Dreaming of the Old Normal
Last night I dreamed of the “Old Normal”, the one we called previously life.
Visiting a museum.
Walking up a mountain.
Have a party with friends.
Paddling a canoe on the river.
Watching children play soccer.
Smile at a person on the subway.
Sitting in the sun eating ice cream.
Eating lunch with friends or co-workers.
Having a barbecue with my extended family.
Quickly grabbing groceries at the supermarket.
Feeling the wind on my face, cruising on a catamaran.
Chatting with the waiter while eating Pho in my favorite restaurant.
Reading in the shadow after swimming for an hour in the Atlantic Ocean.
Sitting on a bench with a perfect view of the river, watching ships going by.
But then I wake up and open my eyes. It is dark outside, cold, and rainy. The weather is matching the mood of this world.
I recently gave away a few dozen books. Thirty of the books have now a new owner I never met. She wanted to have a contactless handover. To be safe. I put the books in front of my door. I admit I peeked through the peephole when she rang the bell. The New Normal.
It’s lunchtime and I go for a walk. I see faceless children coming from school, nobody is talking or laughing. Empty eyes. I read that 500 children tried to kill themselves in the second lockdown. No wonder, I wore my mask for less than eight hours in total in 2021, they have to wear it eight hours a day. The New Normal.
I pass by a bridge and a woman yells at me, I should keep six feet distance. Six feet away, six feet under. I always mix those two up. The New Normal.
When I walk through the park, I see the blue light of four police cars parking. Eight faceless policemen surround a bench with a middle-aged woman sitting on it. They yell at each other. She wants to be left alone, I hear. She must have committed a serious crime. I wonder. She must be dangerous. Otherwise, you wouldn’t send four police cars, right? As I walk by, I see she is probably just drunk and depressed. The police grab her roughly and strap her hands with plastic bands and push her inside a car. The New Normal.
I follow a path through the woods and see two faceless seniors walking behind each other. The path is wide. They see me and walk off the path into the mud. Better dirty shoes than to be dead, I assume. The New Normal.
Back at home, I open the news. I see hate, discrimination, lies, and propaganda. I read that around 30,000 “Neo-Nazis” and “Plague Deniers” walk each Monday in the whole country to demonstrate against the political measures. I learn it’s probably more than 100,000 people, getting more each week. Journalists wouldn’t lie, would they? I watch a few videos of the marches. I see families, children, and seniors; I see the middle of the population. I see people fed up with the broken promises, lies, division, and hate of politicians. I don’t see any “Neo-Nazi”, though. The New Normal.
When the people did their Monday walks in 1989 to demonstrate for a reunification, the SED call the people “Neo-Nazis”, too. This has a tradition here.
The measures are dire, but there is room to grow. Fiji leads the charts of the worst of the worst, we are #2. China is on #6. How can we be worse than a dictatorship? The New Normal.
Munich made walking illegal, I read. At least the walkers don’t get attacked by paramilitary troops and attack dogs, like in Amsterdam. They get fined €3,000 or dragged into a police car and beaten up behind a curtain. The New Normal.
Another 25-year-old soccer player collapsed and died today from a heart attack and a news anchorman collapsed on live TV. FIFA reports a 5-fold increase in sudden cardiac and unexplained deaths among FIFA athletes in 2021. Damn, climate change is getting really nasty. The New Normal.
I regret opening the news. I rarely open the news these days.
I see a video on Twitter of people standing in line for more than a kilometer on a Sunday morning in the rain to get the Eucharist. I heard it is blessed and will protect its recipient in 37% of the time of getting a running nose, headache, and a sore throat for three days. The New Normal.
I am accompanying a friend to a nearby lake. She has been in pain for weeks. There must have been poison in her Eucharist. This happens extremely rarely, the government promises. She takes off her shoes and walks in shallow water. I think I see a smile.
Eucharist is a funny word. Where did I read it? I remember. 500 years before Jesus took the drink with his apostles, people traveled for the Eleusinian Mysteries a long distance from Athens to Eleusis to receive a holy substance. Every religion needs mythic tales, holy items, prophets, obedience, rituals, taboos, pariahs, and enemies. Religion has a comeback. Maybe we can observe self-flagellation again soon.
When the Antonine Plague hit the Roman Empire between 165 and 180 AD, it killed 10 percent of the population. In Rome alone, 2,000 people per day died. Emperor Marcus Aurelius sold his treasures to help fight the disease, before he died from the plague himself. Our leaders enrich themselves instead.
I learn that psychologists believe the world is in a mass conformity psychosis. Isolation and alternating phases of terror and relaxation. This is how totalitarian states keep their power. With Menticide. Another funny word.
Fear is the mind-killer. Paul Atreides knew this.
I close the browser and put my phone in the drawer. It’s getting dark. Do I watch a TV Show? I read that Black Mirror didn’t get the 6th season because everybody was already too depressed by reality. I used to love playing dystopian games like Deus Ex or Half-Life 2. You can turn off the PlayStation at any time. You can’t turn off reality.
I decide to read a book instead. I never read much fiction. Now I love fiction. When the glow of my e-book reader shrouds the darkness with cold, white light, I get tired. My eyes close and I drift away. I hope I dream again of the Old Normal.
NRZ (2022): Corona: Dramatischer Anstieg bei Suizidversuchen von Kindern, https://www.nrz.de/region/corona-dramatischer-anstieg-bei-suizidversuchen-von-kindern-id234241693.html. ↩︎
Tichys Einblick (2022): „Montagsspaziergänge“: Über 100.000 Menschen demonstrieren in Deutschland gegen Corona-Maßnahmen, https://www.tichyseinblick.de/daili-es-sentials/montagsspaziergaenge-3-januar-hunderte-staedte/. ↩︎
Stefan Homburg (2022): https://twitter.com/SHomburg/status/1478804761088786432 ↩︎
Agentur dpa (2021): "Corona-Spaziergänge" verboten: Bayerische Großstadt macht nach Randale ernst, https://www.nordbayern.de/politik/corona-spaziergange-verboten-bayerische-grossstadt-macht-nach-randale-ernst-1.11677526. ↩︎
Guerrilla Reporters (2022): https://twitter.com/GuerrillaRepor1/status/1477624939113029634 ↩︎
Disclose.tv (2022): https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1478338456044642309 ↩︎
Josh O’Brien (2022): Marcos Menaldo dead: Deportivo Marquense star, 25, dies after cardiac arrest in training, https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/marcos-menaldo-dead-heart-attack-25850291. ↩︎
The COVID World (2022): Brazilian TV Presenter Rafael Silva Suffers Cardiac Arrest During Live Broadcast 1 Week After Receiving COVID-19 Booster Shot, https://thecovidworld.com/brazilian-tv-presenter-rafael-silva-collapses-from-cardiac-arrest-one-week-after-covid-booster-shot/. ↩︎
Mordechai Sones (2021): 5-fold increase in sudden cardiac and unexplained deaths among FIFA athletes in 2021, https://americasfrontlinedoctors.org/2/frontlinenews/500-increase-in-sudden-cardiac-and-unexplained-deaths-among-fifa-athletes-in-2021/. ↩︎
Sarah A. Buchan et al (2022): Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron or Delta infection, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.30.21268565v1. ↩︎
Brian Muraresku (2020): The Immortality Key: Uncovering the Secret History of the Religion with No Name. ↩︎
Joost A.M. Meerloo (1956): The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing. ↩︎
Frank Herbert (1965): Dune. ↩︎
James Hibberd (2020): Black Mirror creator not working on season 6 because we already feel depressed, https://ew.com/tv/black-mirror-season-6-coronavirus/. ↩︎