A Flip of the Coin

Thanks to dual monitors and a Diet Coke, I was able to register for a vaccine appointment this week. I was feeling an upswing in hope and emotions and like all too many of us I was restless to get out of the house once more, as if we had returned to normal… or at least were on the road to normal.

I vowed to obviously maintain doing the safety protocols — wearing a mask, washing my hands, keeping my distance. But I began to imagine the possibilities of traveling again. Not today, mind you. I have been horrified by images of “Spring Break” and clusters of people here, there, and everywhere. “Too soon,” I thought. And yet, I also thought, “But…soon….”

I opened my travel planning app for the first time in months and searched for flight offerings in late May, early June.

President Biden indicated if we did what we were supposed to, we might be able to have small gatherings by July 4th. I wasn’t even looking at that, more of the opportunity to get a change of scene. I wasn’t looking at mass gatherings or massive group opportunities.  I just wanted to get out of the house.  To go somewhere.  I thought I might go out West, maybe self-isolate/quarantine for a week or so, especially after my second vaccine shot scheduled for late April.  I thought maybe by late May or Early June things might be settled enough that with a mask, a face shield, oodles of sanitizer, and careful fluid intakes to minimize the need for a bathroom on the airplane or at the airport, maybe I could make it out to see my brother.  Ya know, later on.  Not right now.  But soon-ish.

And yet, there are those images of too many Spring Breakers flaunting proven safety protocols for minimizing the spread.  There are those images of people refusing to wear masks and making this all so political when it should just be common sense for our own protection and common courtesy to help others.  And there are the warning signs in other parts of the world that opened too soon, lowered their guards, took for granted dips in numbers and saw the infection rate climb steadily and in some cases exponentially.  There are those warning signs that give way to necessary lock-down efforts to once again flatten the curves.  And then there’s the CDC rightly warning of ever-more contagious and deadly variants gaining not just footholds but dominance.  It has been a week of highs and depressing lows.

I deleted my travel app.  I will not be traveling any time soon.

It’s just… not the right time.

I’m as frustrated and annoyed and fed up with the pandemic as anyone.  But we owe too much to too many people who have sacrificed the last full measure, to the healthcare workers who continue to work against impossible odds, to ourselves to attempt to “get back to normal” immediately.  We are so close to getting this right… why are we all throwing it away?  Because of impatience?  Arrogance?  Ignorance?  Denial?  Frustration?  Lies?  All of that and more.

And yet… and yet…today after much hesitation… after having the final submission of payment for confirmation page open on my laptop the whole day, I finally clicked “submit” to register for a marathon race.  It’s scheduled for October.  I have lost out on so many events already this year, some which cancelled and swapped over to virtual.  One most recently that went ahead when I’m not really sure they should have.

What’s the right thing to do?  I’m telling myself that we have to have hope, we have to try and plan our lives in the belief that things will get better.  And I do think they will… but just when I think we may be rounding the corner, far too many of us… and I’m including myself in that “us”… put our own selfish wants ahead of others’ needs.  I fear I may have done the same once more today.  We have to keep trying though.  We have to set realistic goals and maintain hopeful aspirations as well.

This race in October is a realistic hope… provided we all work together to do our individual parts.

I wish I had faith that would happen.  Far too often these past few years, with a rise in gaslighting and science deniers, in authoritarian abuse of facts to fit power mad fictions… it’s hard to believe in normal returning.  But we have to try.  Because if we don’t, then besides what we’ve already lost, we’ve lost everything we we sacrificed and all that we might have in the future.

It’s that kind of day.  It’s that kind of year.  It’s that kind of pandemic life.  We hope for the best, yet plan for the worst.  But, man, am I getting tired of this.