06 July 2021

back to normal

Numbers are really low, summer is lovely, people are getting vaccinated and maybe this country will get its shit together and kids will be next, school will be fitted with those amazing air ventilators that are already installed in most offices and court rooms and government buildings - we have the top range one at work. Still.

I got mad at a young pharmacist today who served me with her mask hanging below her chin. Masks indoors are still stipulated here. She was all chirpy with reassurances about how it's all over and anyway, masks are just so cumbersome when you need to wear them all day. I hissed at her something about lucky she was just a pharmacist and not working in an operating theater. And back home I wrote a sharp email to the manager of the branch. I am not that kind of person, normally.

This evening I went back to rewatching Mad Men, currently bingeing on season 5, the episode where Roger Sterling asks "When are things going back to normal?" (his context is 1966) and if I could, I would tell him, not ever, man, not ever.

. . . in reality, the crisis we just experienced was waking from a dream, a confrontation with the actual reality of human life, which is that we are a collection of fragile beings taking care of one another, and that those who do the lion’s share of this care work that keeps us alive are overtaxed, underpaid, and daily humiliated, and that a very large proportion of the population don’t do anything at all but spin fantasies, extract rents, and generally get in the way of those who are making, fixing, moving, and transporting things, or tending to the needs of other living beings. It is imperative that we not slip back into a reality where all this makes some sort of inexplicable sense, the way senseless things so often do in dreams.

David Graeber



  1. I just read this and noticed it is listed as being posted on July 6. It's 8:11 pm on July 5th right now for me. Fun. And I'm glad you wrote a letter to the manager.

  2. Anonymous06 July, 2021

    We still wear our masks whenever we go shopping, but have started to notice that some employees are going maskless these days. Our governor lifted the mask mandate, but some stores still asked that of their employees and they complied. The Delta Variant is getting very strong here in California. Supposedly Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will protect for that, but there have been some cases lately with vaccinated people.
    This is definitely a confrontation with reality, but what people take away from the confrontation will be up to their own politics and psyches. I have no idea what comes next.
    I hope you stay well and healthy there, Sabine.

  3. That quote is amazing.

  4. and now news out of Israel is that the vaccines are not as effective against the Delta variant. only 66/68% at a time when people are letting their guards down. myself. we did not wear masks at the art festival, no one did. and while it was outside it was also in tents crowded with lookers. I'm thinking now, how foolish and hope the Delta variant hasn't made it here yet. guess I won't relax for another week or so. we've reached a sort of plateau in vaccinations here. too many people unwilling to get jabbed. republican states trying to pass laws forbidding companies from requiring employees to be vaccinated to work there. I guess the unvaccinated will have to start dying in droves again.

  5. So glad you wrote the letter to the manager. It may help someone else not catch Covid. I did a customer survey back last year when registering in a hospital/doctors office, and where it said, do you wish to comment? I added that the woman registering me would not pull her mask over her nose when I asked her to, and I even said I'd feel much more comfortable if she did. Every time I went in for follow ups I saw that she was wearing her mask appropriately. She must see 50-100 people a day, most of whom have illnesses already.

  6. Hospitalizations are way down here which is wonderful. I still wear my mask when out. Nobody has asked me why yet but I have an answer, inside my head, even though I would never say it unless provoked, "Because I'm not a cunt.". Such things give me pleasure just thinking about them. I am not a gentle woman:)

  7. Sadly, life is mostly going back to the way it was with the fixers and movers still under resourced and taken for granted. I wear my mask in public as a signal to others that I care about my fellow humans. Masks are increasingly coming off inside people's homes though. I worry about the unvaccinated children.