I’m about a year and a half behind many people in getting back into the world. If baby steps were a person, that would be me.
But in the past month, I’ve jumped back in and flown to multiple cities (albeit double masked), eaten in indoor restaurants, seen Usher’s Vegas residency, learned how to play Blackjack, been to the movies, all masked. I even found myself in a packed NYC nightclub (I’ve never been a club person even pre-pandemic, so that I was there was a miracle in and of itself), but there I was standing in a corner, right next to a well-ventilated exit, watching DJ Jazzy Jeff spin and dancing (in public) for the first time in a long time. It felt good.
People are still getting sick, still suffering from the effects of long c-word and approximately 500 people are still dying daily in the U.S. I’m okay navigating the world in a mask for the foreseeable future – it still remains the very least I can do.
I’ve been hesitant to say it out loud (because I know the universe likes to teach the arrogant lessons), but as far as I’m aware, I’ve been able avoid getting ill.
While my anxiety has abated for the most part (however…cough around me and I’m still hightailing it in the opposite direction), I am still sitting with the grief of the needless way over 1.05 million Americans died… over 70,000 in NYC alone. And we just moved on, without healing. Like so many other tragedies in this country. Beyond wearing a mask, I know I’ve been changed. Exactly how I’m still trying to work out.
“Grief is love with no place to go.”Jamie Anderson
Attending the recent NYC HBCU Classic, we celebrated the Howard University and Morehouse College bands in the middle of Times Square, sat in the lobby of our hotel, talked, laughed and drank wine with acquaintances and friends until almost 1 a.m. every night. At the height of the pandemic, especially here in New York City, a future where we’d be able to do these things almost seemed unfathomable. So to see some people I know happy and be able to hug them meant the world to me.
“We have said goodbye before, so it stands to reason… we’ll say hello again.”Wandavision
Many have “gone back to normal”, and we squandered an opportunity as a society to come out of this crisis new and improved (my French & Spanish improved as I picked up Duolingo late in pandemic year one — as of today, I’m on day 666 of my language learning streak. Don’t like that number, please cover me Jesus). As a matter of fact, some days it feels like humanity is worse off than before.
Had some paycheck work to get done today, and since I work remotely most of the week, decided to leave the house to find a change of scenery. Since I already planned on getting a grande Caramel Macchiato upside down with extra caramel, no foam, extra hot, anyway (and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin – yes, they got me! that joint is delicious! I still love sweet potato pie though!) I decided to stay and work in Starbucks.
My first time in two and a half years. Slowly but surely.
I found a table in the corner and then realized I picked theeeee absolute worst time to be in a coffee shop… 10 am on a Sunday morning – this place is freakin’ packed! But, I was committed and wearing a mask in between sips.
I’m back, for now.
“I must choose between despair and energy: I choose the latter.”Keats