Welcome to 2020, where overreacting is the new norm

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Look outside. Is it raining? Most probably. Was supposed to, anyway.

It happens quite regularly – has since, well, forever. It’s why we have drains, rain coats, umbrellas and gutters. All top-notch inventions.

Granted, if you’re a toddler you haven’t seen much of it in your life, but most of us have experienced that wet stuff fall from the sky on-and-off since we jumped in our first puddle.

I had to laugh, or cringe, this week when Sky News Weather posted a Tweet on Monday, declaring we should be prepared for a “rain event” at the back end of this week. They weren’t alone, either. Each passing hour saw more interest in this ‘intense’ rainfall that was set to shake our very being.

Rain often leads the 6pm news these days too. Cars driving through puddles and people struggling to contain umbrellas as they rush to work makes for great content.

At some point this ‘rain event’ may even be labelled ‘unprecedented’. Some obscure record might be broken too. Perhaps the most rain we’ve had between 3pm and 4pm on March 6 for 33 years.

Maybe I’m morphing into the grumpy old man I was always destined to be, but seriously, didn’t we just used to call this a ‘wet week’? Now it’s an “event”.

Now we need to have briefings and press conferences from government, the SES, Police, the BOM and the Girl Guides every time the weather does something a little outside of the norm.

It shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, when you consider where we’ve landed in 2020. Over-hyped news stories, social media snowflakes, clickbait and a gullible society that tends to overreact to pretty much everything results in us being scared of a bit of rain.

And it results in us stockpiling toilet paper at the height of a virus outbreak, too. I mean really, are we serious? Are we that stupid?

But we’ll continue to lap it up, believing we need to bunker down with years’ worth of baked beans and bog roll until it’s finally safe to go outside again. Knowing our luck, when that day comes, there will be a bloody rain event.

A charity ball scheduled for Penrith in May even announced its cancellation this week due to Coronavirus fears.

There’s been talk of other events being cancelled too, and calls for us to start working from home.

Sure, we have a serious and damaging issue on our hands across the world. But we’re on the verge of bringing our lives to a halt largely because of the hysteria, not necessarily due to the legitimate likelihood of contracting the virus, which is being quite well handled in Australia.

Overreacting is just what we do now.

The other week the State Government started putting fences up around Darling Harbour, saving us from danger and ourselves, apparently. Commonsense belongs nowhere in 2020.

A few years ago we destroyed a city’s nightlife with lock-out laws that simply shifted the problem; all created on the back of incidents that didn’t actually happen at the times we were told we couldn’t drink or move bars.

The NRL releases an ad this week and desperately attempts to make sure nobody is offended. The result? Everyone gets offended.

The old adage of ‘just get on with it’ is disappearing from our vernacular quicker than a four pack of Kleenex from the 7-11. We don’t get on with it anymore. Instead, we worry. We panic. We pander and overreact.

We go on Facebook and look for solace, convinced that some scientist having dinner with his niece fired off a 200 word text with the definitive solution to surviving the Coronavirus crisis, or that your private messages will become public tomorrow unless you stand on your head and recite the alphabet backwards before going to bed tonight.

In an age where we should be smarter, sometimes it seems we’re getting dumber. If only we could go back a few years, warn our future selves and hit the reset button.

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