I still feel like I’m running on empty. Fortunately, only five more days until I get my time off and can hopefully recharge the batteries. One of the major reasons I decided to turn this into a road trip was a chance to simply disconnect from my usual world for a while. The nature of my job and career is such that there are lots and lots of people out there who rely on me for succor and counsel and empathy. I have a lot to give but every one of those encounters leads me to give away a bit of my self and my energy and eventually, the well starts to feel like it’s running dry. A couple of weeks without feeling like everyone wants a piece and I will hopefully start feeling a little more in balance.
Tonight is the Oscars. I’m not watching. This pandemic year as upended my usual moviegoing habits and I’ve seen none of the films up for the big awards. There are a few that are on my radar and which I should catch streaming on one service or another eventually. The theaters are starting to open up again but I don’t think I’ll feel comfortable going in to sit among strangers with my overpriced bucket of popcorn and soft drink for a while longer yet. I’ve been watching more long form television than film recently – that seems to be where all the good writers have drifted to and it comes in easily digestible chunks between work projects, writing projects and keeping things up on the home front in the evenings. There are plenty of older films out there to keep me going when I truly want a movie (or when MNM needs something to review for her column). Will I be able to go to the movies again? I’m sure I will but I can’t imagine feeling safe prior to the fall and even that is going to depend on what happens with Covid numbers and with all of the ramifications of the never ending politics of vaccines.
The big hotspot at the moment in Covidland is India, likely driven by variants which are more highly infectious, although the authorities are still trying to figure out why cases, beaten back over the winter and early spring, started to skyrocket over the last few weeks. There’s so much that we still don’t know about this disease, its pathology, and its epidemiology. Apparently, last month was election season in India with Prime Minister Modi and other politicians addressing huge crowds. Per usual, the virus exploited a change in human behavior patterns to its advantage. There is one variant in India that has the health authorities concerned. It has changes in spike proteins allowing it to bind more tightly to human host cells making it significantly more infectious. If this variant combines with the ones originating in Britain that make it more transmissible person to person, we may have cause for alarm. I have a trip planned for India in the spring of 2022. I shall, as always, be cautious.
This week marks the third anniversary of Tommy’s death. I know it’s time to move on (and in a lot of ways I have) but the whole pandemic nature of our lives keeps me cocooned away from the world when I’m not at work. I’m getting better about going out than I was a few months ago, but seeing people socially still seems a bit awkward and forced. It’s as if the usual rules of etiquette have been put in suspense and we’re all feeling our way together into some new patterns of being with others that are not of ones immediate family circle. Handshakes and hugs are still pretty verboten. Subjects to talk about are somewhat limited when no one has done much over the last year. I feel like I need to take a lesson from Eliza Doolittle and stick to two subjects – the weather and everyone’s health. So if you hear me asking about a new straw hat that should have come to me, you’ll know the reason. I’ve been told the next of the Zoom theater projects is Pygmalion with me as Colonel Pickering so I may be picking up a few Shavian epigrams honestly in coming months.
I had Hope, the Red Prius, serviced and detailed this weekend, making sure she was ready to drive 6,000 or so miles the next few weeks. The folks at Hoover Toyota told me that all was well so, if the pistons fall out in the middle of South Dakota, you know whom I will be calling on the Gods of the Lakota to strike down in vengeance. I’ve downloaded some decent books to the audible account and I’ve mapped out at least four different routes. Having driven across the country a half dozen times, I’ve seen a good deal of it so which one I take is likely to depend on weather patterns, snow reports, and my mood of the morning after downing a caramel macchiato from the closest Starbucks. Now I just have to pack a few necessities (travel was easier before my dependence on CPAP which takes up a third of a suitcase) and find my decent sunglasses. Yes, I will write my usual travelogues. I need something to write with them: family stories? Covid updates? Discussions of aging and health topics? A bit of all three? I generally don’t know what I’m going to write when I sit down to bang on the keys and produce these musings but I do take requests and often a comment or something someone says to me will inspire a topic.
The weather is lovely – get out and enjoy it, as I did this afternoon with Opera Shots in the Opera Birmingham Parking Lot. The next one is Sunday May 16th at Collins Bar downtown. That block of 2nd Avenue North will be closed so get a drink from Andrew J. Collins and enjoy some good singing. I’m planning on returning from the road that day and whether I turn up or not will depend on when I get back to town. Enjoy your martini, but remember to social distance and keep your mask on around people you don’t know. And grab some Opera Birmingham branded hand sanitizer while you’re there.