new normal

we met at the turn of the corner by Annie’s house, and after Am- taped the large happy birthday banner to the left side of her car, one large enough to block the massive doors of her SUV, and Al-’s son stuck his body out of the sunroof holding a poster that said “Happy Birthday, Annie and Y-!” all of the drivers in the procession of cars started beeping.

beep beep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

beeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeep

this was a new normal for us. i had seen a few families on my block celebrate like this with their friends. there would be two or three cars parked in front of a house, beeping until the owners came out with their families, and from a distance they talked to each other, dropped off gift bags and flowers at the foot of the driveway or the porch, some yelled from their cars. there were posters they carried or signs they put on their windows. my friends had all attended birthdays or graduations like this. Al-’s sister had a makeshift wedding in her backyard with her immediate family, and their extended family and friends had a zaffih drive-by outside when the bride was leaving her parent’s house to go with her husband to theirs.

apparently, the spread of covid-19 has slowed considerably enough that NJ will begin opening outdoor seatings in restaurants and non-essential businesses on the 15th (three months after we went into quarantine), but as of Monday in 24 hours, we had results of 500+ new cases. since last week, i’ve been thinking to myself, it seems like we’ve adapted, we've just grown used to to the notion, three months later, that this is how we’ll be living for the foreseeable future, and for those of us privileged enough to do so, we’ve made do.

today, we were watching a movie, and the mother in the movie said something about her kid having to go to school in the morning, so as she was getting dressed i thought to myself, “weird, where is she going? aren’t all classes remote?” and then i realized, this only started three months ago.

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