Quarantine Monday, May 18th 2020

The world is shifting back towards normal, though that new normal maybe something completely different.

40 years ago, today, Mt St Helens erupted. Oddly enough, I had forgotten that event, but let me tell you, I’ll never forget this pandemic.

It’s why I’m writing about it.

It’s why this matters to me (if no one else).

In our own sleepy, Canadian way, we’re pushing through an incredibly difficult time, and it’s to our credit that, for the most part, we’re all doing ok. We’re trying to find a way back to normal.

Some things are going in a good direction. Next week, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World will be able to get her hair cut. It’s like she’s won a lottery or has a day applying suntan lotion to The Rock – she’s super excited.

Next week, the boys will find out about attending school again, though in what capacity still seems up in the air. Neither boy actually hates the idea, but I’m a little apprehensive due to the lack of mitigation I see in the young kids these days (gosh, I sound old there, but whatever.)

For example, today, The-Youngest and I went to a mountain bike park. Not that I did any biking, good lord, no, (I was in charge of filming), but it was sunny and warm and bright, and we can do these things, again – albeit with restrictions.

I even met some people I knew. Automatically, I reached out to shake their hand then had to pull back and do an awkward fist-bump. I mean, I’m totally used to awkward (if there was an award, I would have a golden plaque and some sort of statue with its pants down) but now even the few social skills that I have are no longer used. It’s like I’m in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, didn’t read up on the culture, and I’m at least partially drunk.

The-Youngest had a blast at the park, however, even catapulting off of ramps into the air like he was being chased by scary clowns with razor-sharp teeth and chainsaws for hands.

But social distancing at the bike park was a challenge. The-Youngest did his best, but as it got busier and busier, more kids lined up to do the scary jumps, and when he left a 6’ gap, other kids crowded in like New Yorkers onto a subway train in rush hour.

The parents were nowhere to be seen, and clearly, social distancing meant nothing to the kids lining up.

Dr. Henry would have been appalled.

I think, though, that we desperately need to return to what we knew. I think it’s a human need. We like safety and security and normality, but we may not be able to get all three.

As for The-Oldest, he’s in love with movies that aren’t bound to traditional story-telling rules. So, today, we watched No Country For Old Men. I love most of that movie (especially the villain, ‎Anton Chigurh), but it’s one of those movies that makes me feel stupid. Like I want to say I know what happened and why it happened and what the dream meant at the end, but I don’t have a clue. Really. We watched the ending 3 times, and I still don’t know.

I guess I feel a lot like the sheriff who finds himself in a world he doesn’t quite understand. It feels like I’m in a cold fog and can only make out the misty version of a world I knew. Oh, I can put on a mask to go shopping, I can wipe down everything I touch, I can plan and worry, but that world that I grew up in was teetering on extinction before the pandemic, and now that extinction has been pushed into overdrive.

No more sneezing into the buffets. No more handshakes. No, how’re you doing, hugs and kisses. No playgrounds full of laughing children. No concerts where I complain about how loud the music is. No sitting in restaurants where I listen to other people’s conversations and secretly judge them. Nope, that’s all gone. And more.

I know it could be worse. We could be fending off raiders who want our gasoline or trying to shoot zombies in the head with crossbows while it’s raining acid, but the world is changing, that is for sure.

At least we get the hairdressers back.

But until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world.






About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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