Crawling Back to Normal

How about that? We are getting there, the return to our lives as we knew it pre-Rona. Little steps in some places, big giant ones in others. You may notice some have been rather impatient about this, most of those folks didn’t think it was real anyways, so they tend to be the loudest in their complaints. I am happy for them that this pandemic didn’t touch them personally, that would have been a big hit to their ego.

I got vaccinated, been about a month since my last dose, and other than being super goofy the second day, I didn’t really have any issues, thankfully. I didn’t put the thing around my profile picture, or any of the other stuff, but it’s done. I didn’t hunker down during the pandemic the way some did, mostly because I couldn’t. I had to work, I had to keep moving because my whole world is just me and Zelda, and she is not overly employable. The weirdness of the whole time kind of hangs over me like a fog. It’s been an adjustment getting back to normal, because my normal is gone.

I miss the restaurant. So much. The people I worked with, the guests, the whole casual atmosphere that isn’t really casual at all, but it felt that way to me. It was comfortable, and it was my whole life. I had to adapt with the pandemic, and that transitioned me into an office. Fish out of water, but I am making it. I am thankful for the opportunity and the benefits I now have that don’t exist in the locally owned restaurant. My new normal. I think about the service industry, I think about a return, but I don’t know that I can, at least not at the moment. People have changed. I hear some pretty awful stories from my friends still in it. I know MY people haven’t changed, but a lot of people are impatient now, more than is fair. We all waited more than a year for the all clear whistle, not just you. The masks are still required some places, is isn’t that bad. But people are still throwing tantrums about it like it’s new. Grow up, that is all I want to say to that. You aren’t that special. I don’t miss those people, because if that is how they are about something small, imagine if they don’t get their lemon in their hot water. No thank you.

I mentioned this a few weeks back, but it bears repeating. Be patient with establishments right now. They are having trouble finding staff. It isn’t everyone is sitting around on unemployment milking benefits like you think. A lot of them left the industry. They had to, to survive. Unemployment benefits aren’t that great, from service industry standards. And why rush back to an industry that doesn’t offer paid time off, insurance, 401k plans, or even full time hours? Rush back for minimum wage? The fast food places too, that are only open in the drive thru? Not enough staff to open the dining areas, because they can’t keep it clean and stocked to the standard of the company. Some of these things are going to linger for a while. That’s why it’s a crawl back to normal, not a sprint. Please be patient, please.

I went to the grocery store, and didn’t wear a mask, since I am considered fully vaccinated. It was later in the evening, so there weren’t that many people around anyway. Some employees were still masking, some were not. If felt weird, good and anxious yet normal. I found myself looking at everyone, and giving out a lot of smiles, because I could. I was always smiling behind that mask, my eyes can always convey my smile anyway, so people knew. But it was good to get a smile back here and there. I would have gladly worn the mask if they were requiring it yet, because it isn’t a hardship to do so. But it was nice to have the option. We are getting there.

So much has changed, and the 15 months or so that we have been through so far has drawn some lines, changed some opinions. I think some people grew through this, and some reverted back to some very immature ways. That is life, we change, evolve, digress, lunge ahead, or fall behind. But to emerge from this is a gift, not everyone did. People got sick, some people died, lost loved ones and are forever changed by this experience. I feel lucky to have gotten through this far, in life and through the pandemic. It took forever and it went by so fast. Your perspective is yours, and I don’t take anything away from what you felt, I am just happy to be crawling with all of you. Be well, stay well, and keep looking for forward progress.

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