So, 2020 is having a rough start.
For all the promise and hope we showered upon its arrival on Jan. 1, it has turned in a somewhat disappointing performance to this point. Actually, calling it “somewhat disappointing” is probably on par with labeling the launch of New Coke as a “little underwhelming” or the Ravens’ deplorable showing in their first playoff game as “slightly unfortunate.” I mean, how does a team that breaks the all-time record for rushing yards in a season only run the ball...
But I digress.
The year has been a bust. We have watched a global pandemic spread to every continent on the planet except Antarctica. (Fun fact: the lowest natural air temperature ever recorded on Earth was measured at the Russian Vostok station on Antarctica in 1983 — a balmy -128.6˚F. Thank you, Wikipedia. [Editor’s note: We do not usually fact-check our stories using Wikipedia. Just so you know...])
In addition to the deaths (more than 260,000 worldwide as of Wednesday morning, according to the WHO), the responses to COVID-19 have caused economies to crumble, small businesses to teeter on the brink of insolvency, citizens to predictably split into their political teams with how they see the virus, and depression and domestic violence to rise.
Locally, the cancelation of July 4 events could be the proverbial nail in the coffin for some coastal businesses that rely specifically on the fortunes of that holiday to make it through the rest of the year, and citizens in several of the beach towns — many of whom chose to move here specifically because of that big body of water and its beach over to the east — are not even able to go enjoy that inspiring natural wonder for a soul-cleansing and heart-strengthening walk.
And, look, I’m glad I’m not one of the people who has to make these decisions, and I’m not going to sit here and hate on those who do. No matter what direction they take, they will be ripped apart for it.
Open up too soon and more people die and you go to sleep for the rest of your life with that hanging over your head. Keep things shuttered for too long and your town or state becomes a ghost town, with vacant businesses and individuals unable to pay their rents and mortgages.
We can have all the data points, research, economic forecasts, physicians from different parts of the country and YouTube experts in the world, and at the end of the day, it comes down to human beings disseminating it all and making the tough calls. And don’t think for a minute that every single decision they make won’t be ripped apart and used against them in their next elections, while people call them monsters or nitwits for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Do you want to know why we often have the underwhelming choices we have when going to the voting booths? Because a lot of rational people don’t want to deal with all this other stuff that goes with being in office. Making decisions like these is hard. Making decisions like these while half the town, state or nation is predetermined to disagree with you, makes it nearly impossible to reach any kind of consensus.
So, basically, you do what you think is right and just prepare to take the hits.
Surprisingly (or not), I got sidetracked a little bit there. My original point was to discuss how 2020 has basically walked into our collective home, rummaged through our food and left a steaming pile of poop on our kitchen floor. It has been frightening, frustrating, baffling and depressing all at once — much like reality television. And now we have murder hornets? Really? What’s next? Fruit flies that change our Netflix passwords while we sleep?
I’m a little cranky today. I admit that, and I apologize. The COVID-19 stuff has me fearful for my business, my community, and my family and neighbors. Plus, I haven’t been able to see my mommy in 2020. Not once.
We live about eight hours apart by car, so the trips aren’t as frequent as they should be (read: me being lazy). After enjoying her company for Christmas, we had set up plans for me to take the family down to visit the first week of April, but guess how that went? That’s right. Shut down.
So, yeah, no visit to see my mom. No watching her play with her granddaughter or arguing over politics or raiding her fridge. And it is killing me.
See, my mom is a survivor of pancreatic cancer. She fought, battled and suffered through that vile presence in her body, and she was able to start living a life of clean scans and a somewhat-normal appetite again. Then this hit. And, to be honest, it made me scared for her.
We talk on the phone. We interact on social media. We have Sunday afternoon family Zoom chats. Like most of you, we do what we can. But it’s not enough.
I miss you, Mom. Like others, I can’t see you right now, and that stinks. But I wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you, lady, and I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.