Life used to be perfect. We did not know it. We quote Joni Mitchell: "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." What I mean to say is, our lives were at the normal end of the "perfection" spectrum. We lived contentedly in modest dwellings. In our leisure, we read or went to movies. Sometimes we took a walk. Occasionally we saw a ball game (peer pressure). Some of our peers aspired to a suburban house with a three-car garage, but we never understood the appeal of the three-car garage. Then we met a man who drove straight from his heated garage to a heated underground garage downtown every morning. He boasted, "I never wear a coat."
I couldn't get my head around it.
A reverse homage to Gogol's The Overcoat?
What I'm really saying is that we used to be happy, in the limited form of happiness most of us know. What we liked best: there were normal boundaries between people. It was not a stand-off between masked and unmasked. And we didn't worry about people getting vaccinated. I mean, we lined up at school and got the TB vaccine (in the form of a sugar cube?). We didn't need permission slips. Vaccinations wiped out diseases.
But, you know, the pandemic is a big deal. The personal disruption is one of the worst aspects. Some of us badly miss the going-to-work economy. Some are lucky to work at home, others have lost their jobs. If only it were the fifties, or even the last decade, when the husband kissed the wife good-bye and went to the office and the wife worked from home. - or vice versa, in this slightly less gender-driven world.
Now that comfortable routine seems like a lost chapter in an out-of-print history book series: the template for Daily Life in Ancient Rome or Daily Life in Babylon has been converted into Daily Life in Pre-pandemic America.
But, honestly? I can't get my head around any of it.