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Getting back to normal (1 Viewer)

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I keep hearing people on the media talking about 'getting back to normal', I don't think that's the way the world works, I can't remember a single instance of the world going back.The Goths saw off the Roman Empire, but the world didn't go back to the pre-Roman way of doing things. The Norman invaders learned to speak English and lost their French possessions, but we didn't go back to being Anglo-Saxons. It is always like that, the world moves on and forward, and that is part of the reason we picked up this disease in the first place.

Men are taking over land everywhere that has never been used before, that puts pressure on wild animal populations and brings them into closer contact with us, and that is not stopping.

There are around 2,000 known viral diseases of mammals, but knowing how many species of the larger animals there are we can extrapolate and make a very educated guess that there are about 2.7 million unknown ones. Lots of them would never make the jump from animals to man, but it is a near certainty that some will, this has been known for ages, hence all the excitement about Ebola and Sars. Luckily they never got a real hold on the human population, but some variant mutation still may.

Bats are a particular danger, because of the way they live in crowded communities in caves filled with their own shit they have developed extra strong immune systems. If a disease can infect a bat it will be able to infect just about anything. But the flu virus seems to live and mutate in farm animals, I think ducks and pigs are thought to be the route to us, and with so many possibilities something is going to make it. Apart from the fact that 'Going back' is simply not the way the world works trying to would be a surefire way of getting it in the neck far worse than we have so far.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I recall that expression - can't remember who - about the fear that things will either never go back to normal, or that they already have. But yeah - I agree with you. Going back to normal is a handy political soundbite, but things rarely are that simple.
 

Terra

Senior Member
Of course, the question is 'what IS normal?' Normal is whatever we make it to be. After my husband passed, normal became buying groceries for one person, instead of two - simple example, but it fits in the bigger picture. After 911, normal became showing passports to enter the US, among other things. During Covid, normal became wearing masks, zoom rooms, clear skies, smaller social circles, and so on. Who knows what today's normal will be, but it definitely will be different than yesterday's ... change is the only constant and humans are only beginning to understand what that means.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Time moves in only one direction.

I don't like a lot of things going on in the world these days; in a sense, I've turned into my grandfather who claimed that hippies were going to destroy the world; maybe he was right.

Our lives have gotten smaller because of covid, and many lost their livelihoods and dreams due to the restrictions surrounding it; that won't return. We're less tolerant now, and our circle of friends has gotten smaller, and we travel less. I'd like to think that there is a positive side to this somewhere, but I can't find it.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
Initially, I don't think the term ". . . back to normal" is so deeply thought of as you describe. We have been moving away from normal for a very long time, and Covid is just one part of it, so the vaccinations and reduction in cases are also just a fraction of the picture. I opined yesterday that there is no place that is safe in this world. If you say, getting back to normal is being able to go to a store without a mask, we can still be killed by a random gunman, mask or no mask. If we say we can now go to Mass on Sunday and be able to give the peace sign again, a lone gunman can still come in and begin shooting. We want to get our kids back to school, but we all know the threats that are living in schools. On a lighter side (ha) we want everyone to be able to vote, but there are those who are trying to eliminate the opportunity for so many people. I feel our rendition of "normal" no longer exists, no matter how far we go, how hard we try, or how often we use the word "normal."

It's a good possibility I will be able to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family, instead of eating a TV dinner by myself.
I'm hopeful soon I will be able to visit a friend out of state that I haven't seen in two years (I don't travel in winter).
I'm looking forward to hugging my grandkids.

These are normal things I am hoping to get back to and experience, but the world remains a scary place.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Of course, the question is 'what IS normal?' Normal is whatever we make it to be. After my husband passed, normal became buying groceries for one person, instead of two - simple example, but it fits in the bigger picture. After 911, normal became showing passports to enter the US, among other things. During Covid, normal became wearing masks, zoom rooms, clear skies, smaller social circles, and so on. Who knows what today's normal will be, but it definitely will be different than yesterday's ... change is the only constant and humans are only beginning to understand what that means.

