Putting the Virus Behind Us

It’s nice to see the masks come down. It’s nice to walk by and see someone smile or just see another face without a surgical mask over the nose and mouth. It’s nice to hear that we might be ahead of this, which means the pandemic might be behind us now. And this is it, the year 2021. Who knows what might come next. Who knows if this whole test is just another moment in purgatory. Or better yet, maybe this is just a social experiment to see how we’d treat each other or how we’d get along if something went wrong. Well, if this were true, I suppose the next questions is , “Okay, so how’d we do?

In some cases, I would say that we failed. In some cases I would say that we failed each other. I wouldn’t include the government in this project. Governments fail all the time. That’s what they do and plus, governments come with government opinions and agendas. So does the media and so do the editors of all information, which is social media, who has not done much to promote unity. Instead, I saw a lot of division over the past year. I saw a lot of people show up to work while their bosses were at home. I heard about bosses who gave orders from places like a beach house down by the shore and acting like a keyboard commando while sending in the troops sitting safely at their home. 
Someone I work with lost five people in his family during this pandemic. This happened so quickly and so unmercifully, and yet, none of the higher ups ever came down from their thrones to say a simple, “Hey, I’m sorry man.” They didn’t even send a card. How about that?

I’ve heard people argue about the validity of someone’s death. Whether they died from Covid, or from something related, my question is this: does it really matter what it says on the label of someone’s body bag? In the end, we saw so many people die from a virus (or not a virus) but either way, death was the new normal for the last year or so. Death was the new subject, which almost become desensitized because of the frequent news and the number of losses that went way beyond anything we’d ever seen before.
There were refrigeration trucks behind the funeral home near my house. There were doctors and nurses in war-like predicaments, watching people die, and then preparing the bodies in a special way; otherwise, the funeral home wouldn’t take them. There were bodies stacked in refrigeration trucks. I know this because I had a conversation with someone that owned a funeral home.

Hell, I remember when they shut New York City down. I remember the governor was saying that we were going to do this for two weeks and then we would reopen. It seems he was a little off with that prediction.
There are groups that used to gather and self-help groups that had to stop. Then Zoom meetings took the stage, which is funny too because to me, the cool thing about Zoom meetings is you don’t have to wear pants. I would wear a company shirt and a pair of boxers below. And no one was the wiser. 

We lost our sense of touch though. We forgot how amazing it is to hug someone or just shake hands with one another human being. The Zoom meetings were helpful but they lacked the face to face acknowledgements. We were detached from each other. We were separated and quarantined. This has been the events of the last year. And there were the riots. Then there were the fights and the racial tensions. Then there were the televised murders, which repeated on the news; as if seeing a murder happen once wasn’t enough, the news played the videos of police brutality racial violence, over and over again. It seemed to me as if we were all pitted against one another. There is the right wing of government and the left and yet, two wings are needed to fly the bird, but not in our case.

Our life was changed. The way we communicated changed. The way we gathered and interacted changed. Kids had no prom or graduation nor did they have the socialization that comes with going to school. Statistically, the pandemic has led women to fall back after all of their advances in the corporate world. And everything’s an argument now. Someone’s always offended or signaling some kind of virtue, which means we have to have a meeting about this, so we can be fair, so no one gets their feelings hurt. The only problem is by the time we formulate an email about the first offense, we have to draft another email about the list of offenses that happened within the hour.

Everything is a meeting about a meeting now, which could have been solved and avoided if someone were to simply take a stand and speak without fear of backlash. Then there’s the cancel culture, which is real, which has also been around for a long time. Only now, the cancel culture is controlled by mobs. Cancel culture is on a much bigger scale now. Get the swat team. Wait no, don’t get them or the police. Get the net though because we’ve all gone crazy. And if you should not side with the popular agenda or believe in them, then you will be cancelled too.

I watched the arguments behind this culture fold in on themselves because of political views. And take the “Me Too” movement, for example. “You have to believe the accuser.” and so it was, people were always believing the accuser. This happened until the accused was someone politically aligned.
I watched politicians be accused and I watched people point fingers and charge. But wait, when the sitting politicians were accused, I watched people who screamed for justice change their plea. I saw people who swore that you always had to believe the accuser, stand up and change their tune. And they did this, simply because there was a finger pointing towards someone they endorsed

My hope is that the virus is behind us. My hope is that the arguing and the social discord will come to an end. My hope is that the economy picks up and business starts booming for us all.
I hope the separation anxiety ends when the separation ends and that the remnants of this pandemic will go away and never to return.

Traffic is picking up now. One of my Sunday morning empowerment programs is about to pick up again. I’m not sure when and I’m not sure what the new regulations will be. Supposedly, I will be returning to my jail program soon.
I’m not sure if a time will come and we can laugh about this and say, yeah, remember that?

My hope is that arenas open. I want to put the virus behind us. I want to see a concert. I want to see a show. I want to be somewhere and hear music in a huge crowd of people who all know the songs. Everyone knows the words. And there’s no arguing. There’s no need to be insulted. All we are is happy to be together again.

See, now that’s a celebration. And that’s what I’m hoping for. Hopefully  . . . 

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