Monday, May 04, 2020

The reality vs. the want

It's now the beginning of May; someone I love very much spent her birthday in solitude, as most of us are, still.  Couldn't be with her, which is very sad.  We lost most of March, all of April and I would presume, May, which has always been - traditionally - my favorite month.

This pandemic, while slowed down, hasn't ceased; hasn't dissolved and allowed anyone a chance to truly breathe.  Businesses are still closed - certainly, New York is "closed', by and large.  I just read how a local cafe that I've been to is now gone - permanently, it seems.  Many businesses I've supported over the years are now finished.  If it wasn't directly attributed to the actual illness, it's been the recurring story of "the lease is up - the business has been closed due to the pandemic - I'm not going to be able to renew and keep things afloat".  It's heartbreaking.  Many restaurants and bars; longtime smaller shops - the "mom and pop" stores - are all meeting their final sunsets and it's another indicator of how things have gone - not just because of this nightmare epidemic, but the economic consequences.

People are protesting the necessity of quarantine and social distancing; these are not rational beings.  More bullshit indicators of "individual rights being taken away" - always selfish and not grasping that this is not some bad movie - this is real life and people are dying from a highly contagious virus.  For a moment, I had some misguided thought that people would open their eyes and think, in light of what's happening.  But no - human beings are generally selfish and don't have a concept of "the greater good" or even basic patience.

Whatever happens, I know nothing is going to be the same - it can't.  And it's not like a post-9/11 different, either.  This, I think, has a wider effect that doesn't allow us to go back to where we'd been before.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Anyone keeping track of time?

No, I'm not being funny - this isn't a time for humor.  I know it's Wednesday, April 1st.  I've been practicing the shelter-in-place/safe distance rule since March 13th, when I came home from the office and began working at home.  I can live with being isolated - it isn't a sacrifice; it's necessary.  As the instructions say, only go out for fresh air or necessities:  check.  I can live with - and actually savor - the peace and quiet.  I'm trying to make the most out of it.

But no, I'm definitely not happy nor reveling; after five people were let go yesterday, my company also reduced our salaries by 25% through June and that is not a good thing.  Yes, I'm glad I still have a job but no, it makes things very difficult.  Am I smart enough to sit down and map out what I need to do to get through these next three months - yes.  I can't allow myself to be swallowed by negative thoughts and irrational fears.  Planning is the wisest thing I can do.  I'm saving $300-plus dollars over the next three months by not buying a subway MetroCard.  That's money saved right there.  Not having to go out to get lunch at work is $100 a week saved.  And so on.  I know what I have to do to get through this.

My point?  We all have something we need to do to keep on pushing forward and get through the pandemic.  I know I will.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Spinning out of control

The city (and the world) is in a state of turmoil and panic; fear has spread rampantly to go along with this virus/flu that's been making the rounds.  I'm now on "work from home" orders as so many other people are and it's discombobulating and off-putting.  I have been diligent and common sense driven - and even though "social distance" (I hate these fucking buzzwords) is helpful, it's also wise to do the basics all the time - get a yearly flu shot; wash your hands; get ample rest; take vitamins, etc. 

This weekend was beautiful, weather-wise; a glimpse of the spring that is due to arrive by the end of this week.  As of this morning, schools are shut in New York City until mid-April (by orders of the governor, not the criminally-inept mayor - let's be clear about this); bars and restaurants are to close for seating tonight and hopefully we will see an overall lowering to the curve of this "pandemic".  Having gone out Saturday certainly showed me how people can act in a "proper" fashion during such an upending crisis.  Traffic was light - but it was already noon when we were driving; Target was not packed; toilet paper was available with the very wise "one package per customer, please" - cleaning products and all the usual groceries we buy were purchased - simply because we needed to replenish our standard supply.  We went out for lunch at Chili's and the restaurant was busy - not packed - and people were glad to be in a more social setting; a lot of smiles, if anything.  Even the brief run to Stop & Shop wasn't what I expected -  again, we were able to get exactly what we needed - all of what is regularly bought by us - and there weren't outrageous lines or fights, etc.  Maybe we we lucky; maybe we timed it right - I don't know.

