It’s almost Christmas again. We got a call last night from a very close friend who discovered he has COVID. He got both vaccinations and the booster three weeks ago. He caught it anyway.

He thought he had a mild cold, but he decided to check in with his doctor, just in case. The test was run and then a second test, just to be sure. He has it. Very mildly without a fever or any symptoms except a sinus headache. He’s in isolation and as far as he knows, hasn’t passed it to anyone else.

Still, after all the vaccinations and care, he still picked it up. He lives in Minnesota, so that’s probably part of the reason. He teaches at a college which might be another reason. Students seem to be major germ carriers whether they are in first grade or college sophomores. It seems to come with the territory.

For all I know, I could have it although how I’d have gotten it surpasses my understanding. I don’t go anywhere or see anyone. For all practical purposes, we’ve been in isolation for close to two years.

Two years and still in isolation?

It’s mind blowing when I stop and realize how little I’ve been out — and how many friends we’ve lost. Not to COVID, though maybe because of COVID. All the ones who didn’t go to the doctor in time, who got sick and died from cancer or some infection which, under other circumstances, would have been caught and cared for. But hospitals were full and many people were uncomfortable going to a doctor or worse, a hospital.

Boston Commons

They waited too long. I read their final letters to me last night and was overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness. Getting old is bad enough, but a pandemic and all this death? It’s a bit much. I’m sure no one is going to argue the point with me.

All of this was supposed to have changed — normalized — by now, but it hasn’t. Not even here in Massachusetts where we should have herd immunity because vaccinations are the highest percentage in the country — and yet the number of new cases in Massachusetts is going up. Mostly non-lethal cases, but still rising.

Will this end while I’m still alive to enjoy it? We’ve been locked in this house for so long, I get a little strange when we go out. Normal things don’t feel normal anymore. I’m not sure what normal is.

Does anyone feel that “normal” has returned? Who know what normal is? If it feels normal, is it the “old” normal or something completely different?

Categories: #Health, Anecdote, Christmas, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Epidemic - Pandemic - Plague, Vaccination

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20 replies

  1. I think ‘normal’ is like ‘the good old days,’ and I also wonder if we’ll live to see what the new normal will look like. When this first started, it felt strange to be separated from people when in a store. Now, they are closing in, and I want to say back off because I don’t know if you’ve been vaccinated or where you’ve been. I know where I’ve been – nowhere. I also know I haven’t been anywhere without a mask. Stay well, and we’ll see what 2022 brings, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be anything near what we remember as normal.


    • I wish I could disagree, but I don’t. Crowds are not merely uncomfortable (never liked crowds), but now they are frightening. Who are those people and what disease are they carrying? The manatees are starving in Florida and birds are dying by the BILLIONS — and we can’t imagine NOT burning coal because, you know, some conglomerate would make less money for a few days. What kind of world IS this?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Marilyn, I feel your aggravation & sadness. This is a conversation Younger Child and I have often; she doesn’t quite understand fully the implications of what’s going on (and it looks like we don’t either, with each new development).

    Our little family has been double vaccinated, and on the way to getting our boosters when it becomes available; 3 of 4 of us have pre-existing conditions which put us at risk should we catch this thing. So, we have pretty much isolated ourselves too. We still haven’t eaten with anyone outside our home, nor in public places. And even when we visit my parents (which essentially are the only “social” visits we make, we keep our masks on). For Younger Child who is a very social being, this has been extremely difficult.


  3. It’s all very sad, that’s for sure, Marilyn. I’m finding that it’s an especially difficult time to be living alone. No, normal has NOT returned, and I don’t think it ever will, at least not for people in our age group. I look forward to a new normal, however!


  4. Thank you again, Marilyn, for expressing so clearly your experience. You and Garry may be alone in your house, but you are surrounded by people longing to put words on what we feel and think.
    “Look on the Bright Side of Life,” sang Brian in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. “Nothing can go wrong. Everything is fine!” Well, it’s not! I’m not a scientist. But I read what the virologists are now saying in relation to the deforestation of the Amazon and other rain forests. There will be no old normal. The old normal felt normal to those of us well enough and wealthy enough to find life comfortable, but it was never normal. It was abnormal. Abnormal in our relationship with the rest of nature. Abnormal in putting at risk all upon which life depends.

    I cheer on the likes of Dr. Fauci whose dedication to medical research have found ways to cope with viruses of previous epidemics. But I also feel in my gut the realistic possibility that the consequences of humankind’s presumption (i.e., “Nothing can go wrong!” that we are the exception to nature, a special species which holds title to planetary mastery, control, and dominion) ends with a murder-suicide pact. The viruses will survive us. Nature — the web of life — will survive. Everywhere I look these days, I feel the rumbling and see the crumbling of the never-was-alway- is Tower of Babel — i.e. the results of hubris in all its forms.

    Here in Minneapolis a new luxury condominium building is under construction. Prices of the smallest units begin at just below one million. Each of the 17 penthouse (you heard it right — 17) will have no less than 4,500 square feet of indoor space and two terraces. The lowest-priced penthouse unit before buildout at the owner’s expense is $4.5 M. The price of the two-story penthouse (10,000 sq.ft. indoors and 2,200 sq.ft. outdoors) has yet to be priced. “It’s going to be like living in a fancy hotel, but you’re not hotel guests,” said the listing agent, according to yesterday’s StarTribune.

    And the rains fell down and floods raised up…. And we think the human species is smart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gordon, so well said and flat out scary. It’s what we need to hear and truly absorb. Those condo prices are (I can’t find the right word) ridiculous, at least in our world.

