Just a few minutes ago, our Governor Wolf announced a return to six on my non-normal grading system … in a weird way. Normal around these parts hasn’t been seen since early March, so I measure typical on a non-normal scale. One being slightly above McDonald’s not having BBQ sauce for our McNuggets, or a freakishly fabulous forty-four degree day for our fourth of July picnics. An abduction by absolutely adorable, astute, astronomically ambidextrous aliens ranking an extreme ten on the other side of my normalcy division. Everything imaginable in between – our banged up toes on strange concrete pylons appearing out of nowhere, politicians with actual good ideas, tv shows about a family losing millions but starting over in an obscure Ontario town, long lines at bank drive-ups, meteors burning up in the atmosphere, global-warming, successful rube goldberg machines, Rose Apothecary purchases, on … and … on. My non-normal grading system application, when properly applied, could rival even the most strident of systems.
Take Politfact for example, since I mentioned Governor Wolf. Well, let’s backtrack for a minute. Today, he announced a return to a 25% capacity on restaurants (from 50%), closing of bars, and stricter business limitations – all in response to our state populous (as a whole) not doing a good job of masking and distancing. Without assuming my political or socio-economic position, just go with me here. This is moving from one non-normal number on my scale to another. We were at a marginal four-ish, now back to a solid six. Sliding away from Honey-Mustard and closer to Mars.
Back to the “Gov.”. According to http://www.fivethirtyeight.com, “First, some quick notes on how PolitFact works and a few words of warning. PolitiFact reporters, researchers and editors grade each statement as true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false or “pants on fire”. This is a six-point system I’d gladly stand against on my scale – it’d be worth the weight. They are on a slippery-scale of opinion, whereas, I am fundamentally sound on solid ground of normal thought. Who’s to say what is a “half-truth, or mostly false”? “Half” and “mostly”, applied to abstracts like truth and false, are subject to interpretation. I’m half crazy, right? Define that in terms of my mostly sane existence … see what I mean?
Nobody – alas NOBODY – thinks where we are right now is anywhere close to normal! I’m simply applying a numerical value to the non-normal space of this time. We understand numbers so much more than words when grasping scalability. Mt Everest is 29, 029 feet high. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long. There are over 7 trillion nerves in the human body … any one capable of being the last one some unfortunate schlep will step on within my existence by week’s end. THAT’S normal!
What wasn’t normal – and has a rather large million dollar number assigned to it – is this yacht – auto social-distancing its way through my hometown. Ten miles per hour, being sluggishly towed along by one very large semi, escorted to the future prom by plenty of local law enforcement officers eager to make sure there was no inappropriate touching, this handsome tug-hug was on its way to Lake Erie via Altoona, Pa. Pennsylvania Electric (Penelec) was in bucket form to raise all necessary lights/wires because Ms. Million-dollar stood tall atop her multi-wheel hull-carrier. She was the Queen of the moment. A traffic stopper – out of necessity and wonder.
Where we stood was normal to our everyday space. What was IN our space was anything but. How often does one see a multi-million dollar gargatron lumber through an intersection, hundreds of miles from any body of water necessary to float a yummy-yielding yacht of this stature? My guess? “Never”, and I yield the floor to PolitFact to grade this answer as “True” (even though “not normal” still applies).
We stand a firm six now. Ugh. I had a nice “at a marginal four-ish” Lemonade and Life lunch today before coming home to see the news about Governor Wolf’s decision. My customers were beautiful today. A very nice couple started a business lately and were excited to tell me about it. Another charming lady experienced loss a few years ago, but came back strong and I suspect great things in the future … for her and her boys. My space wasn’t normal as usual … a great non-normal for me, though.
For all of us, however, the non-normals in our collective space with all this aren’t peachy-keen as we’d like them to be, right? My scale of 1-10 is the social, all-of-us scale I apply to the situation. It is the big picture frame I use to help me understand my place as the extremely small pixel located in that small dot of color down by the lower left corner.
It’s not the non-normals for us – as individuals – that are driving us crazy. We can deals with hangnails, kids and kool aid spills, dog poop, and overcooked macaroni. The non-normals imposed upon our collective space are causing us to take notice of our place and our stance. “Yacht to pay attention to this virus in this way (pick any variation of masking, distancing, droplets, ICU beds, Fauci, Birx, … true, mostly true, half true, etc…)” … is the message slowly crossing through our intersections of reason and emotion every … single … day. It’s no wonder we have no sense of normal anymore… Our wires are being crossed and there’s no help ahead to make sure damage is mitigated. We’re headed to an Erie place.
…And, it’s why Governor Wolf probably reinstated the restrictions today. He’s going to get grief, I can guarantee it just as easy as I can assure you my chocolate milk is waiting in the ‘fridge for my enjoyment in about fifteen minutes.
Not all bad, folks. Pay attention to your color. Your place in the whole picture. You have color. You have life. You have a non-normal that contributes mightily to your experience and your space. This isn’t selfish or self-serving to pay heed to your space and your time. Yeah, we haven’t seen normal since mid-March …but, then again, we never saw a million-dollar yacht dry-surfing through multi-lanes of traffic on its way to a lake.
If I ever come across Martians eating McNuggets at the Rose Apothecary however, something is very wrong with the Universe. Unless, of course, David and Patrick rented Mariah Carey’s yacht for all the fans of Schitt’s Creek … then, maybe, non-normal could be put on hold for a few days.