And in the interim, we wait. In between the now and then are the thoughts of expectation because, put simply, we’ve never been here before and we don’t know what to expect.
There were times in school when we would go over history lessons and learn about The Great Depression. We learned about the times of the great plague and quarantines of old days, like black and white stories from the past, and yet, here we are in the middle of something we never thought we would see. No one ever thought we would be here.
But yet, we are.
In the meantime, we wait. We wait to see what comes next. We watch the news, which has literally trained us to replace scientists with politicians and religion with political parties. We are all too easily led astray and why? It’s all about optics.
So tell me, which God did you vote for?
Answer this carefully because depending upon the company you keep or the surroundings you find yourself in, your answer will identify you as a “Type” which will either be greeted by a warm hello or met by a hot bullet, shot from the opinions of a verbal firing squad that disagrees with your policy.
Everything is optics.
Everything is what we see and what we’ve been trained to think, spoonfed, programmed, and bred to believe.
We have all been led and misled at the same time — all due to misleading concepts of optical illusions, which are used with the intention to sway your vote.
Put a spin on it. Dress something up. Dress it with a lie or undress it with some truth. Either way, give it a face or a name and then sell it, babe.
Create a video. Cut it up in the editing room and leave out details to create an argument or set the stage. After all; it’s just an act anyway, right?
A dog an pony show.
Say something opposed to a political movement from either side and, immediately, you will find yourself attacked, arrested, accosted, and accused of being either un-American, racist, communist, facist, left side, right side, and either way, round and round this goes and where it stops, nobody knows.
We have never been here before. We have never seen a virus like this. And, just for the record, viruses have been around for a long time and we’ve yet to perfect a vaccine to solve the riddles to the common cold. So please forgive me if I don’t jump on anyone’s band wagon, regardless to whether they are for or oppose.
I watched my city run in fear a few times. I’ve seen crazy things throughout my life. I saw a few riots throughout the years. I watched The Towers go down from the roof of a building and thought to myself, “Good God, we’re under attack!”
I saw a picture on the news later that night. The picture was of firemen carrying the body of my friend. Meanwhile, I was on the phone with my friend, Ronnie.
He told me, “Benny, they got Father Mike.”
And sure enough, there he was on television. Mike’s body was limp in the arms of the firefighters. I thought to myself, “Why him? He never hurt anybody!”
I never thought I would see this.
When the protesters marched down by 42nd Street, two of the suit and ties that work in the corporate offices above me said, “You better be careful and get out of here.” We were on Lexington Avenue at the time. I looked at the two gentlemen that suggested I split and told them, “I’ll blend in and be fine but you two need to get upstairs.”
I thought to myself about the words Jim Carroll once wrote when he talked about the feeling he had for the City. The City knows me. She is part of me and I am part of here. Carroll wrote, “Ah, the city is on my side.” And she is on my side.
I walked through the crowd, untouched but not unbothered. I walked through the crowd thinking to myself, “Is this really happening right now?”
Is any of this really happening?
Is this the perfect storm?
Is this just a bad trip?
I wanted to see a few things this summer. I wanted to see a few shows with the boys like we did last year.
I wanted to dance a little and play a little or maybe drive down to Cape May and see what it’s like to fish from the boats a little.
There was talk about me being flown out to Texas, but hey, at least there was talk, which is not to say that I have resigned hope or given in. Instead, I am only saying the storm is still moving, no differently from a hurricane, and perhaps now is nothing but the eye of the storm. This could be just a lull. Things are calm in the eye but only for a moment until the storm resumes for its second wind.
I refuse to relinquish my sense of dignity or give way to conversations regarding my personal choice to protect myself and wear a mask. In fairness, I admit that I hate wearing masks but denying both the morbidity and the mortality rate of the current virus is no different than arguing about the validity of more than 130,000 deaths countrywide due to Covid-19.
There is an idea I have about heading to someplace different. I think about moving to Italy or maybe somewhere down in Panama. Speaking of Panama, I’ve heard the government is offering to pay people to move there.
I heard the places are beautiful.
And I can do beautiful.
I like beauty.
I could do white sand beaches, a hammock, turquoise waters, blue sky, and maybe teach people to speak English or sell boat trips to tourists.
Or maybe I can find myself a place down in Baja but the truth is no matter where I’d go, I’d miss it here.
I have to face it. This is me. This is my city. This is my country. This is who I am and this is where I come from. I am not ashamed of me by any stretch; however, I am ashamed to see that we have not learned enough to bury our differences and learn to work together.
You would think after centuries of wars, hatred, tragedies, and so forth that we could learn the success of unity and work together instead of picking each other apart.
I’m not sure what anyone else sees anymore. I just know that images can be distorted to create an intentional point of view.
As for now, my point of view is facing you, my most special friend in the world. You are the reason why I come here.
To my right is the window in the loft of my home. Morning has come and the first light is changing the sky. To my left is a cup of coffee with the final swallow, which I plan to gulp down once I finish here and shortly thereafter, I’ll be on my way down the Palisades and then over the George Washington Bridge to be Cityside until my day is done.
Above all, I must not lend myself out to the sources I do not trust. I cannot take advice from people that I would not seek out in troubled times. I will not give into the demands of others that call for me to join their side and above all, at all points possible, my plan is to remember what’s important to me and prioritize this to the best of my ability.
I’m not here to judge. I’m not here as the jury either. I’m just someone on a journey, which is paused for the moment.
So in the interim, I’ll wait . . .
Let’s just hope the storm ends soon.