If Spring is the season of change then we are living large.
Every fundamental pillar of culture and society is rapidly evolving in the face of an almost-invisible enemy as all around us the tree’s bud with new growth and leaves, the flowers of many colors bloom and blossom, the animal kingdom resumes migration and fathers march off to the hardware store to buy new lawnmowers. Only now, they have to wear a mask. A great way to make crabby fathers even more crabby.
Introverted writers on Twitter and Medium hail the face masks as some sort of social protection, a barrier around their fragile security but I hate my mask. It hides nothing I want to hide. If anything it brings more attention to me, an already tall and awkward sasquatch. The thick material forces me to breathe like Vader as I dodge the walking Petri dishes to grab the last bag of frozen peas. Times are certainly changing.
Two months ago, we were asked to batten down the hatches and hibernate inside our homes, to shun physical proximity to neighbors, friends, and family. We were encouraged to distract ourselves with swamp-dwelling, murderous tiger-breeders while masses of youths, bored from lack of locker-drug-deals and gym class diverted their attention towards becoming e-famous for lipsynching, lip-licking, winking, and gyrating on video for all to see. Everyone became medical and epidemiological experts, tv-actors lectured the unemployed working class from inside their mansions, smokeboxing soared in popularity, and toilet paper became more valuable than gold.
Not all is different though. Politicians still quarrel over public-policies created solely to win the most votes and money. The media still distorts reality for clicks, views, and — you guessed it — money. Twitter and Reddit users still insist everyone should agree with them while tragically insecure celebrities continue to peddle their artificial superiority.
Reality TV and video happy-hours are poor substitutes for human interaction. With no clear end in sight, no jobs to go back to, and no distinguishable purpose behind the orders, lonely folks become disillusioned, agitated, and restless. We’re a nation of disillusioned, agitated, restless fools fed up with the status quo, bold or stupid enough to take up arms and fight for noble abstract ideals of freedom, independence, and self-determination. At even the faintest whisper of overreach or outright attack, we rise up and push back just as we’ve always done, just as we did in 2009, 2003, 1969, 1941, 1861, 1812, 1776, and 1619.
But Spring is the season of renewal, of rebirth, and that too is always as it’s been. In times of great distress, it’s common to identify that which is stable, that which is constant, what’s always been. It grounds us.
For the first time in too long, I noticed the color of Spring, which bursts forth every year from the stillness and silence of winter. I found joy in listening to the laughter and teasing of neighborhood kids playing hockey. Their innocence and happiness has been a blessing on grouchy cold adults since the dawning of man. I rediscovered the velvety warmth and comforting crackle of vinyl records — a deep love and comfort to me since childhood. I consumed my body weight in cheese and whiskey. What’s new?
In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
Once we are together again, let’s remember the good that has always been and the good that will continue to be. We’ll celebrate and laugh and share stories of our trials. We’ll remember what brought us together in the first place and we’ll be excited about our futures. Just bring yourself. I’ll bring cheese and whiskey.