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Isolation…

isolationIt’s a strange thing, this isolation.

Living inside our own heads. Communicating with our thumbs on small devices. Missing our friends. Missing where we used to gather. To eat. To drink. To laugh. To play. Even to work. We took all that for granted, until now.

There’s more than a few still out there….feeling invincible. Beaches are packed…..parks are packed….no social distancing for this lot. I went for a solitary walk yesterday and was surprised to see so many large groups of people still wandering….inches apart. Seemingly oblivious. Judge not lest ye be judged, but I gave them plenty of lee-way as I slid my way past.

And for the hypochondriacs among us? This is Armageddon. Every sniffle or cough or sore throat or stubbed toe is proof that the virus has arrived. Self-diagnosing has gone into overdrive, and with so much conflicting bullshit out there, what could possibly go wrong? When facebook memes replace our primary care physicians, it’s time to reboot the internet.

And, as always, there’s the invisible among us. The ones who can’t “stay home” because they don’t have one. There’s not been much mention of our homeless populations recently, but then again there’s never much mention of our homeless populations. Just another slit in the safety net. I have no idea how they are coping now. And I have no idea how they were coping before this. And that should be my shame. And ours. Maybe this will change things for them as well. Maybe they’ll be invited out of the cold. Maybe we can help find everybody a home to quarantine themselves in.

And through it all the same idiots are out there, filling up their shopping carts with all the toilet paper and all the eggs, smirking at the bewildered empty-handed elderly as they load up the SUV and tear away. These are the worst of us, and will probably come through this without the proverbial scratch. Because there is no such thing as karma, no matter how much we pretend otherwise.

But still…..for every shithead, there’s 100 angels. Even though we can’t be together, I’ve seen folks come together in so many ways. Folks offering to deliver food. Restaurants offering free meals to the elderly. And just a bunch of regular people saying “I’m here if you need anything, so just ask.”

Teachers had a day or two at most to come up with a plan B….with no extra resources. No extra money. And no real direction other than “figure it out”. And they did….which is why my daughter is sitting at her desk in her room right now, in a virtual classroom with all her classmates, learning. Small miracles are breaking out everywhere, and they are not coming from the titans of industry…..the gods of Wall Street…..the 1%-ers. They are coming from the ones so casually dismissed just a few weeks ago. Cashiers. Cooks. Warehouse folks. Drivers. Minimum wagers. Those pesky teachers who “only work 180 days a year”. And through it all Washington has only made things infinitely worse, so at least there’s some continuity and comfort in a sea of change.

On Saturday night I did my first ever “virtual gig“…..streaming live on Facebook from my basement. I played for 75 minutes and had a great audience cheering me on (and a local audience of my 2 daughters) the entire time and I can’t remember ever feeling better about what I do. Because it came into focus that the music, not just mine, matters. Call it what you will. A diversion. A distraction. I don’t care. But these virtual gigs are popping up all over the place now, and folks are tuning in and dropping coins in virtual tip jars and artists are playing and singing their asses off. It’s a place to go for an hour or so, to sing and to dance like nobody is watching, because nobody is. So maybe once we get past all this madness and you’re out in your local watering hole and there’s some musicians there, maybe give ’em a nod or a wink. You have no idea how much it matters. But then again, now, maybe you do.

It’s a strange thing, this isolation.

We’re learning about ourselves. For some, introspection like this is uncomfortable. For others, it can be a revelation.

Stay safe. Stay home. Be good to each other. More music is on the way..

In a bit.

–tf

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