Typical UG: Recognising that the virus will be with us for a long time. Questions still linger if this is the new normal or the new future and how normal is the new normal.
It’s been over a year since Uganda experienced its first lockdown. Since then, bars have never been opened. Instead, they have been closed, re-closed, and closed by the one and only. Since that time, masks have become our normal. If someone from the 60s came around, they would be in utter shock, everything would look dystopian to them.
But what if this is our new normal?
What if bouncers will never assume the same powers as they did before? In the good old days, bouncers assumed the powers of destiny changers. They assumed the same powers as the owner of the nightclub or hang out session. Then we also had those lounges where parking was always full, except for the flashy cars. If one owned a Vitz or Fielder, it would never stand the test of access to parking. Yet, when a Rover came around, parking immediately happened.
But what if these privileges will never come around?
What if we may never know what it means to go hunting for food in the wee hours after a long night of partying? How will life be if people can’t buy all tribes of bottles and cause havoc in the bar? What will happen to all the skimpy attires we owned? What will happen to the Uber magicians that are always parked outside the bars? Remember that Ntinda rolex guy? What will nightlife be without his presence? What if we never return to normal?
What about the makeup industry?
We spend most of our days masked up. What will this mean for the makeup industry? And not just the makeup industry, the modeling and the dental faculties? We take years before we see people’s smiles. What if a smile will become something for sale? That only a lucky few will get to see the smile of another?
What if hugs become a myth? Given that we are taking all the social distancing measures?
And what if the children will never return to school? Imagine a generation that will never know what it means to have Sosh? Remember when Horizons Girls disappointed some SHACK students in 2008? On that glorious morning, the anticipated SHARIZONA Prom was aborted? It was all because of that one school magazine where the SHACKISTS had compared the Horizon girls to Jurassic park. Will the kids of today have such memories once again? Will they know what Seminars and Club Handover parties meant? How we looked forward to an external seminar or school trip.
What if we may have to deal with the President and his mug of porridge for the rest of our lives? What if it may soon become mandatory for all citizens to eat porridge while watching the Presidential address?
What if curfew becomes a permanent way of life?
What will it mean for marriages? What will it mean when Dad can’t have some time with the boys and mum, sometime with the girls? What if we never get to attend full wedding parties as we did before? What if we all become loners in the process? What if extroverts become outlaws? What if the Mwendas, Mirundis and Gashumbas of this world get blacklisted for defying Covid-19 SOPs with their outspoken approach to life?
What if essential workers become a new class of people?
What is only the privileged get to become essential? For how do we even arrive at this label of ‘essential’? If a man is hustling to put food on the table for his family, isn’t that man essential regardless of his profession? Regardless of whether he is a street vendor or a doctor or even a lawyer? By labelling some as essential, aren’t we discriminating against them? What if discrimination becomes normal under the guise of essential workers?
What if Subarus never had the freedom to fly, swim and drown as they did before?
What will become of life when drinking alcohol, having a moment of fun with friends becomes something to frown upon? Are we outlawing the beauty of life? The fun of hanging out with friends and simply sharing some awesome times together? What if sadness and loneliness becomes the new normal?
What if dying alone becomes the new normal? In the past, people were comforted in seeing off their loved ones in their last days. These people mourned and healed better. What if people never get to heal from the loss of their loved ones? What if we forget about all other ailments and Covid-19 becomes the only focus?
What if travel will forever be expensive?
In the 80s, long before most of you were born, you woke up one morning, drove to the airport and jumped on the next plane to your preferred destination.
Time forward, you are required to check in four hours prior, you are required to have a Covid-19 test certificate, you are required to have a vaccination card, and then, you are required to have a yellow fever vaccine certificate. Now God forbid you’re African and you’re headed to Europe or the USA? That all means a hotel booking, a return ticket, an invitation letter, insurance, bank statement? What if this becomes our permanent normal? Then George Orwell would be right that 1984 is right before us.