Dubai: With the curse of coronavirus upon us, one would have thought that its cathartic course would change us forever. Its ravaging impact on humanity shook even the most apathetic amongst us. As the global death toll kept mounting, every passing figure left behind a story of unimaginable trauma. And as country after country went into lockdown, we couldn’t help but acknowledge all that we had taken for granted.
The pandemic, in short, resulted in a turbulent purge, pushing us to break free from the shackles of our burdened past. It gave us a chance to pause and ponder, perhaps even gain from the pain, if we could.
Yet, as businesses reopen and cities begin to reboot, even the new normal that just dawned upon us a few days ago already seems like a cliché. In the past couple of months, we learnt some hard lessons, but we already seem to be unlearning them.
Here are 10 seemingly innocuous signs that expose a deeper mindless malaise:
1. The ‘forever victim’ view
Once a COVID-19 victim, always a victim – at least that is how many around us see even friends and family members who have survived the deadly disease. The large majority of COVID-19 patients recover well - and fully - and the last thing they need is any misplaced sympathy.
2. Playing the race card
Although coronavirus has cut across boundaries, there is a tendency to still look at people from some countries that were once hot zones with reservation. But if the novel coronavirus ever had a virtue, it is the fact that it does not discriminate between caste, colour and creed.
3. Uncovering the truth
Despite the authorities mandating that everyone who steps outside their homes should wear a mask, not everybody does. And not everyone who wears a mask, wears it right. But make no mistake, when our mask is off, it only exposes the scant value we have for other people’s lives.
4. In gay abandon
The same goes for dumping masks and gloves in public places. “Who cares?” is what we’re effectively saying every time we do it. But let’s remember, what goes around does comes around.
5. Touchy issue
Leaving our imprint everywhere we go is certainly unwarranted, yet old habits die hard and some supermarket shoppers think nothing of feeling and re-feeling the fresh produce they need to buy. Now, even if a pair of gloves is used, it remains a touchy matter.
6. Washing our hands off
Yes, not washing our hands when we should, amounts to washing our hands off any responsibility to stop the spread of coronavirus. Our dirty hands may not matter to some of us, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t matter to others either.
7. Bless you!
When was the last time we sneezed (or coughed) without covering our mouth? Haven’t given it a thought, right? So let’s not count our blessings there. No one’s in a mood to say “Bless you!” these days.
8. Just a formality
Signs to remind us to maintain a 1.5-2 metre distance from others can be seen everywhere we go, but many amongst us are oblivious to them. The bizarre rationale: The protocols may be in place, but it’s not always possible to follow them.
9. Too close for comfort
Violations of the distance deal are more pronounced at supermarket counters, ATMs and the like where some of us think nothing of standing just a breath away from others, never mind what that could mean to them. Just back off, why can’t we get that?
10. Long time no cut
It’s almost as if some of us have missed being off the roads during the movement restrictions. Now that we’re back in full throttle, so are those old practices – from speeding and cutting lanes to tailgating and talking on the phone while driving.
Will we ever change? Well, hope springs eternal.