At the end of Covid, when we are all back to normal, whatever that is. We will all look back at the absurdities of this time. Yes, we will mourn the losses of loved ones and rightly so. But this blog is not about that it is about the silly things we have come to accept as normal.
I was at the dentist today. The receptionist said, ‘They won’t be long, they’re getting dressed.’ Now, I had assumed dentists spent their time between patients fully dressed; obviously not. They must practice naturism in the surgery between patients; who knew? Don’t shout at your smart phone or tablet or PC; I know they were putting on protective gear. At least I hope so. Talking of which, on my arrival in the examination room; having checked they were decent first of course, I was met by two space suited staff. Well, they looked like space suits to me, I’m sure they could survive in space, at least for a few minutes.
Queueing, that is something we have always done well in the UK. So, the extra queueing systems introduced for Covid, we have taken in our stride. In fact, we have probably secretly enjoyed the extra space. No more problems with people invading our personal space. Add to that we have people at the doors keeping order; it’s like an English dream. But how have other countries coped?
In the early 1980’s we went to Israel. They have not heard of queues. We went into a supermarket, picked up our goods and found a till. A lady was paying and one was waiting, so we stood patiently behind the waiting lady. Along came a man with his trolley and pushed in front of us. Well obviously, we apologised for being in his way. Then we looked very hard at the back of his head; showing our displeasure. Then we coughed and hummed a bit. Eventually we realised that he wasn’t taking any of our messages of displeasure seriously and we were forced to speak to him. I know, unheard of, right? Speaking to a stranger and not just speaking, but complaining. I took all of my courage and spoke:
‘Sorry, excuse me, I think you have just jumped the queue.’
He looked around, glanced up and down at my muscular stature. Obviously realised that he was no match for my manly physique and for some unexplained reason ignored me anyway. It is beyond me how Israel is coping with any new queueing system. There are many countries that don’t understand queuing like us Brits.
Masks, I have got so used to wearing a mask, I feel naked without it. Perhaps that’s why the receptionist said the dentist and assistant were getting dressed; she feels naked without her mask? In winter masks are a positive benefit, keeping me warm and cosy. Just think of all those bank robbers who will have to go back to wearing tights over their heads.
Then there are the plastic screens which have sprung up everywhere. Buses, taxis, shops, dentists etc. We were used to talking to banking staff through a plastic screen, now we have that same experience with all staff. It’s like watching TV in real life, everyone is on screen, or at least behind one. Will they all go post-Covid or are they now permanent?
Don’t even mention touch. When I see someone touch someone else on a movie or TV programme, I have a panic attack. I don’t know how I resist phoning 999 or at least 111. I don’t think people have ever had more alcohol on their hands than in their stomach in the history of mankind. I find myself reaching for the alcohol gel when I touch anything in our house. I am going to have to invent a constant drench mechanism for when we go out. A bit like those auto wheel gritters you get on train wheels for icy days. My system will be a bottle up each arm that runs gel constantly over my hands. Am I being over cautious? However, will we get used to not washing our hands every 5 minutes or touching a stranger at the end of all this? I don’t know about you but this is our first winter without a cold. It certainly stops the spread of germs.
We are also in for a huge shock when normality returns and all the people who moved from cities out to the countryside wake up to what they’ve done. Will there be a stampede back to the cities? Will people wake one morning, look out their window at a field of cows and say, ‘I miss the London traffic.’? Or will it just be the returning theatres, cinemas, restaurants, shops and other facilities that draw people back to towns and cities? Meat is a little too fresh when it’s still walking around. Sorry, that was uncalled for.
What will be the surprises for you? We had a survey to fill in recently. It asked about what we had changed due to Covid and whether those things would stay post-Covid. To most of them, I said no. I am a realist and I know that most things we have changed because we had to.
I know many companies have had to change to home working. But I wonder if they will stick at that long term? I guess productivity will decide. Even the ones who have closed offices, may well re-open them.
A month or so and we will start to find out what changes.
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