Amy Roberts: A Silly (and slammed) Sunday
Over the past year, one particular expression was repeated so excessively, just hearing (or reading) it made me groan. There was no escape. “The new normal” seemed to permeate every conversation I had and appear in every piece of content I consumed.
While the phrase was entirely overdone, it was also an entirely understandable word choice. For many people, “the new normal” was the only way to describe and attempt to make sense of the uncertainty and the oddity of the pandemic, not to mention everything else happening about a year ago. Wearing masks, Zooming in your pajama bottoms, chairlifts running at half capacity despite insanely long lift lines, race riots in the streets, toilet paper rationing, economic panic, an entirely off-the-rails presidential campaign, $2,000 for a studio, being surrounded by refugees from California — it was all just the new normal.
We’ve been relying on this phrase so heavily and for so long, I wasn’t quite sure when or how we’d collectively decide if things are still the new normal, or they were back to just normal. How would we know we’d made it? What would it look like? Do we all agree on what “normal” is or was? Though things have felt slightly more normal-ish the past several weeks, Sunday seemed to be the official declaration we can start dropping “the new” in normal. Ironically, I realized things were 2019’s version of normal at what is usually considered a rather less-than-normal event — the Park Silly Sunday Market.
The buses that delivered people to Main Street were full, restaurants were packed, the bar lines were long and the number of humans was overwhelming. At first, I considered maybe everything just seemed busy because it had been so long since I’d been in a crowd. Perhaps my tolerance was low and I couldn’t really recall what busy looked like. But then I heard a bartender exclaim they’d ran out of beer cups while someone else noted they’d walked from Deer Valley because there was no parking and traffic was terrible, and I realized if this is still the new normal, it sure looks a lot like the old one.
We’ve all been starved for entertainment, live music, beer gardens and seeing other people’s teeth. And on Sunday, we gorged ourselves at the proverbial buffet. Admittedly, it felt good to be annoyed by throngs of tourists and to wait in a line while baking in the sun. I’ve missed going places and wishing I’d just stayed home.
The first Silly Market of the summer was certainly a success, especially considering event organizers purposefully did little marketing. The tactic was encouraged by the city as a way to help control crowds and ensure social distancing measures. It didn’t work, and it’s hard to know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. What would the event have looked like had it been promoted? And what will next week’s event look like as word spreads even farther down the hill and across highway 40?
It’s only going to get busier as more people learn the Silly Market is back on Sundays and the temperatures become more stifling in lower elevations. I hope the bartenders plan to bring more cups.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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