By the end of last Friday, I had been on no less than three Zoom calls within five hours. Each was enjoyable, with talk of weekend plans, common interests, or shooting the breeze after the workweek. The last one was a movie night, where we gathered to drink and watch the 1996 film, The Birdcage.

I was feeling pretty good as I got ready for bed. But partway through my routine, I had curled up on the floor on the verge of tears.

It was something about the movie that set me off. Later I realized it was its setting in South Beach, Florida. It showed huge crowds of people gathering without worrying about a pandemic. They met to have fun, chat with random strangers, and make good memories. After all, what place can you make better memories at than a drag show?

When this started, I'd accepted social distancing as a temporary necessity. I didn't know if I could handle it being the new "normal." Friday night showed me how tough that is, and I may be close to my limit. All the social Zoom meetups can't quite fill the same need as moving about and seeing people in new places. I miss meeting others for my favorite wholesome New Haven activities:

In the best-case scenario, life won't start resembling the old "normal" until the Fall. Even if I assume the best, we're a little more than halfway through the pandemic. Considering this is America, it's more rational to assume the worst. There could be another deadly winter where we chose between infection and loneliness.

I get that sometimes in life, things will just suck. That's the case during a pandemic killing more people than World War II...and counting. I can't do much more than following health guidelines, staying healthy, and donating to good organizations.

I understand and accept all this. But it only makes the struggle so much easier. It only wears down my spirit so much slower.

It doesn't make me miss normal any less.