies resurface, fighting ensues.
Perhaps some were truly better left alone? No, I don’t believe that. We need each other. We need the fusion, the synergy, the tension and conflict, the love and loss, the joy and life lessons that only come from when we are together.
- The quotes around the word “After” in the Headline are there because the pandemic isn’t truly over yet.