The new normal looks like a toilet paper prince and discarded masks on empty beaches.

Every day, we speak sentences that would have been unthinkable a few months ago. We’ve adapted to the language of social distancing and self-isolation, making room in our lives for apocalyptic alerts and disembodied face masks and toilet paper shortages. This is the surreal: the uneasy, the strange and strangely funny.

• • •

Each night, the Browns entertain their Harbour Watch neighbors. [Diane Brown]

Diane Brown and her husband, Jeff, set out each night in a different costume to entertain their Harbour Watch neighbors.

— Submitted by Diane Brown, Tarpon Springs

• • •

Linda Edwards-Delgado stopped to take a picture when she saw this. [Linda Edwards-Delgado]

“I live on North Clearwater Beach. When I saw this (in mid-March), it made me stop in my tracks.”

— Submitted by Linda Edwards-Delgado, Clearwater

• • •

Rick Pearson holds his newborn grandson. [Rick Pearson]

“My grandson was born on April 3rd, and then we were not allowed to visit him at the hospital. We now visit just once a week, wearing masks and gowns to protect him from the virus. Definitely not how I wanted to meet my first grandchild.”

— Submitted by Rick Pearson, Dunedin

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Chelsea Smith in a haunting mask, because this is the state of quarantine we're in. [Chelsea Smith]

“Hi, my name’s Chelsea Smith, and during quarantine, I’ve been baking a lot. Once this loaf of bread was ready to eat, I emerged from my room with my plague doctor mask on, like the large bird I have become. Have a nice day.”

— Submitted by Chelsea Smith, New Port Richey

• • •

In mid-March, phones in St. Petersburg lit up with unusual alerts. [Claire McNeill]

The emergency alerts arrived on our phones, along with highway signs warning of COVID-19: eerie new sights from an eerie new era.

— Claire McNeill, Tampa Bay Times

• • •

NEXT:

Anxiety

Brightness

Change

Isolation

Adaptation

Safety

Community

Loss

Hope

For all the stories in the series, click here.

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