Is it just me? It feels like 2023 has been a slog so far. I’m pretty certain it isn’t just me, because as I look around, everyone looks like they are struggling. Life is full of struggles, but I don’t remember them being so palpable around most people most of the time like now. We strive and yearn and wait. Like Holy Week.
I see it on the faces of everyone I talk to. The war wearied look of two years and three months since life changed. As we peer into a fall in which COVID continues to roar along and many I know who had dodged it are now catching it, life-February-2020-style feels more distant than ever.
The last couple of years brought us a desire to escape from the real world, maybe more than ever before. Due to the circumstance that led us to seek a hiding place, many of the refuges from reality we’ve traditionally sought weren’t available. We didn’t have movies at movie theaters. We didn’t have concerts. We lost sporting events. The attempts to provide substitutes were poor replacements for the real thing.
When the pandemic first hit, we quickly watched various staples become hard to purchase, including — as plenty of memes gleefully remind us — toilet paper. Though less attention grabbing, meat, milk and other essentials also became harder to find and that pushed me to rediscover an old friend: Aldi.
Today is the first day of autumn. The new season begins at 3:20 p.m. Eastern time, so it’s really the first part-day of autumn. It is not by design that I’ve gone on a bit recently about the passage of time and our perception thereof. It just seems to have inserted itself into a lot of recent (how do we even define “recent”?) events.
I told my friend Dennis E. Powell that I’m starting to believe in Skynet. Over the last week, virtually everything that could go wrong with the technology I depend on for work has gone wrong, as if it has actively turned against me. Having spent a fair number of years wrangling information technology, one thing has always provided a path to survival in those times: redundancy. Redundancy masks problems in the best of ways, much like the physical masks that are such a lightning rod in our culture today.
Here’s something that I bet you know, but that it seems our government and news media — in large measure that’s redundant — don’t know: A lot of people are afraid of shots. They head the other way when the needle comes out. You know such people. Maybe you are such a person.
The disease that we will likely recall for the rest of our lives as simply “the Pandemic” has been answered by vaccines that, by any pre-COVID standard, would be viewed as incredibly effective. Reduce spread, reduce severity and do so with stunningly few severe side effects? How can “NoVax” be appealing in that light?