A return to normal


So, letís start with a question: Whatís normal?

And, a good next question: Is anything normal?

Iím going with no clue and no as answers. And yet, here we are, all of us thinking individually that weíre each normal and that day to day so are our lives. Which is where the lines blur and the reality gets warped.


Favorite music? Favorite food? Favorite television program? Favorite person in the world?

There are millions of people in the world that hate that band, have no interest in that dinner choice, will not sit through an episode of that show, and really arenít all that interested in that person. (I know that, try my best, thereís at least one person in the world that doesnít like me. Right or wrong, they donít. And deep down, you know thatís true for you as well. Best friends of yours or not, there is someone that doesnít want to spend another second around them.)

(I know. Kind of crazy. David Tennant and Michael Sheen. We ALL should be watching Good Omens. Everyone loves them.)

Used to be that if an album sold one million copies, there was applause, celebration, and likely at least one media report discussing how it contains the songs of the summer. But sell that in just the United States, with more than three hundred million people, those sales numbers mean 299 out of every 300 didnít buy the album. So how is it the album everyoneís talking about? Why are those that didnít buy it presented as the very very small minority instead of the vast majority? Why are those that did buy it portrayed as normal?

We all have our preferences. We all have our way of doing things. And, it should be easy enough to understand and agree upon, if you want to eat one thing while I eat another then none of the differences should matter. Enjoy your meal. Even so, that doesnít make your pizza or my cheeseburger normal. Average, yeah. But normal? Because average and normal are different words that offer only the occasional crossover gray area. (Yup. Itís not normal to use average as normal.)

Every so often people talk about this or that returning to normal. Or some phrase that is worded in a way that suggests heading back to normal. Depending on the subject being covered, we all nod when we hear it, because a return to normal would be welcome. ButÖ okÖ

This summer, Phoenix broke their record of consecutive days reaching at least 110-degrees. Their run lasted 31-days. And the reason it didnít go to 32-days was because on day 32 the official temperature hit a chilly 108.

As I write and edit this, Orlando is in a string of days forecast to reach 97. That will break with a couple of days of 94.

Now, many people would say itís summer. Itís supposed to be hot. High temperatures are normal. Not an outrageous concept. But 110-degrees is hot. And 95-degrees is hot. Still, you cannot just put the two together willy-nilly and call them normal in the same sentence. And thenÖ

Same time, sections of New York? Buffalo? Letís use Buffalo. 76 then 77 then 74 thenÖ see where this is going? Whatís normal? Where are the borders set up? Whatís the line?

Sure, itís not arbitrary. We can set lines. We know Phoenix is not Orlando is not Buffalo. Thatís why the difference in the summer is obvious on the thermometer, but for the winter we measure the difference by comparing feet of snow to bare ground.

Still, normal. Iím the judge of it in my house. Youíre the judge in your house. A bit of an overlap, but Iím guessing not everything matches up.

Iím going to make some dinner. Maybe watch some television while I eat. Donít know what youíve got planned. (Chances are good it will probably be pretty normal.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com