It’s been tough to feel more joy…or any joy… this past week. I don’t need to regurgitate the news, so I won’t. I just need to acknowledge what I believe many, including myself, are feeling. Life isn’t that great right now. I find it to be a near constant exercise of actively searching and finding things to be happy about, so that I don’t slip into the dark abyss.
I know I cannot be the only one seeing artist after artist cancel shows that were meant to be an enthusiastic, triumphant return to the stage and fans. There was a recent Katy Kafe when Nick hesitantly mentioned that he didn’t see a true return to real touring until at least mid-2022. No one wants to hear or see those words, but then…here we are. Today, it was Nine Inch Nails canceling all of their 2021 dates. Before that, it was Garth Brooks, Korn, Stevie Nicks, Tony Bennett (who has since announced his full retirement from touring), Limp Bizkit, and so on. Who knows who will be next? Disheartening at best, I find it difficult not to be downright angry.
So many people say, “Hey, it’s fine. Thanks for caring about your fans”. I can assure you, those aren’t words I’m saying. I wish I were that nice. I’m not. Underneath my calm exterior (those who know me should also know I don’t really have a calm exterior…but it sounds great, doesn’t it???), I’m furious. This is the second year of this BS. I’m not mad at the bands, I’m angry at the situation. Tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone. Everyone is afraid of Covid. I’m more afraid of other things, I guess.
We’ve all got our own issues, particularly if you’ve reached that beautiful “5-0” mark. I will never forget the day one of my friends tweeted something about how the “check engine” light comes on when you’re 50. He wasn’t wrong, except I’d say for me, it’s more like the timing belt is near-shredded, and that blasted transmission light seems to come on a lot, too! I don’t like to talk about it online, except for some days, I feel like I could scream. This is one of those days.
So, my question…and surely I am not the only one wondering, because a quick google search told me that even media outlets are beginning to utter the words themselves…what happens when the public realizes the reality that this pandemic is actually an endemic, and that the virus so many hope goes away completely never really will? That full eradication we all want surely is not going to happen at this point. Don’t believe me? Google Covid-19 endemic…but ask yourself the question, “What then?”
This is why I took some of the actions I did over the past eighteen months. From day one, I was concerned that this would be something that wouldn’t just take months away from all of us, but years, if not even decades. I don’t necessarily “have” decades…and before anyone freaks out, neither do you. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. My husband and I never fully isolated as a household. First of all, I asked my oldest and her boyfriend to come stay with us. Originally, I was concerned there could be rioting and violence if a full lockdown was announced. I worried about supply chains, and a lack of basic needs. We had them come here, where we are a little further removed and better able to sustain ourselves. It quickly became clear to us that this was going to be a “long haul” situation, where things didn’t go downhill rapidly as I initially worried, but that it might be a sustained slide, over many years. That changed our perception and plans quite a bit.
I could make a list of things I’ve done that may seem risky to some. I’ve traveled on planes and gone to visit my sister in a big city. I’ve worn masks…I’ve even not worn masks, depending upon what has been the recommendations or mandates at the time. I’ve gone places, done things, seen friends, but mostly, I’ve tried to enjoy my life. I did what I could do, knowing that while there might be some risk involved, I was also trying to mitigate that risk. When we go to see bands in the park, we sit back away from crowds, spreading ourselves out to give room between our group and others. We went to restaurants, but knew where to sit and where to go so that we were being careful. We went to amusement parks, but it wasn’t hard to keep distance from others, and use sanitizer. The only place I ever felt truly uncomfortable was at a resort pool. It was small, there were children under twelve in there, and even so…I was concerned for them, not me or even my youngest (she’s vaccinated too).
I think that out of everything, what scares me the most…and there has been a lot I’ve seen, and news I’ve gotten this past summer that should have scared me…is seeing people simply just give up and say they won’t do anything until this is over. What if it’s never over? What then? I surely do not know.
The toughest thing about this pandemic has been seeing everyone handle it so very differently, yet still desperately trying to maintain a modicum of respect for my fellow humans. We all think our way is the right way. We all think everyone else should respect what we need, without thinking about what the other person may need. Following the science does not seem to mean the same thing to everyone, from what I’ve seen.
Answers are not something I have at hand right now. I am only doing what makes the most sense for me, because *I* am the only person or thing that I can really control…and even then, I cannot control my own future. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I’d like to be able to see some of my favorite bands before my time on this planet is over. The idea of never seeing Duran Duran again, or not having the opportunity to deliver a thank you for giving my life it’s soundtrack, in person, is almost frightening. Perhaps it is shallow to worry about seeing a band again over the thousands of other things, but it is the thought of going to their concerts again that gives me the most hope and joy. I’m starting to wonder though, if that day will ever come.
It is so difficult not to get frustrated, or even downright depressed by the state of the world right now. Concerts are a part of that light at the end of the tunnel that feels like the faster we run, or the more we walk towards it, the farther away it seems. 2021 feels more and more like 2020, The Sequel. Will there ever be an end?