When I turned 30, I gave up driving entirely. Your humble blogger, you see, has a bit of an aggressive personality, and I came to realize that I was making myself and everybody around me miserable when I was on the road (I also got like 4 tickets in two months, surely a soCal record). My abdication of the drivers’ seat was well-timed, however, and I easily transitioned from the front seat of my Civic to the back seat of the burgeoning ride-share economy.
Last week in the parking lot of our local McDonald’s, I had my first Happy Meal in over twenty years (four-piece McNuggets, fries, and a Sprite). My boyfriend had found an online coupon, you see, which gave us a kid’s meal with the purchase of an extra value meal. I didn’t want to cook, he didn’t want to go through the hassle and wait for delivery, and we didn’t want to spend too much money.
I’ve always known we were going to get out of this phase of the pandemic, but this week was the first time I actually could see it playing out. Indeed, what has been a distant promise is slowly becoming a tangible future as concrete plans are being laid across the nation for a gradual relaxing of social distancing standards and a reopening of shuttered businesses. While logistics and timetables are going to vary from state-to-state, county-to-county, and even city-to-city, examining California’s recently announced, four-stage reopening plan offers our first real glimpse at what our new normal will look like and how we will get there.
This lockdown has made for some truly unexpected sights. I never thought I’d see South Coast Plaza’s parking lot entirely empty on a Sunday afternoon, or SoCal’s beaches deserted on the first hot day of the year. But here we are.
As we close out another week, my man and I will do what we do every Friday night these days: We convert our house from office back to home, often in silence, shutting off the news and the work week, allowing the kitchen to temporarily reclaim the counter it loses each week to my standing desk. We wind down with our drink of choice, fade into the weekend, and then sometime Sunday evening, we do the whole thing in reverse. The weekend has to be different, we say. We’ll tune back in on Monday.