This Friday, I went to get dinner with a friend at Moosewood. We talked about our classes and agreed about our mutual stress but excitement over another Cornell semester. It was a Friday like most I’d experienced at Cornell, relaxing for a moment after a busy week, except we were wearing masks, we talked about the differences between our online and in-person classes and discussed our preferred surveillance testing sites. At one point we marveled over how if, one year ago, someone told me I would be wearing a mask every time I went outside, taking classes over Zoom and getting tested to see if I had been infected with a disease responsible for a global pandemic, I would have politely asked what that person was smoking. Now, however, I feel more strange seeing a maskless face or being in a crowded space than I do putting on a mask before going for a solitary run.
I’ve lost track of the number of references to the “new normal” made in the last several months.