Leeds Maybe the pandemic really is over officially, at least if travel is any indication. I was suspicious before leaving New Orleans for England, when I was able to actually print my boarding passes, including for the Newark to London leg. How could this be possible? Yes, there was no vax check going to Canada, but there was still a requirement to go on the ArrivCanada app and verify vaccinations and be prepared for a random screening and test. No requirement now? It felt so retro. So normal.
Masks? You have to be kidding. There were a couple on the plane, but mainly when they got on and off. In the airport, virtually none in New Orleans or London. The headlines are warning about how bad the flu will be this winter, but folks seem not to have taken the Covid experience into their life practice. People seem to be taking the flu and any other potential malady, face forward, I might say.
I especially welcomed this return to normal, since so much else in the world seems topsy-turvy. With the mid-term elections looming and so many doom scrolling their way through papers and polls, being on the other side of the ocean might have seemed like a bit of respite, but not these days.
Headlines in England, the vaunted home of boring stability, seem quite the opposite. The country seems in a deep dive that hasn’t hit bottom yet. The economy is in shambles and that looks good compared to the government, which is on its fourth prime minister in five years, and still reeling from division and scandal. They aren’t alone of course in creating the crazy in our world. The second it looked like we may have missed the bullet in Brazil, I read that Bolsonaro’s supporters are asking the military to intervene and block Lula’s return to office. The military dictatorship is still within the living memory of many Brazilians, how could anyone there even let those words escape their mouths, much less think that way? Israel might return Netanyahu to office in its fifth election in less than four years, while he’s on trial for corruption. Italy’s Berlusconi is hovering around the edge of power again after years in the wilderness, having been in charge there and involved in countless scandals.
Who are we to talk. Reportedly, the Republicans, giddy about their chances of taking control of Congress, are not only talking about reducing support for Ukraine in its struggle over Russia’s invasion, but are talking about cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare. If senior citizens and opposition to the Russian commies aren’t sacred cows to Republicans, then it’s time to once again ask, “who are these people?”
If this is the long-rumored zombie apocalypse, then maybe it’s time we all dusted off our masks, so that we can pretend the last couple of pandemic years weren’t abnormal, but actually normal after all? At least we’ll be harder to recognize when they come after us!