As society stumbles and fumbles its way back to some kind of normality, we begin to realize that life as it was, the life we knew and were comfortable with is a far better option to the one we have had to endure for the last six months. The sharp slap in face which awakens us to everything we took for granted is not dissimilar to the rude awakening that punches us in the belly when we realize how much we prefer the company of our ex as opposed to the company of our current partner. Sadly, pandemics and deadly viruses do not respond to late night text messages begging for a return to how things were. We can’t send an SMS to the past saying how much we took it for granted and never appreciated the good times.
We are trying to play catch up however, and in all aspects of daily life we seem hell bent on restoring the status quo. We are determined to ensure that what we missed out on we replace, that what was broken is fixed and that what we expected from life is delivered and delivered with the same degree of efficiency as it was pre global pandemic. If Amazon was a bellwether for delivery efficiency, we are determined to return to Amazon levels along with all its confirmation texts and emails which serve as a comforting blanket confirming our thinking and decision making.
So here we sit in September 2020 playing catch up and not only catching up with familiar institutional endeavor the likes of which are essential to the lubrication of the economic, social and phycological restoration of our value system, but with a manic desperation we sprint towards the return of travel, leisure and sport with the belief that if we can go on holiday, watch Arsenal and meet our buddies down the pub all will be OK!
The question we need to ask is, are we compromising, or is it a case of better late than never even if late is different?
As this editorial is written Premier League football supporters around the world embark on another season of fanatical often frenzied behavior as the league recommences.
It is late and it is different, however. The matches that should have begun in August started in September as last season was delayed and ran on. There are also no fans in the stadiums, the TV commentary has piped in audio, no handshakes, more substitutions allowed, extra drinks break, and masks during interviews, but it is football. Are we satisfied though, is it the same and are we happy with the different?
Have we sent that late-night SMS begging for a return to how things were only to be disappointed with what we receive?
Numbers of those infected with Covid -19 continue to rise exponentially in France, back in July the Tour de France a monument of all things French was called off to halt the spread of the pandemic and yet we find ourselves in mid-September and mid-way through this three-week spectacle. It is late and it is different, masks, new protocols and an attempt to limit fans but the race continues driven by both commercial necessity and desired normality. In a desperate attempt to return to something beautiful, something comfortable and something familiar we realize that when hidden by a mask the beauty is hard to find and not the same.
The months of September and October mean a return to education, and across the UK students pack up and head to Universities across the country to either begin or continue on their educational paths. University is a combination of discovering independence and learning and both of these endeavors will be different. Learning although continuing will largely where appropriate be conducted via Zoom, Teams, Skype and a plethora of other online platforms. This now expected learning approach may be efficient, but it does dilute the University experience and certainly allows for sneaky text messages between those in a lecture to go undetected.
Let’s not also forget university is about fun, meeting new people, parties, pubs and socializing. Not being able to mingle with more than 6 people in your student house if adhered to, and it’s a big if will certainly hamper and inhibit the true university experience. Freshers weeks have been cancelled, libraries limiting entrance and very reduced lecture program, so it is very much a case of better late and different than never.
It will take time to accept our new environment and one could argue that we should embrace what we have rather than race back to what we had, there are lessons to be learned from poor experiences. We are creatures of habit however and it will be very difficult not to send that SMS.