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Postcards from the Pandemic XIV (Resolutions)

Updated: May 30

Wilkes Barre Scranton Railriders @ Rochester Red Wings

Frontier Stadium

May 22, 2021

The sun has risen on a new day! Slowly a return to normalcy. With observations spread out over 14 articles over the last year, I’ve learned a little about human nature and made a couple resolutions going forward past this pandemic. Pleasantly, I had the chance to quietly contemplate these thoughts as I attended my first ballgame in nearly 19 months. I did have to add another pregame ritual before I entered the ballpark, proof of vaccination, this coupled with security checks and ticket scans. Fortunately, I was flying solo on this afternoon so I didn’t have a bag to inspect as well. There were lines for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, those in masks and those without masks. For those folks, (myself included), we were caught flat footed and had forgot to bring proof that indeed we were fully vaccinated. Perhaps distracted by the fact that we could go in public with naked faces, we dropped the ball on bringing the proper documentation to the ballgame. Read that last sentence again and let that sink in. Dozens of ticketholders all clumped at the gate trying to download a statewide app proving our vaccinations with little or no wifi. I suppose a small price to pay for normalcy.


As my thoughts drifted out over Frontier Stadium and past the Rochester skyline, I began to fully realize how life altering the last year was. The society I now live in will deal with pandemics, I suspect, every 10 years or so. There’s almost 8 billion people on the planet, is just plain math. Just like we’ve had to deal with mass shootings, and terrorist attacks. As I probably mentioned in a previous post, this will create a whole new breed of germophobes. I think about were all my masks will reside. Probably in the back of my pajama drawer with the bandanas and the headbands. I see a world where you need proof of current vaccinations to travel from country to country. I see a world where people politicize science and pubic health. Where a quarter of the population theorizes of government conspiracy about pandemics and or vaccines.


Unamerican Graffiti, 2009

By D*Face

Screenprint

Over the last year, I’ve found that most of us find ways to rationalize situations around pandemics and public health in general. We all know that person, because we are all that person. We’ll all have a good reason for that social gathering or distancing based on whether it suit our agenda. We’ll all “absolutely need” to go to work (even though were sick). As much as we think we’re collectively considerate of our fellow human beings, we’re not. We are self-serving and selfish in nature, period. Yes, the acceptations are there, but not enough to turn a tide on a worldwide pandemic. Just like the flu, we will never fully eradicate Covid-19. I hope that’s more of an editorial statement and doesn’t prove factual in the coming years. Millions of people go every year without a flu shot, so it only makes sense that those same people won’t get vaccinated against Covid-19 or get a booster when it’s available. Honestly, I thought this summer would look a lot like last summer, but I’m reconsidering that. People are going to do whatever they want regardless and bitch and complain and blame the government when they can’t.


Indefined Divisibilty, 1942

By Yves Tanguy

Oil on Canvas

I stare out over the diamond on a meaningless ballgame in May, where either pitcher can’t find the strike zone and the first 3 innings have taken nearly an hour and 40 minutes. I also reflect about the charm of quarantine and its unexpected side effects. I mean no disrespect to those that have had Covid or have had to endure the tragedy and grief of loss due to Covid. With two grown boys in the house, most of the time they were home all the time. I know what you’re thinking, that’s not a plus. With Shannon working from home, a far more stress-free work environment, not to mention more time together, even it’s by proximity, we’re together more than we’ve been in…well…ever! I remember the first time I had to put a pair of pants on after 3 months of sweatpants or pajamas. It felt like I was getting ready to go scuba diving. I would say that over the last year, 90 percent of our meals were home cooked. The boys even got more savoy in the kitchen making Rahman from scratch and stir-frying fresh vegetables and tofu. Most of the meals were consumed around the dinner table as well, normally a rarity with grown dudes with jobs, college and girlfriends. While productivity in the studio was good, the productivity around my waistline was not. All those home cooked meals had to go somewhere. With the gyms being closed by state mandate for 6 months, that didn’t help matters. Fast forward 8 months, I still haven’t got back to my pre pandemic 3 days a week regimen. Excuses for sitting on your ass for hours doing stupid shit on your phone or streaming an entire series on Netflix in three days wasn’t only necessary but recommended by the CDC. Momentum is everything once you get over the age of 50. Don’t laugh, you’ll be there someday and these words will echo in your head.

Cancelling holidays sucked, or did it? Thanksgiving and Christmas felt like a charade, as did birthdays. A Zoom meeting for pumpkin pie or driving to someone’s house to wave to them in the driveway was far more annoying than any time spent with in-laws making small talk. I know, you had to make the effort because that’s all you could do. Perhaps holidays will change too going forward. Will it be easier to make a virtual appearance at the holiday gathering than to make the effort to show up? Is stumbling through the technological aspect of a muted microphone or frozen camera still count as qualified time “spent” with the family? I guess we’ll see. There’s truth in the term “The New Normal”. Our routines and habits will indeed be redefined. Where we spend our free time and who we spend our time with may come under scrutiny.


Untitled, 1983

By Keith Haring

Lithograph

A worldwide pandemic will forever alter my headspace. So much of my daily life is shaking hands, hugging family and customers and distant friends. Thoughts about buffets, salad bars, continental breakfasts and a simple bowl of chips at a party will be looked at sideways from now on. I know people long for social interaction but to what degree? I worry about this from a business standpoint. Roc Paint Sip made the pivot to virtual classes to stay alive during the pandemic, but it’s not just as easy as “going back to normal classes.” People’s attitudes and ideas have changed about what having a party means. At the time of this article, I’ve not got no calls for paint parties this summer . I also know that can change on a dime. I’ll remain hopeful and do my best to get the word out there.

In the end, I hope I’m wrong on some of future predictions. I hope to someday get rid of all my masks except for may one, I’ll use for sanding a wall before I paint it. I hope to reminisce to grandchildren about the time there was a worldwide pandemic and the earth stood still for a time. When kids went to school in pajamas at their dining room tables. When stores ran out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. When people refused to believe that the pandemic was even real and a government conspiracy. That this was truly a once in a lifetime event. I’ve reduced all of life’s ingredients into a thick rue of what’s to be the flavor of my life’s stew, which coincidently, is fairly close to my business’s mission statement. Family, friends, painting, art, making memories. And to a lesser degree, the contemplation of life through a pandemic over a beer and ballgame.


Life is a Complicated Business, 1967

By Corita Kent

Screenprint


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