I thought it was over. Or at least that things would be getting better soon. I’ve always been aware of the fact that we’re never getting back to normal, if by “normal” is meant the way things used to be, but I thought we might return to at least an approximation of the status quo ante.
A couple of recent developments have shaken my faith in this a bit. In the first place there’s been an announcement on the status of the annual Friends of the Public Library Book Sale. I’ve posted before on this event (in 2016 and 2019). It’s something I look forward to every year. Of course it was canceled last year due to the pandemic but I thought there was a chance it might be a go now. Where I live we have a very high full-vaccination rate (over 80%) and the sale isn’t until October. But they’ve already said it’s off again.
Understandable. If they were going to hold it they would have to start accepting donations now, and they probably aren’t fully comfortable with that. Plus it’s an event that can only run with a lot of volunteer help and they might have had some trouble on that score too. So I get it. But it’s still quite disappointing and leaves me wondering if it might be in trouble next year as well, or even if it’s going to be viable at all going forward into our “new normal.”
The second bit of news is more upsetting. I’ve always been a bit of a gym rat, and with the gyms being closed for the past eighteen months I’ve been having to manage withdrawal symptoms. Well, the gyms are open now, but with two big caveats.
In the first place, you have to wear a mask. Now I agree this may be for the best. And I accept that it’s possible to work out while wearing a mask, if not a lot of fun. But I don’t want to wear a mask while exercising, and I’m certainly not going to pay to do so. Until the masks come off I’m not going back.
Also, and less understandable, is the fact that the hours have been severely restricted. The gym I was previously a member of was a 24-hour gym, which suited me perfectly, as I am a night owl. Since they’ve reopened their new hours are 5 am to 10 pm on weekdays and only 7 am to 7 pm on weekends. 7 to 7! Is that a joke? And is it the new normal? I’m afraid it may be, as one person on staff who I talked to let it slip that they had no plans to ever going back to being a 24-hour gym. Consternation! Is this the world that COVID-19 made? Damn.