Normality, Reloaded

in #hive4 months ago


This article is part of my 230 days writing challenge on my personal blog.

What you see in the picture above is my usual breakfast, from before lockdown. I used to go to a coffee shop called Flying Bean, close to the Belen subway station in Valencia, just across the street from the Chinese barrio. I would normally take a double espresso, as coffee there is very good. The owners are hardcore coffee lovers and they serve the entire fancy spectrum of brews: espresso, filtered, V60, cold brew and so on. I tried quite a few of these, but eventually settled with the espresso. I’m a simple man, I like simple things.

I would also ask for a tostada, most of the time with aguacate y tomate. Usually I was the first one there, so they had no one else to serve. We would chat for a while, Spanish style, and sometimes they would ask me to try out various tostada combinations. They even tempted me with a caponata once and it was very good – one of the two camarreros is Italian. In exchange, I brought them, a few days later, a jar of zacusca.

After a few weeks of many tostada combinations, I settled with a specific one. Nothing spectacular or unexpected (aguacate y tomate is kind of a staple combination for tostadas, at least here, in Valencia). But just because it was my combination, they agreed to call it “tostada Dragos”. Sometimes, when I was meeting with other digital nomads there, I was recommending them to try my tostada. Almost all thought I was joking, until they were actually ordering it at the bar.

Yeah, those were really good times.

Normality, Reloaded

Yesterday I wrote my daily blog post from Flying Bean’s terrace. It was the first time I could work in a coffee shop terrace, after 77 days.

This morning I went there again to have my morning coffee. They didn’t open fully yet, as the current de-escalation stage only allows for the terraces to function, and nothing inside. Starting tomorrow, Valencia will enter stage 2, which means they will be able to receive people inside, but only at 30% capacity.

I wore a mask all the way until there and everybody at all the tables outside was wearing one. The 2 camarreros were also wearing gloves. After I ordered my double espresso, I remembered about my tostada.

— Are you still making tostada “Dragos”? I asked.

— Yes, of course, as always, the owner answered me.

— Then I would very much want one, please.

What I got is in the picture of this post. It looks (and it tasted) exactly the same as before. But, except that, and the streets and the tables, nothing was exactly the same as before. We were talking to each other through masks and our social media feeds were filled with apocalyptic news about the pandemic (when they weren’t filled with apocalyptic news about social unrest, or economic failure). No more beach pictures from Bali, or endless controversies about which side you should put your toilet paper roll: facing the wall, or facing opposite the wall. Suddenly, those silly and superficial memes were the epitome of a good, enjoyable life.

I know that from tomorrow another small change will bring us all closer to “normality”: we will be able to take a seat inside the coffee shop and have our desayunos at our regular tables. Only 30% capacity, but still. And, if nothing goes wrong, in another week we will be traveling again, at least inside Spain.

The Dream That Wasn’t A Dream

As more and more small things from before lockdown are reinstated, I have the distinct feeling of getting up in the morning after a long, terrible and extremely realistic nightmare. The kind that you wake up from it a few times in a row, only to realize you’re still in a dream, inside a dream, inside another dream, Inception-like. A 77 days long nightmare, which is still lingering around, as I toss myself from one side to another, desperately trying to unglue myself from the bed.

Every time you wake up from a nightmare, at least 3 things happen.

First, there is an incredible sense of relief. That scary thing is gone. Over. You’re surrounded by your familiar setup and you stomach is not cringing anymore.

Second, you feel extremely tired. It’s like, without even realizing it, you fought all this aggressive, upside-down reality, resisted, crawled, ran and now you can finally rest.

And third, as you slowly insert yourself into your daily routine, you somehow still carry deep down, buried under your every day chores and tasks and hopes and little joys or disappointments, the fear for the next nightmare. It’s like it’s never really, really, really gone. Just hiding.

And, in a twisted, almost incomprehensible way, this very fear makes your new normality, freshly re-discovered, reloaded like a new level of the same game, a gazillion more times more enjoyable.

That tostada was now, after 77 days of lockdown, a thousand times tastier, specifically because I knew I could lose it the next second.

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I'm a geek, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Hive you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.

Dragos Roua

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I don't think people are going to like the "new normal". I feel as if we still have a ways to go before any semblance of real normality actually kicks in. Look at Hive and Steem, what has really changed with the control code? Nothing really. The new reality is the same as the old reality in many senses. change the name the players remain the same, no real change other than a simple name.

We will wait I guess and see if we can create something new and different than what was on steem. We will wait and see if some new normal will come about in the world. I have my doubts, if a small diverse group of people can not make a change happen on something as small scale as Hive, then why think a new normal will come into being in the world at large.

For me, the new normal related to Hive / Steem makes a huge difference. The mere fact that we're not a centralized entity is enough to color it in a better nuance. Yes, some of the players are still the same, but the resistance to advance is smaller. At least that's how I feel now, we'll see how it goes.

Really that is all we can do, wait and see if there is going to be any real change. I am still waiting to see if there really will be a change, we still have down vote issues, we still have black list issues, we still have the exact same witness system as before. While it may appear and be stated by some that the "Ninja mined tokens" are no longer in play, that is only a half truth, unless that stake is burned someone has the keys to it.

So the reality is we sit and wait and see if there really is any change. That will be determined by the direction of the first two hard forks.

People will most definitely feel anxiety returning to work after such a long break.

Driving is going to be something many will have to learn to cope with again, our road traffic is awful, with nerves frayed just at the thought of running the gauntlet daily is going to be a nightmare for some.

Good to hear you enjoying some good coffee again, not so great getting up in the morning, back to routine.

Have a wonderful new week!

@tipu curate

Thanks for the curation bump and yes, we all need to re-learn our ways into this new world.

Wearing a mask is the new normal now. And perhaps this will be around for some time.

In our place, it's already Modified Community Quarantine, and restaurants can accommodate half the capacity. But even then people are a little skeptical. I haven't seen people inside restaurants. They still prefer drive-through. Well, I think it's safer too.

Stay safe. I love reading your little story of "tostada Dragos." 😜

Thanks, stay safe too!

That is pretty awesome to be able to enjoy the little things that make us happy in our regular life and a little bit of routing, communication and socializing in such cozy places.

Thanks, yes, it feels nice.

We all crave a bit of normalcy...certainly deserving of a post so don't stress. Glad your breakfast menu is back on track

Yes, it feels nice to see the world through the same lenses as before. Or similar.

I have mixed feelings too.
Happy to start getting pre-lockdown routines, but at the same time realizing everything will be different from now on. Some things for better but also many suffering around from those losing their jobs or small business.

It will be different, that's for sure. Don't know if worse than before, but different.