The (Not So) Great Reintegration | Sojourners

The (Not So) Great Reintegration

Are we as a country capable of abandoning sweatpants, after all they've done for us?
Illustration of an office worker sitting behind a desk with sweatpants and slippers
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick

AS MORE AND MORE more of us who are still working remotely receive the COVID-19 booster, and as more effective treatments are developed and omicron fades into distant memory (one can always hope), the threat of returning to “normal life”—offices, restaurants, bars—looms on the horizon. White-collar workers across the nation are looking upon their professional shoes and slacks with fear and dread. Are we as a country capable of abandoning sweatpants, after all they’ve done for us?

We have grown accustomed to a softer, smaller world, a comfortable and blanket-filled cocoon of our own making, but soon we will reenter a world that is both freer and crueler. A world where people see our faces when we walk by and (God forbid) try to start conversations with us. A world where people hug us without asking first. A world where, for some reason, we are expected to make small talk. Calvinists and non can surely agree that this is depraved.

It will be difficult to return to professional lives that involve arduous and near-mythical rituals of the before-times such as “commutes” and “dress codes” and “supervisors who know how late we sleep in.”

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