You are right.We learn to adapt to different situations and the new normal means different things to different people. I was so stressed and anxious over COVID because my husband is high risk I was not coping well as I suddenly became responsible for all the face-to-face interactions while managing my own fears. I was almost at breaking point and my doctor referred to the situation as learning to adapt to the 'new normal' ... and what was 'normal' today would not be 'normal' tomorrow or even next week. That was in the first wave... now we move from one wave to the next like the the peaks and troughs and flow of the ocean ... we take advantage of the dip in the R rate ... the trough...to do all the jobs we can't do in the spikes... aka peaks... or high tide and low tide. Okay, that may sound crazy... but it is how I cope.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
There will come a point where we can mix quite freely again without an overt fear of catching a potentially killer disease, but it won't be normal. The world has already changed, and some of those changes will stick.

The relentless march of technology will accelerate, leaving mental breakdowns in its wake for those who are unable or unwilling to adapt.

Homelessness will increase, and as a society we will need to get on top of that very quickly unless we want a repeat of persistent rioting. We will need to start adopting some of the Scandinavian attitudes, where homelessness is a probable death sentence due to the climate.

The concept of 'the job' will continue to diminish, and any benefits from technology will have to be shared around much better: we may even see the beginnings of a universal basic income.

Capitalism will have to change its uglier face in order to survive in some form: effort and skill must continue to receive appropriate rewards, but the possibilities must open up to a wider range of people. There may even be a partial return to an agrarian society, in time.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Let's go back 100 years. While COVID-19 is a serious disease, the 1918-1920 influenza epidemic was much worse. Many of the same restrictions we're living with now were imposed then. Once it passed, the economy recovered, people gathered in groups large and small again, and the fear of contagion disappeared.

That will happen again with COVID-19. It might be another year or even two, but we'll get there. We have a lot more tools in hand to keep it together now than we did 100 years ago.

Our societies have been moving toward remote contacts and a distributed workforce for quite some time. COVID-19 may have only accelerated a process. On that note, one thing I've been wondering about is the future of urban commercial office properties. They've been dinosaurs for 30 years now, kept alive mainly through tradition and inertia. Companies were afraid that employees working from home would take advantage of the lack of direct supervision to "goof off". Now companies are finding out two things. First, their employees are less inclined to goof off than feared. Second, even if employees do goof off some, the net loss of capital productivity is more than compensated by the savings achieved in eliminating the tremendous overhead of commercial office space.

So when we talk about a "new normal", I don't think it will have anything to do with lingering behaviors directly enforced to abate disease spread, but we'll see effects in reverse urbanization, leading major cities to waste a lot less money than they currently do ... just to survive ... and real issues and adjustments for commercial property owners, some of whom will go bust.
 
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PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
There will come a point where we can mix quite freely again without an overt fear of catching a potentially killer disease, but it won't be normal. The world has already changed, and some of those changes will stick.
A lot of people will think twice before jetting off for a holiday. I know I will, as do many of our friends. The tourist industry will also need to adapt. In the Algarve many bars and restaurants are concerned that Brits won't be flooding the Algarve as in years gone by ... but instead of moaning and looking backwards they should be focusing on the home market and the rest of Europe ... more and more people will be buying motorhomes so they can travel in their own bubble.

We learn to adapt.

The relentless march of technology will accelerate, leaving mental breakdowns in its wake for those who are unable or unwilling to adapt.

Yep, online banking is my biggest bugbear. You have a code box the size of a postage stamp and buttons the size of pinheads. And everyone wants you to download an Ap for something of other. All these Aps take up space on your phone so then it has no memory and you need to buy a new phone.

Homelessness will increase, and as a society we will need to get on top of that very quickly unless we want a repeat of persistent rioting. We will need to start adopting some of the Scandinavian attitudes, where homelessness is a probable death sentence due to the climate.
There is no excuse for a country like the UK to have so many people sleeping on the streets. Instead of sending money to ... wherever the powers that be should do more to help the homeless.

It makes me wonder what will happen to all the offices as more and more peole work from home.... housing problem solved.

Let's go back 100 years. While COVID-19 is a serious disease, the 1918-1920 influenza epidemic was much worse. Many of the same restrictions we're living with now were imposed then. Once it passed, the economy recovered, people gathered in groups large and small again, and the fear of contagion disappeared.

