Anomie is defined as “social instability caused by a steady erosion of standards and values.” Using that definition, I have previously written in this space about anomie in the context of Trumpism, and its adverse impact on our standards and values.
Today, however, another definition of anomie applies; namely, “normlessness,” and that has little to do with Trump and everything to do with the coronavirus. We have been thrust into an unprecedented period of economic and physical uncertainty.
So now is a good time to take a lighthearted look at some of our behavioral changes:
* There is a popular new dance I call the Corona Shuffle. It’s a two-step/sidestep we do with tentative smiles and hand gestures when we approach people too closely, whether indoors or outdoors. Good rhythm is not required and put to music, it might replace the Electric Slide.
* Intelligent people are watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island.”
* Men are actually taking the initiative with household chores. I did two washes in one day last week and cleaned my computer screen and every pair of glasses I own.
* Young people’s disinterest in reading the printed word has spilled over to their parents and beyond. Admittedly, it is easier to read a phone than a newspaper in the bathroom.
* We are drinking more.
* Couples that are working from home together are discovering previously unknown work habits, noises and organizational skills (or the lack thereof) exhibited by people they thought they knew.
* Domestic animals provide solace for some and annoyance to others. Walking a dog is finally something to look forward to. However, without mice, there is no escape from cats.
* Who would have thought our primary source of credible updates on the pandemic would be from a cute 79-year-old previously unknown Italian doctor instead of the president? And then there are the vice president’s amazing mechanical eyebrows.
* I found a construction mask and decided it would render me safe for a visit to CVS. The problem was that I wore glasses instead of contact lenses and the mask fogged my glasses so I could barely see.
The question became – do I wander around aimlessly and practice life as a vision-impaired person, stop breathing, or take off my mask and risk illness? So, I left my mask on, found a Hershey bar through the haze and mistakenly paid $10 for it because I could not read the self-service kiosk prompts.
*A friend told me about a toilet paper-type run on nose hair scissors. Evidently, they are capable of errant hair removal from multiple body parts and couples in close contact during quarantine are now grooming each other.
The good news? Obstetricians are expecting a mini baby boom next year, so buy stock now in the companies that make baby-related products.
Richard Ross is a freelance writer and mediator living in Amesbury.