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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 8

05/12/2020 04:18:53 PM

May12

Rimma Golovanov

Talking about the "new normal" is a touchstone of the new normal. This signature topic features comments regarding its abnormalities combined with remarks about moments of beauty. Ingredients also include anxious conclusions focusing on its uncertainty - and a compulsion to join the discussion. 

As a non-essential worker (both before and during the outbreak, some would say, regarding lawyers), I've been working from home while relishing the sweet moments with my young children - a situation that, to my surprise, has done little to assuage working-mom guilt.  Sure, sometimes we bake together, sometimes we play a game.  But often I whisper-yell threats for them to quiet down during work calls, and sometimes I stoically smile-glare warnings to stay out of the camera's view during video conferences.

I'm more hands-on with the kids' schooling, and was able to add some colorful language to my toddler's vocabulary when she walked into my officekitchroom just as my computer froze.  I then became more conscious of the fact that my 3 year old can barge into my workplace without warning, and made sure to utter "shhhhhucks!" the next time I found it unavoidable. She delighted in my restraint. Her quote was: "You didn't say sh*t!"  

The possible lack of educational progress might not be the most embarrassing aspect of returning to school, after all.

Naturally, the concept of "work hours" has shifted at home, molding rigidly around conference calls and otherwise flexibility the rest of the day. This break from midtown office-life lets me choose bike riding with the kids instead of brief writing (with the kids), but at the cost of my evenings. 

"So when do you Netflix?" one might ask, raising a very valid concern.  With the days rotating wildly and indistinguishably between childcare/education, homemaking (quaint version of removing filth and feeding kids), and pleading "no I can't, I'm technically at work now!" there is precious little time for quiet relaxation. Leaving me occasionally behind on work or online shopping, and often (blissfully) unaware of current events and the latest conspiracy theories.

So for now, it turns out, this new normal is the thoroughly awkward combination of ultra-modern practices: virtual court conferences, telemedicine, zoom friendships, and microchip implants (ok, I’m a little up to date on the conspiracies) — with pioneer woman living: gardening, discussing the weather as if we’re preparing to harvest before a dreary winter, baking bread, pickling produce, churning butter (accidentally over-blended heavy cream, was very upsetting), schooling the young, feeling far removed from the big city, and, if the oil lamp is still burning that evening, wondering what the Big Changes around the corner mean for our society, both globally and as Jews.

By: Rimma Golovanov

Wed, August 12 2020 22 Av 5780