What I do know is:  this is strange, but it's not something we can't get through on the whole.  9/11 was worse because it was unexpected and we were thrown into something we weren't previously used to.  This is an illness; we've been given warning and instructions on - if anything - how to prevent it and, more importantly, how collectively, we can bring the curve down.  Patience and acclimating one's self to these new circumstances is paramount - and if people do things the "right way" and follow simple directions, I think this could end faster and without greater damage.

I remain optimistic.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Empty February

It's probably not a secret that I don't like February.  I never have; it's the darkest, bleakest, most grating month of the winter - considering it's the shortest month of the year, it's slightly ironic. But I don't like it.  And I've grown to detest it even more since 2015, when I received the news of my ex-girlfriend's death.  Now I just hate it because I'm reminded of it.  Adding insult to injury, I had forgotten that the last time she and I ever spoke to one another was on Valentine's Day, 1994.  

It was a wet, grey day - we had been going through a protracted split since Christmas '93, but there were moments in the last weeks of January that hinted of a slow/possible reconciliation.  Yet, I knew it couldn't be - otherwise, we'd only continue hurting one another and being unhappy - not just together, but with ourselves. So when we had that two-hour "what are you doing?" conversation, I knew there had to be a cap on it.  I'd sent her a dozen roses, which I'd never done, just to make myself feel better, since it was the first time in 8 years that I was alone on Valentine's Day.  And when it was time to go, I said something to her that I'd never said before. Before we hung up the phone, I said "goodbye, Susan - take care of yourself." And I knew.

Now it's five years that she's gone and I wish she was still here, enjoying her life.  I didn't know her at all, anymore - but I just wish she was still here.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Everything new is old again...

So here we are at the start of a new decade; I'm happy to have rung in the new year on a very quiet, calm and relaxed note.  I don't go to parties; I don't like to go out on New Year's Eve - I don't drink, so there's no hangover and it feels good to start things off with a very clear head.  After I finish this, I'm on my way to the gym - not because it's any kind of "resolution" (I do not subscribe to those), but because it's a "free" day (I'll do the same tomorrow and maybe through the weekend as well), since I don't go back to work until Monday.  I want to be able to say that this time away from the office was well-spent, which it has been, all in all.  If I pick up a guitar within these next two days, I will have accomplished all that I set out to do within this time off.  It was a low bar set, granted, but I wanted to do things that made sense, didn't waste time and achieved certain goals.

So here I am - five days from 55; I've noticed for the first time, my hair is starting to thin a little...  oh well.  Can't do anything about it.  It's nature and the passing of the years.

I can only hope that this year is a lot less fraught with tension, anger and suspicion.  I'm certainly in the right mindset, but that doesn't account for everyone else.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Another year; another milestone...

It's now past the 15 year mark since I started doing this blog; amazing.  I know it isn't what it was, but it's still a comforting friend that I like to spend time with when I can.  At the same time, I'm glad that life and I, as an individual, have progressed and grown/matured over those 15 years - with the advent, rise and subsequent overtaking of social media, I'm afraid the same can't be said for so many people who are older and (I thought) far wiser than I. I tend now to simply stay away for the fact that things like Facebook, etc. don't enhance or bring pleasure to my life.  If I'm on Facebook, it's to post my writing or the podcast link, etc.  No more engagement with anyone - not even about music.

But here I am, on a Friday December morning, on the first day of my break from work.  It's cold but sunny - how it ought to be.  Coffee should be a quick rescue and then it's time to get myself into Manhattan to stick with December tradition (started in 2010) - haircut and then dinner at Caffe Reggio with my favorite person in the world.

Like this blog beginning in '04, a tradition.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving thanks (as always)

It's that time; tomorrow is that day - my one and only favorite holiday; the one I keep near and dear and hold sacred.  There's no agenda; no gifts, etc. - just the joy of quiet; spending it with people you love and care about.  A good meal; warm conversation and a chance to actually reflect on things.  Thanksgiving is about mental/spiritual cataloguing for me.

This year has been one of many ups-and-downs for some of my friends; it's been fraught with frustration, uncertainty and sadness.  For some, it seems the clouds are lifting; for others, the road is getting a little clearer, but they haven't reached their destination.  For them, I wish calm, clarity, peace and ultimately, joy on their way.  I know they'll get to where they need to be - I have faith in them, but mostly, a lot of love and respect.

I'm thankful for everything.  And everyone who is part of my life and my heart.