When four of my longtime friends tried to find a mutually acceptable date for their long-awaited trip to Las Vegas, it took days and dozens of texts before we finally landed on the weekend of November. I did. surprised. Just six months ago, planning would have been easy.
Suddenly everyone I know has a commitment. Wedding delay. Celebration dinner party. Postponed vacation. Suddenly there are things to do, places to visit, and cross-country trips to enjoy. Suddenly came suddenly, whether ready or not.
Of course, that’s not entirely true. At least for me, the first month of vaccinated freedom was like a provisional crawl. But by Memorial Day everything speeded up. I now feel like we are competing to make up for the lost time and are sprinting head-on into a world different from the rest of the world we have never experienced.
I’m still wearing a mask in some settings. I’m still avoiding a lot of people. I still greet from elbow to elbow. I still wash my hands piously. In general, I pay more attention to bacteria than ever before. Nevertheless, the urgency of doing, seeing and experiencing is clear. The planes are full, the hotels are full and the restaurants are crowded.
Another thing: I think the relieved face I encounter with my Peregrine reflects myself.
But we are not free. I just need to contrast my situation with the slow but steady drip of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. It’s getting worse in other parts of the world. So no, we haven’t left the forest yet and will not be there for a while.
Still, most of the people I know are in a festive mood, enthusiastic about socializing, and ready to do everything they delayed in 2020. Some historians predict the second “Roaring Twenties”. For those who have forgotten the lessons of their high school history, the 1920s were ten years after the devastating flu epidemic that killed 50 million people worldwide, including about 675,000 in the United States. (Note that we have recently reached the horrifying milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths in this country alone.)
Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and doctor at Yale University, wrote a book about life after a pandemic entitled “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Permanent Impact of Coronaviruses on Our Ways of Life.” .. He told NPR that he expects people to look for more social interaction in very public places such as nightclubs, bars, music festivals and sports games. He also foresaw people splattering with all the money he saved during the blockade.
However, not all are balloons or confetti. He adds that the pandemic is likely to weaken sufficiently in 2023 or 2024, as some people refuse or hesitate to get the vaccine. Moreover, as a result of the pandemic, people lost their jobs and their loved ones. And the party method can’t turn it off. Also, you shouldn’t.
We are not March 2020, but we are grateful in a way. If we understand it, poverty can strengthen us. For example, I have discovered that sadness and anxiety can be aligned with the thirst for that highly human companionship. And heartache learns to live with joy without having to give up space to others.
Last week, for the first time in 15 months, I had Hubby attend a family meeting. I showed him my paper calendar. This is a notebook courtesy of our favorite charity, USO. One summer week is swallowed by a meeting and another week is swallowed by a grandchild’s visit. Most of the fall months are devoted to postponed book study trips and long weekends to family weddings in Richmond. This year ends with a family reunion.
Every time I look at the calendar, I am amazed by the colorful annotations in the small boxes. 458 days ago, these lines were as blank as an unused napkin. And now … now I’m working hard to manage the resurrected social life. For me, it’s a miracle.
Ana Veciana-Suarez writes about family and social issues. Send her an email to [email protected] or visit her website anavecianasuarez.com. Follow @AnaVeciana.