The New Normal in Calgary

By Angelina Brendalee

The new normal now means asking someone permission if you can get in the elevator with them rather than going inside even when it’s full just like before. One person per elevator ride has become the thing.

When walking down the street, when someone sees you walking in front of them, they dodge you like the plague. So it’s either you walk on the opposite side or they will.

On my first day back from travelling, the streets were deserted. I work in a shelter as a front-line worker and our daily routine has shifted. Before we take in those who are in need, we have to follow the new rules. It breaks my heart whenever we have to turn away clients due to the new COVID-19 protocols in place. We did manage to avoid an outbreak but this situation still changed everything that used to be.

Before, getting tested was scary and the waiting time was scarier. Now, I’m used to it because of my field of work. However, paranoia is becoming a norm with my anxiety being at its all-time high whenever I cough or sniffle because I get glared at.

We live in a city where coughing or sneezing gets you the cold shoulder. Streets aren’t as busy as they used to be and the once busy Stephen Avenue I grew to love is now deserted. Calgary Stampede, one of the biggest outdoor festivals that has never been postponed, not even during the great flood, is finally cancelled. Raves and festivals which are our only source of connection has been dropped.

It’s weird that things are reopening here even when people are still treating the city as if it’s still scary. When walking with friends, people who are walking alone will give you stares for not social distancing. I even saw people scream at others for not following the social distancing rules.

Even with COVID-19 being no longer that of a big threat as it used to be, this is the new norm – a distrusting world of distance.

I miss the old city life though I’m glad the traffic is gone. But I miss seeing people happy, not the paranoid and scared citizens I’m looking at now. ∎

Author’s Bio

circle-cropped (10)Angelina Brendalee was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She’s half-Filipina and half-Jamaican. She loves dogs, beach side walks, swimming, sunrises, and sunsets and horror stories in Reddit. She is also an active member of #BlackLivesMatter in Canada where she actively participates in the protests.

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