One does not simply live through a pandemic without learning. That the pandemic teaches us something has emerged as a ubiquitous micronarrative in media, policy, and critical thought. These teachings often combine generic blandness and revelatory hype, and are timed in ways that—amidst the enduring violences of viscous pandemics—can only be misplaced. They are, in other words, banal. Here, I stop at the brink of pandemic lessons to think with the proxemics of this scene. Returning to banality as an articulation of topology and tropology, of commonplaceness and triviality, this essay muses with three predicates of lessons ("the pandemic," "us," and "teach") to resist the givens of "times like these." The banal provides capacities for thought to labor recursively with its own topos, despite itself, without losing any of its irritating ambiguities.