The Last Live Performance

The last live performance I attended was to see comedian Preacher Lawson at Ohio University on February 7.

It seems like a thousand years ago.

It was a great night too. The comedian was truly funny plus I enjoyed a nice moonlit walk in the snow across the college green.

I had no idea that it would be the last time I would sit in a crowd and enjoy live performance for a year.

The impact this pandemic has had on performers and venues is devastating. Personally, I look forward to the day I can sit in an auditorium or wander through a music festival again and can only hope that these places are still operational when it’s safe to do so again.

What was the last live performance you attended?

Flying In The Age Of Covid

Going to Denver last month required flying. I normally enjoy flying but was apprehensive given the state of Covid in this country.

I am selective about where I go and who I spend my time with on a normal day. Travel is by car. Dining out is rare and typically in the car or outside. Shopping is mostly utilitarian now rather than entertainment.

I have found ways to travel around the region and even down to Virginia while being safe and feeling secure but it is always by myself in a car.

The thought of air travel – even a couple of weeks before the holiday rush- made me squeamish but my research was reassuring. Friends who fly regularly were able to provide some insight. What I had read about my airline was reassuring too.

Flying out of the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus on a Tuesday afternoon was a smart choice.

The place was a ghost town.

Some shuttle lots are closed, most businesses were closed or operating with limited hours, and there was no security line. Literally, friends, there was no line. I walked right through.

There were people cleaning and so few travelers it was easy to social distance.

Flying in and out of Denver was arguably a mistake.

This is one of our country’s busier airports. Getting off the plane and leaving was fine. The airport train wasn’t at all busy and I managed to get out the door without cause for concern.

Sadly, the flight out was a much different story. The TSA line was enormous. It moved quickly but most people were making no effort to social distance.

Once through security, there was plenty of space to spread out even though it was busy. Everything felt extremely clean and there is hand sanitizer available everywhere.

All the same, if I had known it would be this busy, I would have flown out of a smaller airport.

The experience made me grateful that I’m typically a road tripper and am not flying during the holidays.

Have you flown lately? I would love to hear your story.

Not A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

For many Americans, Thanksgiving will not be like a Norman Rockwell painting this year.

There will be a lot of empty seats at tables across the country. Some of those seats will always be empty as the pandemic has tragically robbed us of over 250,000 lives so far.

Some will be filled again in a year or two. This pandemic won’t last forever if we can just stay healthy and live to see it through.

There was another pandemic a hundred years ago that had people wearing masks, cancelling events and avoiding others. Those folks probably thought it would last forever but it didn’t.

As we are all complaining about the inconvenience and the lost traditions and the missed opportunities to see family, it’s perhaps helpful to remember three things:

1. There are ways to connect via phone and internet that people didn’t have a century ago.

2. There are people who are alone on every holiday and who know the loneliness of isolation around the holidays all too well.

3. This too shall pass. When it does, perhaps those who are experiencing loneliness this year will think to include others who are always alone when it’s safe to do so.

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the way we celebrate Thanksgiving as it’s mostly about gorging on food, watching football and taking naps. At least that’s how it seems and I don’t especially enjoy any of those things. If I had my way, I’d pack a sandwich and spend the day in nature where I feel most alive.

Of course, after we eat, on the very day we gather to express our thanks many run out to see how much cheap stuff they can buy.

A lot of retailers will be closed this Thanksgiving, opting to open early Friday morning for their Black Friday sales. Although I heard on the radio that Rural King is open early on Thanksgiving with ten percent off animal food and other random stuff.

But I digress.

My day will include lunch with my parents and an aunt. I’m back in the work-from-home club and trying hard to avoid crowded places and to limit my exposure to other people. They’re retired and home and doing the same. Maybe we’ll watch a movie or play a board game and just be thankful that we’re together, well fed and alive.

So maybe it’s not a Norman Rockwell holiday but we have to live in the world we wake up in. Let’s try to make it as safe as possible so we’re all around for happier days when we can all set aside our masks and sit down together without worry.

Angel In Boxing Gloves

As Covid-19 flares across this country, I have heard experts describe what is to come as a tsunami.

Our health care professionals are exhausted.

They are frustrated.

I imagine they are struggling more than we know in some of our country’s hardest hit areas. Someday, I fear they will have the same kind of PTSD that effects soldiers.

The holidays will likely usher in a new era of horrors that we all should be worried about now.

It’s hard for many of us to stay home all the time as we need to work, to buy Christmas presents or food. The economy needs us to be out there buying and exchanging money for services – a calculated risk here and there may be worth it. But we owe it to ourselves to stay healthy and to not share our germs with others. So please wear your mask, wash those hands, and social distance like your life depends on it.

After all, it may.

The mural is in Denver and is one of many spectacular pieces of art you can view from the car in that city. The image of a healthcare angel in boxing gloves seems more appropriate now than ever.

A Sign of the Times

It’s sad that we need signs to remind people to be patient and nice but here we are.

This was outside a bar in Golden, Colorado but I’ve seen them at restaurants, bars and stores nearly everywhere I go.

If you’re out and about today, do me a favor and wear your mask, be extra nice to your cashier, hold doors for others, and just try to be a nice human.

It will make your day better. I promise.

Denver Adventure

Last week took me to Denver to meet a friend for adventure. This was a toned down version of the cancelled summer trip that was supposed to include a flight to Denver and road trip home.

The road trip got nixed but I still got to spend several days with my friend.

Honestly, nothing about this trip went as planned as Covid has wreaked havoc on everyone’s plans and my friend had an injury that slowed us down.

But I got to spend time with my friend, we ate well, shopped some and did a few other fun things along the way.

I’m normally on the go a lot when I travel. After all, you can sleep when you’re dead. But it was sort of nice having some time to stretch out on the couch with a book, watch a little tv and just take things slower.

More than anything, I felt bad for my friend that her vacation was ruined.

There is no shortage of things to do in Denver so we are already talking about a sequel trip sometime after Covid fears die down.

The good news is that we did enter this adventure with low expectations as we didn’t know what might be Covid closed or that we simply wouldn’t feel comfortable doing because of Covid concerns.

The picture above was taken along a stream near historic Golden, Colorado. She wasn’t up for a hiking trail but we did find a paved bike path with access to the stream so we could safely walk and still get close to nature.

It wasn’t the plan but it was a good compromise that still brought us joy and entertainment. Sometimes that’s what it takes when things don’t go our way- compromise. This is a good lesson for us all to remember as we head into what promises to be a challenging Covid season.

I fear that we all will need to compromise a lot before this winter is over.