Now that the drunken nerves have settled down after the big party, the time may be ripe to ask what we actually celebrated when Norway opened. Is not rather the good times over?
The time when no one demanded that you should have a thousand balls in the air and go around on exciting business trips with inspiring colleagues, where it was nice to have big blank fields in the calendar, maybe be unemployed or disabled.
How strangers smiled to each other on their morning walks, and where no one cast compassionate glances at people sitting alone on a bench in the park.
Where children did not have to fear that the teacher would ask what they had done during the summer holidays or what leisure activities they went on, because it was okay to answer that you had just been home and that you did not go on anything.
Finally, these kids sat down on the most valuable knowledge, namely the ability to invent something on your own, and the experience that the most exciting discoveries often occur when you wander around and do nothing.
This was the time when it was okay with regrowth, a couple of kilos too much and stained pants in a meeting with the boss. Even drug addicts were treated like humans, at least in Bergen, where they were accommodated in hotels and given food and medicine.
Shocked that a small virus could end up the richest country in the world, made even the leaders of society realize that life is shaped by coincidences we have no control over, and that it could just as easily have been those who stood there with their knees broken.
But it did not last.
For now it is the turn of ordinary people, those who have longed to be able to invite 27 of their closest friends around the dinner table, and who now spend the autumn holidays at the cabin in Hafjell with the extended family and two or three pairs of friends.
Just wipe it off the leisurely smile and throw yourself into the competition to show that one has a lot of iron in the fire and is still sought after and in demand.
Those of us who during the pandemic discovered that the need for social events is shamefully low, must again resort to more or less bad excuses and white lies.
Those who are still unemployed must look far for understanding glances and comforting words that “we are all in the same boat”. Again, there will be losers and free passengers on the foreheads of those who take a walk in the park while decent people stroll from meeting to meeting, drink sour brewed coffee and make a “formidable effort” for the country.
Not the extra pounds either around the waist will no longer evoke a sigh of relief in others. Now that the gyms are open, only the ungifted and unambitious are left on the couch.
The smart and forward-leaning have already thrown themselves over the treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes, because they have of course understood that the social currency of a slim and fit body has not exactly diminished by the fact that most people have gone up three trouser sizes in the last 561 days.
On social media Posting photos of beautiful trees and clouds from your walks in the neighborhood no longer holds. Now you must soon cough up something more proactive and successful, preferably some selfies from an international conference in a hip city that shows that you are where it happens with the right and important people.
And if it was a crisis for young people not to be invited to big parties before the pandemic, it will be social suicide now. Because when there has hardly been anything else in the newspaper other than how sorry it is for the young people who have not been able to romp, fuck and vomit, it is clear that it must be taken back with full force. Only social deviants will let this chance go.
In retrospect, it is easy to see that the humane wind that swept over us during the pandemic was never meant to last. Because at the same time as we allowed ourselves to lower our shoulders and look at each other with a gentler look, we never let go of the human view that permeates the rat race.
On the contrary, we used the pandemic to amplify and spread it.
If someone had not realized that the ideal person is hyperactive and hypersocial, then they got it knocked in during the shutdown.
On social media, it was a sport to share their longing for activities most people would pay to avoid before the pandemic: the crowds at the pole on Saturday afternoon, team building trips with work and children’s birthdays in trampoline land.
Then it was just a matter of voting and say we got to bite our teeth together and look forward to making up for all we lost. You would not want to be a party brake. Especially not when the ideal was supported by the country’s expert corps. In all channels we were warned against the harmful effects of all the alone time and downtime.
The one who felt good obviously did not understand his own best. According to research, we humans are herd animals, and healthy herd animals are social from morning to night.
Yes, we are herd animals. But what sets man apart from other animals is the ability to withdraw from the herd and be critical of its norms and ideals. I think we do well to use that ability before the marzipan pigs appear in the store and we enter the high season for networking and socialization.
Maybe we should not make up for all the losses. Maybe we should take some lessons from the pandemic and try to keep our shoulders low throughout the Christmas season.
Because it is conceivable that it is the hypersocial ideal that is sick.