Last week I had a few interviews, which started with a small talk about how amazing it is to be back to normal.
Kids are returning to school almost the way it was back 17 months ago. The rodeo will look like the rodeos are supposed to look like and it will actually happen. A few other events in the community will and actually did happen the way they used to be when COVID was just a word on a pack of bovine medication, familiar to vets and scientists, but not the rest of us.
Just as it used to be, was Jack Semple's and Last Birds' concert at the Orpheum Theatre that I went to last week. It felt like something real, with people just hanging out and enjoying themselves; with bands, if at all talking about COVID, then only in brief jokes; with drinks and laughs, dances and hugs. Pretty normal was Jeffery Straker's concert a week earlier. It was outdoors, but there were quite a few people out there.
Almost as it used to feels shopping these days, with a few people wearing masks and me and a few others still being more used to staying away from crowded areas (I always was like that though).
Most parts of life so far feel almost normal or are getting there, but the reasons that get me out to participate in as many events as possible, including the two concerts I attended in a matter of just over a week, weren’t normal, so weren’t the reason for us to celebrate the normality of things happening the way they are.
To tell you the truth, to my shame, I hadn't heard of Jack Semple before the Orpheum put on a concert. And I can't say that I'm a huge fan of guitar music. I didn't have to go there for work. But I felt I had to go. The same thing happened a week earlier with Straker's concert. And again, I'm not that much into music. But I'm much into life.
You know the saying, once bitten twice shy. I think that's what happened to me and probably many others with the pandemic.
Seventeen months ago the normal life the way we knew it became impossible due to the threat posed by a contagious and pretty deathly virus (so far it has claimed over 4.5 million lives, and even if the statistic is not that accurate it gives you an idea; that's almost four times the population of Saskatchewan). Since then we've been through ups and downs, and I along with many others understood and accepted things that have been happening throughout this time.
But it doesn't mean that we lost the taste for a life full of activities, events, get-togethers and bright flashes that make great memories, let alone precious family moments.
And for that reason, with active cases once again climbing up in Saskatchewan, I think, I just got worried that soon we'll have to start postponing life to ensure that we still have it.
I'm probably just being paranoid to a point. With over 70 per cent of people in the province vaccinated, we shouldn't overload the healthcare system anymore. Hopefully, if we get sick at all, then we'll just have it in a mild form and be able to stay home, as we do with other, better-known diseases. However, we still don't know enough about this virus and its variants. And after over a year and a half of abnormality, now it's really easy to get all worried, believing that once the numbers go up, we'll see the activities go down.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Monday that they will need either proof of vaccination or a negative test from the fans to attend the games starting Sept. 17. To me, it was a positive thing. Instead of shutting down, organizations and companies are trying to find ways to both keep people safe and keep going with normal life. That's what I hope for in the months to come.
And while Premier Scott Moe said on Monday that we are not going back to mandates and restrictions, it still feels that a lot of things may change even between now and Christmas.
I don't blame anyone for taking anything away from me. I have seen firsthand what COVID-19 does to people; it's no good at all, and I'll do my best to avoid it. But I will be at the rodeo on the weekend, and I will participate in as many events as possible just because I'm a huge fan of normality now. But I'll do so only as long as it's safe for my loved ones and the people around me, and I'll do my best to ensure that.
Normal life is just gorgeous, and I can't believe how damn fortunate I was back in 2019 when every so often I was burning out because of the loaded schedule, not enjoying the amazing job that allows me to be a part of every heartbeat Estevan does.