      Back to normal? No, no such thing anymore.

      Stay well, Pilgrim.


      • Greetings, Garry. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on keeping on. Some days it’s challenge and a burden. I just posted a new piece that likely will be to your liking.Grace and Peace, G


    • We could fix things if we really wanted to. If we cared enough to work together. But we aren’t working together and we aren’t doing our best. Most people are doing little or nothing. Part of it is feeling helpless and the rest is the assumption that this is such a big task, the government should do it. Except — in this country — WE are the government, or used to be.

      Viruses have survived under the icy tundra for tens of thousands of years already, so I’m sure they’ll keep going for another few thousand. They aren’t even alive, but they will continue after we are gone.
      Hubris, yes. We think we aren’t really part of nature, that we are “something else,” mini-gods in charge of all things. We never were.

      Hey, isn’t it great knowing that even if humans won’t make it, cockroaches and ants will flourish? Good to know something will keep on keeping on.


      • VERY consoling, Marilyn. Kafka would have a field day, but he wouldn’t survive to write another Metamorphosis, and if ‘were to write it before we’re all squashed, no publisher would publish it. There’s no money in it.

        Everyone I know feels the heaviness, wants to do something to stop the fascist wave, but is feeling helpless. Some of us have the privilege of the blogosphere pulpit, but a pulpit is nothing without a congregation.

        What once was despicable is now embraced openly and proudly. The guns are not on our side of the fence. Truth, or the search for it, is on our side if the fence, but truth no longer means truth, and speaking boldly feels like preaching on the street corner. It’s pointless earplugs are everywhere.

        So…Cheerio! Keep pounding those keys.


        • I keep trying, but much of the time it feel futile. There are the believers who are for the most part, as depressed as I feel about it — the NON believers who just don’t want to hear the truth — and the disbelievers who have their own version of “truth.” I’ll keep writing, but I don’t think it’s going to make much difference. I actually think we are doomed. I don’t want to think that or believe it, but I can’t see any reason to feel otherwise. I’m glad I’m old. Aren’t you?


  5. I hear that too, ppl are vaxxed to the max and yet, and yet….. nothing is normal any longer.
    We spent 2 days right after the border in Germany, and hey ho, ‘new rules’, one day old, applied. Even with the certificate and proof of who you are, and the latest vax no older than 6 months, you must take ANOTHER test to be able to go into a restaurant, a cinema, a concert or ice skating (whatever!)….. For the Germans it’s free but of course not for us, the foreigners. So, instead of going out for a nice meal, we had a modest affair at the bnb we stayed and only after our crossing the border back to Switzie we had the first warm meal since Friday…. we don’t even get upset over anything any longer, it’s just the way it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When we heard that Garry’s friend managed to get sick anyway, it was such a downer. Not that he is deathly ill. He isn’t and he will get better. Nonetheless, he’s vaxxed to the max — and the virus crept in anyway. it’s hard to be optimistic when we look around and realize despite everything, humanity is not coming together but pulling further apart. It’s depressing, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, losing friends and loved ones is excruciating. For me, what’s worse is the effect the lockdown has had on my 17-year old who has stepped into college this year. She’s always been an introvert, and the pandemic lockdown suited her fine. Now she’s finding it harder than before to mix in society. It’s not really comparable to all the other problems people face, and I am grateful for that, but it IS a chronic worry for me. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The social skills of young people has been an issue for a long time, but I’m sure this seemingly endless period of isolation has made it worse. This generation of youngsters has had a rough start. I’d worry too. I was worried anyway. This makes it much worse.

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  7. Interesting reading, THANKS,

    I too am loosing friends and family, but it may be my age being part of the problem, where sometime it looks like I may soon be the only one left standing~! But having grown up in an evangelical environment I have (good Christian) family members who came down with the virus. While you can have compassion for some of them, I also get angry about their negligence and asking (how many deaths have YOU CAUSED due to your stupid attitude. As you know I am outspoken about this..I picture these very religious people standing (un masked) at the desk of Saint Peter with two groups of people, watching, one smiling, and the other pointing their finger at the person standing there, one happy and the other accusative for having had a terrible early death due to the person being judged.

    Like you I live in isolation but have friends who do not, one couple just got back from a flying trip to New York, and though they with all their shots, I sometime think (like unsafe sex) ” I wonder where they have been~!!”

    But in my REM period (about 3 each morning), I had a thought today which may be a bit positive…. It may be one of those SFB thoughts and I may be sorry for expressing it, not being an expert, but:…. It is said that the new Omicron variant has some of the markings of the common cold, and this may be why younger people are coming down with it in faster, larger numbers~! It also (so far) has not proven to be worse as far as death is concerned.. So if it has mutated toward a (positive) direction showing the cold markings, could this be a good direction, if we are stuck with it in the future, it mutating toward a less terrible nature.. At the same time with all the NUTS dying I only hope that they go without bringing down many others when I see them in crowds by the hundreds / thousands unprotected, massed but not masked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Age too, of course. Ironically, most of these losses were much younger than me. Garry is 79 and is the oldest in his group of old colleagues. So far, so good!

      The original pandemic “flu” from 1918 became the “regular” flu that comes around annually now, so this may be (I HOPE!) the beginning of that change. It’s very hard NOT to get angry at all the people who are helping this disease spread. If they manage to kill themselves, well, okay — but they are spreading it to everyone around them and it makes me really ANGRY. How DARE they tell me how Christian they are? I would like to come out of hiding one of these days and they are making it worse instead of better.

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