The New Normal

A phrase that’s been thrown around a lot here in the UK.

While much of the world has moved on and started to get back to normal, we seem to be dragging our heels a little.

In fact, just this last week our promised “freedom day” where all restrictions would be lifted has been bumped back by another month. That means some businesses here have been forbidden from trading for over 450 days… with another month now still to go.

The press have been very keen to push the idea that things will never go back to how they were before.

And it’s something I’ve given some thought to.

Will things ever be exactly the same again? Will we be mask free or will mask-wearing become a seasonal thing in line with the viral season? Will we ever have packed pubs and clubs filled with drunken teens and twenties dancing the night away?

Who knows?

Despite the recent delay and the frustrations you can feel emanating from the public here, things are slowly reopening and getting back to some kind of normality.

A few weeks ago I got to go back to my beloved Villa Park to watch the last footie game of the season.

It was my team – Aston Villa- against Chelsea.

Now, I’ve been to a lot of games. In fact, Villa Park feels a bit like my second home. So I wondered what it would be like returning after such a long time away and with covid guidelines in place.

Due to the size of the stadium, 10,000 spectators were allowed and I was lucky enough to secure some tickets.

It felt so good to be there.

Some things were a little different – we had to wear masks and follow one-way signs. Seating was spaced out and overall it was very well organised.

It felt almost normal.

The most “odd” thing that happened was when I went to the bathroom.

Now, I know Villa Park like the back of my hand but with all the one way systems in place, I wasn’t sure how to get to the lavvie.

So I asked a security guard… “Alright mate, which way to the loos?”

He replied, “Are you male or female?”

No kidding.

I said “Sorry?” Thinking I’d misheard him…

“Are you male or female?” He replied.

Now, if you haven’t met me let me just give you a little description of myself… I’m a tall, large very masculine, beer-drinking, football-loving Brummie. There’s nothing female about me at all…

When I questioned the security guard, he apologized and explained that they’ve been told they HAVE to ask – for fear of upsetting someone who’s transgender/non-binary.

The world’s gone mad! So many rules and regulations.

The question is – will it ever not be mad in future? Will we ever go back to the old normal or is “the new normal” that the press has been banging on about really here to stay?

If you ask me, I think we’re in for a bit of both.

I think some things will slowly fade away – like standing 2 metres apart in a queue and wearing masks. Whereas others – like table service in pubs – will stick around.

What do you think? Has your country gone barmy with restrictions and regulations too?