what’s normal?

My mother gave me a little pink plastic diary with a lock that had it’s own key. She told me I could write whatever I wanted, because it was mine and only mine. It was my introduction to privacy and I loved filling it’s pages with all the important things I thought as a 12 year old. But, I’m pretty sure…she lied. I was happy with the little silver key that I hid in my underwear drawer. I had no idea it came with two. Pretty smart, if you ask me…

And now? Privacy is a thing of the past. It’s old fashioned. The internet is the diary and the key is rusted beyond recognition. We tell everyone everything on an hourly basis. People end relationships via the internet, people start relationships via the internet. I might even be able to tell you what you had for lunch yesterday if you photographed your sandwich and felt the need to post it for the world to see. We all can take a seat somewhere on the Spectrum of Revelation. Some people are obsessed with their feelings and seem unable or uninterested in stopping them from spewing forth..other people hug their feelings tightly, cherishing their secrets. And then… there’s all the ticket holders in between. I have a reserved seat somewhere in the middle. So let’s careene down the blogway.

I was surprised by how I felt after I’d been vaccinated. By the time I walked to my car I wondered if I’d wandered through a renegade cloud of nitrous oxide. I was visibly and surprisingly happy. The great exhale began and it seemed there was no end in sight. It’s not easy to hold your breath for an entire year. As my friends also rolled up their sleeves, everything lightened up just a bit. We didn’t rip off our masks and dance naked in the parking lot of Safeway and I didn’t hear anything about anyone sticking their tongue in anyone’s mouth, but we did relax a little.

And now that the temperatures are rising we can assemble for dinner in real time, outside, instead of zoom zoom zooming. We can sit and chat on various decks and patios. And I’m not in quite so much of a rush to get in and out of the co-op. My personal “normal” involved lots of time by myself. I live alone. I’m used to entertaining myself. I paint, I cook, I sew and I write. Not that much changed for me, except that I have fewer options in terms of the outside world.

PBS talks about the New Normal. Mainstream media talks about “getting back to normal”. Me? I’ve never wanted to be normal. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had zero respect for “normal”…and I do believe I’ve managed to live up to my own expectations. I am not, nor will I ever be…”normal”.

Severe capitalism is not normal. Corporations have legal rights, while the government continually refuses to pass the Equal Rights Ammendment, government agents are still getting away with randomly killing people of color over traffic violations. Thousands and thousands of people are living in tents on the sidewalk, and chances are you could still get away with killing a queer for Christ. We’ve gotten used to these abominations, we protest these abominations, we fight over our interpretations of these horrors, but nothing changes. America is proud of it’s lopsided lifestyle and people are yearning to go backwards instead of forward.

You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m hoping the isolation and separation we’ve all been living in will have some positive effects. Maybe we’ll be more appreciative of each other and the time we spend together. Maybe we’ll be more comfortable with ourselves. Maybe we could come up with successful ways to facilitate change because arguing and fighting about it isn’t working. One thing is for sure. Everything is different.