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Here we are again

My mind can only be imprisoned if I allow it. Yes, here we are again. But how will I do it differently this time around? It’s clear that joylessness isn’t working.

“Here we are again
The start of the end
But there’s more (But there’s more)
I only want to see if you’ll give up on me
But there’s always more”

Todd Rundgren – from “International Feel

I keep thinking of this tune, or rather, this section of it. It opens Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star album, which was released in 1973. Of course, I think the message of the lyrics then was about the broadening of horizons and a plea to listeners to stay with him because he was about to try something different with the album. But that’s not the reason why I’m quoting it here. It’s forever imprinted in my consciousness because I’ve listened to the album innumerable times, so my mind is using it for something else. It seems to be using it to label the mess we’re in yet again with this pandemic. The panic has returned. There are shortages of supplies like test kits and of appointments for tests and vaccinations, long lines, news stories that relish the use of the word “spike,” the usual mismanagement and misinformation, and most significantly, the conclusion yet again that we’re on our own and that no one is coming to help. “Here we are again/the start of the end/but there’s more…”

Then my mind jumps to the reprise of that tune on side one “Le Feel Internacionale.” “…and there’s always more…”

I’ve kept up with the vaccination and booster, but even that doesn’t seem to buy you much this time around, except maybe the opportunity to keep living. About this, I suppose that I should be pleased, and I am, but it hasn’t afforded me the comfort I longed for in 2020 or even 2021. There’s still this ill-advised waiting for it to be over pervading my attitude. I read today that the president is being advised to construct a new approach, a new tactic – one based upon the notion that we will always be living with this virus, instead of continuing with policies designed to stamp it out. If that’s not throwing up your hands, I don’t know what is. But it’s true. Too many Americans won’t play. Too many of them won’t do their part to stamp it out. Every last one of them is accepting the role of walking petri dish in which new and exciting mutations can be produced, each one carrying with it the potential that we’ll have to start at the beginning again. “The start of the end…”

I know more people who’ve contracted this disease than ever before. It’s almost not a surprise, though I’m never comfortable with it whenever it happens. It’s all around my family at work and school, but nothing is closed this time. Is it fatigue? Apathy? The recognition of futility?

I’m at an age when some people say things like “life was better 30 years ago” and they can actually remember it. It’s not hyperbole to declare such a thing. The living was easier then. Who could possibly argue?

If you’ve spent any time looking for a new job over the last two years, you’re familiar with a new recruiter phrase: Remote until Covid. It means that the position can be filled by someone working at home until Covid goes away and people start going back into offices. Aren’t they just rays of sunshine? Spreading hope that such a day will come, and possibly within the term of a 6-12 month contract!

I guess that’s my challenge. Am I remote until Covid? Or more specifically, am I hanging in limbo until Covid? That’s what it feels like I’ve been doing. Only I can I decide to feel differently. Though I’m not one to put myself at risk by flouting good sense on gatherings, masks and vaccines, I don’t have to accept that “remoteness.” Covid can’t put my mind or my joy in a cage, unless I allow it. I’ve read similar philosophies written by the imprisoned. Is this any different? If someone can get through a twenty year stretch by protecting that place in his own mind, in his own heart, that can’t be imprisoned, then I certainly shouldn’t live by that “Remote until Covid” axiom either. Because I don’t believe that a single morning will come when it will all be over. It will end slowly, if at all. When it does, I don’t know how much older I’ll be, but I do know that it will be a terrible time to have to start doing anything. It’s better to start now.

“There’s always more…”

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