The new everything

A phrase being bandied about (I like that word – bandied) is “the new normal”. Normalcy refers to the commonplace. The most familiar and typical – what’s expected. In that way, normality is a function of exposure. The more masks people see others wearing, the more normal that becomes. Distancing socially, while it’s likely to remain common for a while, it won’t be normal. Most people in this country crave physical contact, and the distance creates a longing that will find its way to being sated… eventually.

In all of it, though, it mostly refers to habits. Habits that have been created over the course of a very long pandemic. And even public health crises, if viewed through the scope of a long historical lens, recurs enough that each individual outbreak is enough to be normal. So maybe all this newness refers less to the crisis, any crisis, and more to our understanding of it and response to it.

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