28 Apr What is … Normal?
The latest catchphrase, due to COVID19, is the new norm. But what, exactly, does it mean? Obviously, I know it means ‘the new normal’; I’m just not entirely sure what ‘normal’ is.
I’ve never been ‘normal’ and, at this late stage in my life, doubt I’ll ever be. I actually detest the word, and put it in the category with that other non-descript word … nice. It’s the word you use when you can’t think of anything else to say; especially something positive! Generally, along the lines of “Your hair looks nice” rather than “A local magpie looks like it’s taken residence on your head!” I think you understand what I’m, ineptly, trying to say. Anyway … back to normal, as much as we can. The actual definition is “the usual, expected or that which is typical.” I didn’t realise that life was in anyway typical, and certainly not usual, prior to this pandemic so it will be very interesting to see what the outcome is once life settles into its next phase of development!
During this isolation period we have all learned a whole different way of life. Most grandparents have been separated from their beloved grandchildren, children have been separated from their friends but lots of parents, who would love to be separated from their spouses, find themselves in the unenviable position of actually being stuck with them 24/7! And they’re praying, with a renewed faith in a higher power, this isn’t going to be ‘the new norm’! Otherwise there’s likely to be a spike in the death rate, and more spaces required in prisons is going to be another ‘new norm’. Either that, or divorce lawyers will be reaping the benefits of this enforced confinement.
However, I don’t want my new normal to be without my nail and beauty salons; I’m only just surviving without my regular sessions, and I’m pretty sure P-i-C concurs with that sentiment. It has now been nearly six weeks since my last waxing and, to put it nicely, I have lots of hair on parts of my body that are usually silky smooth. Let’s just say I won’t be seen in a pair of bathers until after my local salon is open again. I’ll jostle with the other hirsute women to be first in line; we’ll probably fight to the death as our desperation for waxing causes our usually meek and mild ways to fly out the window. And we won’t mention the eyebrows as we’re all looking too much like Tony Galati or John Howard for my liking! I’m also trying to calculate how often in the last twenty years I’ve been without acrylic nails. In all honesty, I think it would be less than once a year. Even during my recent hospital stint (and operation) I was able to keep my sculptured nails … thank goodness for small mercies. Now, however, I feel naked without them and it’s quite depressing not knowing when I’ll hear those magic words again, “Yu wan nail? Pick cullahhhh.”
And, as much as I love and adore my six-year-old granddaughter, I’m waiting for schools to re-open … safely, and for her usual weekend visits with us every three weeks or so! I’ve been home-schooling her since week 7 last term, and had her during the holidays, as her mother is an essential worker. Enough said! You think I would be used to it, being a teacher (even though I was only doing relief work), but a class full of special needs children somehow seems a lot easier! I’m not fully supportive of them re-opening this week, however my bank manager thinks it’s probably a very good move!
As do I, after getting onto MyGov. The first task I had to do was to link Centrelink to it, providing the necessary documentation to attest I am me, even with a few name changes! Fortunately, I’m quite OCD about filing essential documents, and even have my two marriage certificates and Decree Nicis. Boy, have they been useful over the years; more so after the fact than during the marriages however! After that, it was three lost hours I’ll never get back, (in more ways than one) trying to fill out the JobSeeker application. I’m hoping to recoup some of my stolen taxes in the form of assistance for the weeks my mobile has been silent (and possibly will be for a while yet) when no desperate principals or harassed registrars have pleaded down the line, “Are you free?” Which I’ve always taken as ‘Am I available?’ rather than ‘We want you to work for nothing!” If it’s ok for twenty percent of the workforce to claim benefits, then I think I have a right to at least try my luck. Since I haven’t won Lotto yet, I’m not sure luck flows my way, but you have ‘to be in it, to win it’!
And in it we still are; isolation that is, even with some of the restrictions being lifted. To be honest they, those in power, had to ease the reins. You can’t let kids go to school but not let the adults meet up with their friends. That would be discrimination; I’m not sure what kind, but someone would give it a name. So, where to from here? No one really knows, but what we do understand is that it won’t be back to what it was. And that’s probably a very good thing as ‘the old norm’ wasn’t very special at all.
So, let’s have a warm welcome to our New World in all her refined glory. Long may she reign supreme!