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Is this the new normal?

By KEA YENGST

As I look out the window of my house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the thought of normality infects my thoughts like a pandemic. I’m still trying to get over the fact that less than two weeks ago, I was surrounded by my peers in a warm, loving environment with those I considered family, inside and out of the classroom. 

Fast forward to the present and the norm is completely the opposite, having everyone sheltered in their homes by law, and constant reports of infections, deaths and COVID-19 fill my head. 

As the cases of coronavirus surge globally, the idea of “normal” begins to slowly fade away from my memory. I start to forget the times where I could stay less than six feet away from another person or I could shake hands with new teachers and employers or even walk the streets of downtown San Francisco or Berkeley, bumping into at least one person before I got to my destination. 

Now, once populated and rambunctious cities are silenced, leaving few if any souls meandering around the area. In airports, innocent passengers face the change of smooth, relaxing travels into trips interrupted by tests, fear and even low airfares. 

Groceries stores and suppliers are being raided for household essentials, leaving the shelves empty and bare before 9 a.m., and the once tourist-filled Ocean Avenue is now abandoned, leaving only a few shops and restaurants open. 

As I turn on the television to try to take my mind off of this infectious virus, I reminisce on days when my peers and teachers would advise me that the virus was “just the flu” or “only affected old people.” 

In a matter of days, Carmel High School has announced more than once extending our time at home, which leads me to the question, when will we be back in school this year, if we ever are? 

I know that, like all things, this will pass, and we will be back to normal living outside of quarantine. Once that time comes, will we even know what normal is?

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