We’re getting close. Aren’t we? It’s mid-April, and since the end of March, we’ve been gearing up for the first of May. Does that sound a bit convoluted? Perhaps, if you hadn’t been living in our world for the last two months. But, you get it. We’ve been in a lockdown for nearly a month, and have been told that, with any luck, we’d be back in business by the time May rolled around.
Well, as April moved into its second week, that idea seemed more like a fairy tale. As the number of US deaths from Covid-19 reached 2000 per day, with seemingly healthy portions of the country waiting for their “surge”, with the recommendation to wear masks everywhere we go…..the idea that we could simply get back to normal that quickly didn’t seem possible.
To be clear, “getting back to normal” has been the mantra. Folks, our last day of normal happened before the groundhog saw his shadow (or didn’t he? ….who gives a damn, it’s snowing in Ohio on April 15!) When our bars and other venues were shut down a month ago, I knew we wouldn’t go back to our regular lives very quickly. I figured, maybe June….maybe sometime around the solstice, I’ll be on a stage somewhere playing my songs for people. Okay, fine. That’d be cool.
And that may very well be the case. Except, as we’re creeping into the latter stages of April, we’re finding that a full return to “normal” simply isn’t going to happen. Not in May, June, or, sorry folks, even 2020. Like it or not, we are completelydone with normal for a while.
I don’t mean to sound negative or be a doomsayer. It’s just what it is. We’re looking at different parts of the country implementing their own versions of a comeback. Some may re-open restaurants but require that their maximum capacity be cut in half, all servers wear masks, maybe even all customers wear masks, disposable menus, and the list goes on. As of this writing, it’s unclear precisely how this is going to happen, but the reality is that we’re going to need to adapt to a new way of living for quite some time. And that’s not an easy pill to swallow.
We’re being asked to digest the fact that the world we knew is no more while many of us are suddenly unemployed, or otherwise displaced. As of this writing, 22 million people have successfully filed unemployment claims (I say successfully because the systems are so overloaded many simply haven’t been able to get through). There could be another 25 million “gig workers”, or freelancers, who have lost their income as well (I can vouch for myself, at least).
So, this idea of a gradual return, something that’s essentially being “tested” on us, may be hard to take. It’s certainly not fun, by any means. We’ve lost control of our independence. Literally. That sounds like such a radical, preposterous notion, doesn’t it? But, damn…..it’s real. It truly is. We’re in a new world, and history is being written one day at a time, more so than in any other time that we can recall.
So, my advice is to, as much as you can….enjoy the ride. Most of us will come out of it okay, with stories to tell, and our resolve strengthened. Will we even know when we’ve reached the end? Probably not. But we’ll at least know when we’re okay again.