The other night, my wife and I were watching a stand up comedian perform on Netflix. He was funny, crude, and had both of us chuckling out loud. Some of his jokes made us laugh so hard that we had to catch our breath. In the midst of all the lightheartedness that the present moment deserved, my mind started to wander. I asked myself, if this comedian was not performing in front of a crowd of people and they were not engaging his material by laughing out loud, would he be as funny as he is now?
In the pre-corona era, one of my biggest enjoyments in life was attending a wide variety of indoor and outdoor concerts. By the look of the situation we are currently faced with, it might be a hot minute before bands and venues come back into a renewed existence with a herded crowd. A lot of musicians, and notable celebrities, are turning to live feeds on different social media platforms, and I’m glad they have an outlet to connect with their choice audiences. Of course, as we all know, nothing is going to beat the experience of having ten thousand fans singing the lyrics in unison during a live show or having various celebrities attend mass gatherings and receive nods for their accomplishments, but I guess our new existence is going to have to suffice until this non rideable wave goes back out to sea.
All varieties of professional and college sports have been affected by this calamity, as well as different branches of entertainment like movie theaters, wrestling organizations, broadway musicals, and other performing arts venues. Restaurants have been severely undercut by this virus, and some are doing their best to have a presence by providing drive-thru or take-out service only. Our local movie theater has delightful, automatic leather recliners in a couple of rooms, but the idea of whoever was there before me burrowing into the seat like a tick, while coughing and slinging spit on the sticky black leather, makes it seem somewhat unbearable at the moment. Even when I used to sit down at our favorite restaurants and survey seven thousand crumbs and dried liquid spots all over the table, all I would do was take the first napkin in line and simply brush the top layer of film off or move to another table and await our feast. Things of the such did not bother me in the pre-corona era, so I guess we are at a crossroads when it comes to cleanliness. Does that make me seem hypocritical or just more aware to treat those scenarios as such now or should we have been taking these wipe down precautions all along?
When I reminisce over in house dining, my mind takes me back in time. In middle school days, I remember wiping the cafeteria tables off with the infamous “rag”. Some kids did not want to touch the filthy, lukewarm, Sloppy Joe stained towel back then, myself included, even if they had a bionic arm made out of scrap metal from Ironman’s suit. That specific table towel had seen more dark alleyways and side streets than all of the rats in New York City combined, yet we children used it week after week after week. Each kid had their assigned time of table duty, and we would wipe spillage and crumbs into the chairs and onto the floor and massage the other kids’ blowback around in circles until it became an actual piece of art on the table. The more I talk about the “rag”, the more I start to feel sorry for it, so I will stop for now and move on.
There are other things I begin to miss since the plague started circulating around the globe. I miss rounding the toilet paper and paper towel isle at the grocery store at seven a.m. on a Friday morning and seeing clouds of it waiting to be purchased. I miss scratching my thin mustache and beard with unwashed fingernails while riding in my truck and not having to think about the pestilence that is hiding underneath them. I miss rubbing my eyes with each of my pointer fingers at the same time when they itch from the seasonal pollen or from wearing my glasses too long and not worry about turning into a rabid zombie. I miss allowing someone else to cough unmuffled and not get a nasty stare from me whenever I force myself to go “out there”. I miss going out to eat at least once a week and not having to worry about washing dishes, pots, pans, utensils, and cups. All first world problems, I know, but still.
Pushing the physical, worldly stuff to the side for a moment, I find myself reflecting on the cleanliness of my own inner being. I used to internally fuss, rave, and spit strong cuss words whenever it came to certain aspects of my job. I have described these in one of my earlier posts, The Aged and the Ageless. Some things about the family business frustrated me, and I willingly let it. Some days, I used to wish that I finally closed on my dream job and things would begin to take off from there. Some days, I would wave my hands at the heavens, asking whoever was listening to me to simply bless me and let me thrive because now was the time for me to do so. Some days, I would just sit in silence, finish the job, but still be somewhat pretentious on the inside. Different things, including my attitude, have stabbed the family business in the heart and twisted the knife, and as funny as it may sound, the body that makes up our main source of income has fought like a heavyweight boxer who would rather stand back up, wobble, take another uppercut, and be knocked out cold rather than throw in the towel. During a time like we are all experiencing, I find admiration in that fact. This virus might be the last straw for some businesses, ours included, but then again I could be wrong. It certainly would not be the first time, and I am highly doubtful it would be the last.
Taking in the grand scheme that makes up 2020 so far, a year in which we are all supposed to see things clearer than we ever have before, maybe I need to be more appreciative than I have been in the past. Maybe I need to be more patient than I already am (I had to force type this sentence because of everything my life journey has contained, and I’m sure some of you could relate). Maybe instead of taking advantage of things, we need to start taking care of things. Maybe we all need to spend more time with our families and friends. Maybe we need to turn our screens off from time to time and turn our minds on. Maybe our kids needed a break from public and private learning facilities so they could enjoy life for a minute or two, even though I realize there is a need for the meals that those wonderful institutions provide. Maybe our overly scheduled lives needed to be dismantled and rearranged. Maybe all of us needed to slow down. Maybe we have been running around and looking in every direction rather than focusing on what is directly in front of us. Maybe this is the end of the world. Maybe this is another fresh start. Maybe this is punishment for being common and cold shouldered to one another and not unconditionally loving and forgiving human beings. Maybe this is part of some invisible warfare and we are unaware of it. Maybe this is just a way of the Earth telling us that it has a fever because we plague it with our ways, devices, and negative energies.
Or maybe it’s something more than all of that combined and to the thousandth degree.
Maybe it’s just life, and we need to be one thing we haven’t been in a while, myself included.
We are not at this crossroads by mystery. We will not be confounded or confused. We must be vigilant, and that is what we will be until the sun rises each day and frees us from this shadow. We will make it through, and we will do it together as one.
The meek, people.
P.S. – I’ve burned so much lemongrass and tea tree essential oil in my diffuser, I no longer have nostril hairs. Stay safe! Stay clean! Be polite! Be kind! Breathe! Relax! Stay strong!