Now that I’ve reached the latter half of my sixth decade, I increasingly hear myself begin sentences “Back in the day…” or “I remember when….” It’s weird. In our eternally youth-obsessed culture, growing old itself is just plain weird. 

And the current pandemic has upended so much of what we knew, or thought we knew, that things are even weirder than they were before. Let’s face it, that’s really saying something. 

Variations on the phrase “And now, back to our regularly scheduled program” have been around since at least the 70s, possibly even earlier. I use it today because in these first few post-election days, there’s a sense that maybe we’re going to get some kind of normalcy back, some time or other.

 

But When—And What Would That Even Look Like? 

Well, you know I don’t have a clue what the answer to that subhead will be. I’ve been virtually on voluntary lockdown for close to nine months now, so my perspective is perhaps a bit skewed. But here are a couple of my random observations, in no particular order.

1) Our entertainment is going to look a whole lot different for a while. We already see plenty of bare studios with hardly any staff. Wait until every new movie features a cast wearing masks. Even more than the post-9/11 years highlighted that terrible day, a post-pandemic world promises lots of movies and shows about the pandemic. Good luck putting it in the rearview mirror.

2) A return to some real semblance of normalcy may resemble the Roaring 20s…only I guess we’ll call them the Roaring 2020s. If a vaccine gets the world back to something like its pre-pandemic old self, we could see an absolute explosion from all the pent-up demand for live music, sports, travel, and so on.

3) The “breather” our planet got when much of the world locked down this spring will need to be replicated somehow: maybe it’s going to be about carbon capture, maybe just more attention to one’s carbon footprint. But one way another, the future has to be greener.

 

Bringing It Back Home

So when I think about “back in the day,” I sometimes mean the 1970s or 1980s, but these days I might also just be thinking of those far-flung pre-pandemic times…a whole year ago. I mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like 2020 has been about a million years long. It’s put some mileage on my odometer for sure. 

And who knows? Maybe some time in January, we’ll all start to breathe a little easier. Maybe we’ll even start treating each other with more kindness and respect. Stranger things have happened.

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