Unlike your bad back, the fight with your boss, the drama with your phone company, no one can complain about the pandemic. First off, because we’re all in it together. What can you say that is new for someone else or that they haven’t already felt or experienced? Secondly, because if you find yourself whining about the extra 5-minute line at Trader Joes while it’s drizzling outside, you’re insensitively ignoring the hundreds of thousands who have died, the thousands more who couldn’t say goodbye to a loved one dying or grieve properly, the thousands more who are struggling because they can’t do their job. Really, you’re going to complain about the line at the store? And finally, there’s no space to brainstorm a solution unless you’re a scientist on the brink of perfecting the vaccine. What’s the point if you can’t do anything about it?
But like the weather, we do talk about it anyway. And so I’ll chime in with my miniscule thoughts, probably of interest to no one but me and even I’m not that fascinated. But here it is:
I think I’m perfectly content to stay in my house, in my neighborhood, in my city, but I’ve had an awful lot of dreams about being at airports and missing my flight. Consciously, I really don’t miss flying and traveling, but my subconscious is suggesting otherwise.
And then there’s the reflection on the 60,000 hours spent giving music classes and Orff workshops. I’ve both accommodated to and genuinely enjoyed some aspects of the Zoom alternative, but buried beneath that is the simple fact that I miss holding hands in a circle with strangers who become friends of sorts within five minutes. I miss throwing out musical pings and receiving back their responsive pongs. I miss the palpable vibrations of voices raised together in song (not on muted mics) and the swirl and motion of circle-dancing together. I miss the laughter and the buzz and the bubbly chatter before, during and after the activities. I miss the thoughtful silence as the words tumble out from me describing the importance of this work we’re doing, taking flight and finding poetic utterance on the wings of the group energy. I miss the closing circle, the group exhale and sense of returning to the everyday word having tasted a bit of heaven, fortified, inspired, warmed and touched.
The echoes of this all come through on Zoom as within five minutes with total strangers in gridded screens, I feel the sensation of us all already old friends, so relaxed and joking and having fun with little gestures of response. But it ain’t nearly the same.
And so while I’ve accepted, adapted to, found gifts in the previously-unimaginable world of the pandemic (who ever would have guessed this would happen a mere 10 months ago?), I am also growing weary of it. I don’t want to return to the normal of taking everything for granted and distracting ourselves with endless sensation and the hyper-speed of useless busyness and unneeded consumption. But I do want it to end (vaccines, we’re waiting!) so I can shake hands with strangers, hug friends, sit in a the bustle of a crowded restaurant, watch a Warriors game in a bar and most importantly, stand in a circle with kids or adults about to make some magic happen with song, dance and instruments. Yes I do.