A satire about the pandemic based on the classic, “I Want a Wife” by Judy Brady.
I belong to the classification of people known as pandemic quaranteamers. I live in a bubble with my tight-knit social circle that includes a husband and a few family members. And, not altogether incidentally, I take a firm stance on personal protective equipment and social distancing. As such, I lack a normal life.
Not too long ago an extroverted and skeptical friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent excursion to a bar. He had dinner and drinks, which was, he claimed, scrumptious. He is looking for another outing. As I thought about him while I opened a can of Campbell’s vegetable soup one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to return to a normal life that allows me to be social and venture out into the world. Why, you ask, do I miss my normal life?
I would like to go back to having conversations where I can bear witness to facial expressions, not worry about six feet of separation, and, if need be, eavesdrop on the next table for inspiration when I lack something witty to say. I also want a life that will inspire me and provide new experiences. I want my normal life to dissipate my current feelings of boredom and malaise.
I want a life that enables me to not only plan but keep doctor and dentist appointments. Actually, I want a life so over scheduled with appointments, I struggle to remember them. I want a life that permits me to visit the doctor when sick without fear of becoming even more ill.
I want a normal life that nurtures me socially and intellectually. My life should make sure I have time to socialize with peers; that provides walks through the park, trips to bookstores and beaches, and coffee dates. I want a life that will allow me to peruse clothes at the mall and take them to the cleaners after they have been worn to work. And if I venture out on a weekend excursion, I’d like to live without fear of the dog sitter bringing something worse than scooped poop into the house with her.
The return to a life full of services would be nice. I want to not worry when my car has an oil change and tune up about how many hands touched the steering wheel or if they wore gloves. I want a life that will allow me to hire someone to keep my house immaculate. I want a life that will allow me to rest in an exotic location. I look forward to an existence that will allow me to go to a hotel and have someone pick up after me.
I want a life that gives me a reason to shower, dress up, and go out to dinner, bored as I am of canned soups and bagged salads. I want to eat with gusto. I want an existence that allows me time off from cooking meals and provides numerous options other than drive-thru take out. I want to plan menus involving more than a single weekly visit to the grocery store or an Amazon Pantry delivery. I want some place to be.
I want a normal life where I will not fear returning to work because of the constant news feeds detailing every aspect of the pandemic. An existence that allows for five days a week, in-person schooling without the fear of exposure after a student removes their mask to sneeze. I want to see faces in my classroom. I want a life that will allow me to teach in front of a full class of smiling (or sneering) faces, the ability to peer over a student’s shoulders, and have one-on-one, in-person conferences. I want a life that will allow for Socratic seminars and whole group discussion with students sitting in a circle around the classroom. I want noisy peer reviews and department meetings in a single room rather than by Zoom. I want a life that takes care of my student’s needs as much as my own.
When I return to my normal life after this pandemic one, I want the liberty to INSTANTLY replace my present life with that one. Naturally, I will expect my fresh, new normal life to involve little responsibility, few restrictions, and much freedom.
Who wouldn’t want a normal life?