Shiralkar: The elusion of normalcy


Columnist Parth Shiralkar encourages others to see the entertainment in the normalcy of daily living. 

Parth Shiralkar

“Call me Ishmael,” I wake up at 2 p.m. and tell my mirror in complete confidence. In addition to being one of the most popular opening lines of a novel, this sentence has also been a great help with my dialogue delivery as an outcast, inside my own house, trapped with visions of an elusive white whale: the promise of a normal social life any time soon.

There are several ways this whole COVID-19 situation could progress. Things could look up relatively fast, with the virus coming under control in a span of four to five months. That’s enough time to complete a season or two of “One Piece.” Enough time to write a novel, maybe. But that has nothing to do with how great it would be to step out of my house and see a familiar face (better yet, an unfamiliar face) and chat with them about unimaginative topics like the weather, bread, quantum mechanics and the world’s recent brush with a pandemic.

But it appears that vaccines have a mind of their own, insofar that they cannot be brought into mass production till they pass all tests. These tests take time, approximately 18 months for COVID-19 in particular. Testing on animals, testing on humans, checking if the vaccine generates the right antibodies and leaves the rest of the bloodstream alone, working to make it dumbass-proof, the whole nine yards.

So what do you do? You do you, as it goes. Although I’m not particularly fond of a lot of people, I do not classify as antisocial, no. I wave to people from my window whenever I can, and I call my friends to tell them about the patterns in my living room carpet. Did you know that crop circles can actually be domesticated if you give them enough protein? Fascinating stuff.

I’m sure that any person worth their weight in toilet paper is bound to make it through these trying times. We are social creatures; there’s a reason solitary confinement is seen as something to be avoided in prisons, second only to letting go of soap bars at unfortunate times. Contact is important, if not imperative. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that communities all over the world are being strengthened. There’s definitely a delicious poem out there about something regarding the necessity of a collective enemy to bring us all closer (Tiger King on Netflix).

I hate being cooped up at home. It is driving me to better hobbies and worse jokes. Humor is difficult when there is a lag in the punchlines (looking at you, WebEx). Somehow, one of the good things coming out of this is that I have more time to think about doing things. It’s like daydreaming in full HD. My step-tracker has its own abandonment issues now.

Regardless, I think, it doesn’t hurt to hope in moderation. There is a long list of things I’m trying out, such as new recipes from the internet, as adventurous an activity as it gets. I may well have forgotten what a sleep schedule is, but I haven’t forgotten to remind readers to wash your hands and call your friends. Stay safe.