When I join online meetings, my ears would itch and turn numb each time someone would mention how we must learn to cope in this “new normal,” hence, we must meet online temporarily until current circumstances permit us to do otherwise.
Nobody seems to question the validity of the phrase or doubt the deflated impact that the term “new normal” aims to encompass. There is nothing new about meeting online when 70 million Filipinos are using chat apps to communicate on a daily basis. And there is absolutely nothing normal about a situation wherein I cannot stop, stand in close range, and complain comfortably with a neighbor about the price of rice on my way to the supermarket because I have to brisk-walk my way through all of my errands and come home with an ardent prayer that will last for a week, hoping that I did not contract the virus.
The term is a lie I will use to convince myself that the popular synonym these days for an unacceptable abnormality is “new normal.” While words such as these are normally important for me to make sense of things, I have been too busy processing the magnitude and coping with the effects of COVID-19 on my personal environment to give credence to new word coinage. The busyness has to do with overwhelming simultaneous shifts with the way we think, act, and do things.