136. Changing the tune

Tuesday March 9 2021

On March 9, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a state of emergency after three (only 3!) individuals tested positive for COVID-19.

donnatopia.com, Frog in a Hot Pot, March 31 2020

We’re marking the one year anniversary of living in our New Normal world, which is really a kind of dodgy thing to claim, since finding any semblance of normal continues to be the analogy of nailing Jell-O to a tree. We want to see an end to this mask-wearing and be able to travel freely among our people of choice. However and whenever the New Normal settles into a stable state, we likely will want it to be very different that what it is. Because it will never be the Old Normal ever again.

I’m flipping stations on the car radio during my evening commute, looking for a distraction strong enough to help me detox the day. The talk radio station’s syndicated gasbag is eviscerating the Harry and Megan expose, so I tune to NPR who is reporting on the growing “kidnapping industry” preying on schoolgirls in Nigeria. I listen to this horrific story, then move to one of the mix music stations where the DJ is explaining how peanut butter preference – creamy vs. chunky – reveals personality traits and proceeds to detail how he makes a PB & J sandwich. With a sigh, I press the Scan button to let the universe find something appropriate for my delicate psyche. Classic rock, it is.

The pandemic continues to be daily news, especially with the vaccine rollout, but it’s not constant news. We’re seeing more of the celebrity gossip and global social injustice stories asking for our attention. We can tune to a radio station and be annoyed about peanut butter. And we feel inspired enough to belt out “Layla” along with Eric Clapton on the car radio. This feels like we’re moving to a better place, but is it really true?

At the end of this month, this journal of my own experience into dystopia turns one year old. There are historical societies that are requesting personal journals kept during the pandemic and I’m considering whether my journey would be an appropriate submission. A prestigious national museum requires relinquishment of all rights to your work, which is a deal breaker for me. An Ohio historical institution is a strong consideration. I’m still researching other options as well.

Will I continue journaling after March 31st? Yeah, I will. But I’ll put this first year into a printed book. It’ll be work to do it, but worth it, I believe.

I realize that these contemporary stories that we all have today don’t have impact, as each of us is plodding through this mess every day. But I’m looking to the future, when living memory is gone, lost to time as the challenges during World War II is to our youngest generations. Someday, perhaps, there will be a student of history who will want to understand what life was like during the Great Pandemic of 2020. And among all the books and photos and artifacts of this historic period, my words will be there, too.

I like how that feels.

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