That will happen again with COVID-19. It might be another year or even two, but we'll get there. We have a lot more tools in hand to keep it together now than we did 100 years ago.

.

I agree to a point. However, a 100 years ago people did not travel from country to country with the ease or frequency they do now, so the flu was more contained - plus I believe more people died then due to lack of adequate healthcare.

I have never been keen on large groups

Some companies will need to change their business model in order to survive. Explore new markets and opportunities. A year ago we would never have considered 'click and collect' or 'home delivery' for our weekly food shop. This is now the new normal for us. To cope with demand the supermarket (Continente) has outsourced many of the home deliveries to small delivery companies so they are also learning to adapt.

We also buy more basic and luxury goods online than before. I am surprised by how many SME's in the UK are still not geared up to supply customers in Portugal or other countries in the EU post Brexit.
 
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SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
There is no excuse for a country like the UK to have so many people sleeping on the streets. Instead of sending money to ... wherever the powers that be should do more to help the homeless.

It makes me wonder what will happen to all the offices as more and more peole work from home.... housing problem solved.

I read an article just a couple of weeks ago that due to Covid-19 there are many Malls across the country being closed, but also being considered as senior housing, which is scarce. Why not for the homeless?
 

River Rose

Senior Member
I agree w the “what is normal”. As 2020 came in like a storm to most of us. 2020, turned my life upside down. Not only from COVID,,,yet also from many life events I never saw heading my way. It’s shocking when I look at how my world has changed. I was in the pharmacy at the huge city’s Children’s hospital picking up prescriptions for my newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic son. The whole place was encased in plastic wrap. It looked like a scene out of a post apocalyptic movie. Partitions everywhere. I am a holistic healer. So I know many people on the same wave length as myself. I once spoke to someone whom I feel to have great insight into our universe. I asked them if we could be living purgatory. Could this b a place of a living hell. Or could we b living post apocalyptic. Or could I myself be? I did not get any great answer to my questions. I feel that 2020 was a upchuck of sorts. We can not go back to the way things were,,,the way we were living. The universe has shifted and there is only forward from here. Someone told me this is the year of resilience. I do believe that. Resilience is the way forward.
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Many of the smaller family owned restaurants in our area are not open for dining, but have developed a robust take out business. Only possible because of the delivery businesses like Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats. And with take out being fueled by quarantine, people are looking for more variety in what they can get by delivery. My hope is that the positive effect after Covid will be an increase in their volume even once they are back to full capacity in the restaurant.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Let's go back 100 years. While COVID-19 is a serious disease, the 1918-1920 influenza epidemic was much worse. Many of the same restrictions we're living with now were imposed then. Once it passed, the economy recovered, people gathered in groups large and small again, and the fear of contagion disappeared.

That will happen again with COVID-19. It might be another year or even two, but we'll get there. We have a lot more tools in hand to keep it together now than we did 100 years ago.

Our societies have been moving toward remote contacts and a distributed workforce for quite some time. COVID-19 may have only accelerated a process. On that note, one thing I've been wondering about is the future of urban commercial office properties. They've been dinosaurs for 30 years now, kept alive mainly through tradition and inertia. Companies were afraid that employees working from home would take advantage of the lack of direct supervision to "goof off". Now companies are finding out two things. First, their employees are less inclined to goof off than feared. Second, even if employees do goof off some, the net loss of capital productivity is more than compensated by the savings achieved in eliminating the tremendous overhead of commercial office space.

So when we talk about a "new normal", I don't think it will have anything to do with lingering behaviors directly enforced to abate disease spread, but we'll see effects in reverse urbanization, leading major cities to waste a lot less money than they currently do ... just to survive ... and real issues and adjustments for commercial property owners, some of whom will go bust.

Urban commercial office properties will likely be converted to condominiums. I has been happening here for sometime, even before Covid started. I was part of the first test project of having government employees working from home. To be honest I hate it! But they eventually allowed most of the workers to do it, and let go of a tons of leases and saved a lot of tax dollars. Now with Covid the last of the work force likely will stay at home.

Personally, I'm not sure that people being at home 24/7 and mixing work and personal life all together is that healthy for everyone. I really miss the comradery. They have tried to address it with a buddy system. But that's only one person I have the freedom to call out to during work hours.
 
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