As we sit on the cusp of May, it seems like the year is flying by. Almost 33% of the way done. Two years into the pandemic and two years into a new way of life.
When the news broke back in 2020 and things were scary, I went into Elvis Presley mode and by Elvis Presley mode, I mean TCB. Takin’ Care of Business. I embraced the new world we were living in and started the process of letting go of the way life had been. I waited in line to go into stores like everyone else and stocked up on basics without going into hoarder mode.
We are a devout Costco family and I hate running out of things, so we were never in any real danger of being out of anything. When supplies start to get low, I re-stock out of habit, so we were ready for the new way of life. We’ve always got plenty of canned food, for example, and toilet paper and water and animal food. I fill my car with gas when I get to a quarter tank. It’s just the way I operate.
Staying home was not a problem and now, I like how it feels kind of weird to be going out and doing something. We are very fortunate to have a comfortable home that we love. Rhondi and I sat on the porch a lot during that first year of the pandemic and talked and planned, even though we weren’t exactly sure what even the next week would bring.
I really miss how quiet it was in Phoenix after about 7pm in those first few months of the pandemic. There were no cars out on the street, really, after about then and we are far enough off the major streets near us that traffic noise was almost non-existent for a while. We would enjoy a beer or three and listen to music and just connect. Sometimes the kids would join us, and we would spend family time at the table in front, the table we got from Michael and Tracey when they moved out of state, and just be.
Two years ago, things were so up in the air. Trump was still President, making stupid and false comments about what was going on with the pandemic, and showing his true colors to everyone. It seemed like it was not going to end well for him and now, of course, we know that it is not even close to ending. I thought a lot about how our government was handling things and even would go off the rails a bit in my own mind about the possibility of the pandemic being something social engineers were behind to thin the herd and keep us scared.
It seems funny, in a way, to think of these things now. As mentioned, it was scary. The kids, as kids do, had questions and I would do my best to answer them, but really, what did any of us know? It’s still kind of scary but we are so used to living with our new reality that we have been edging towards what I like to consider being the new normal.
For me, the new normal is moving at a different pace than I did before. It is also caring about things that are important in my life in new ways. Prior to the pandemic, I had a different viewpoint on what I thought I needed to be happy and content. Many things that we very important to me became almost secondary or tertiary in nature. In some ways, I move faster on things than in the past and in others, I have let them go almost all together.
For the first few months of the pandemic, I jonesed for music so badly. I recorded dozens of mostly terrible riffs and wished that Bobby, Michael, and I could get together in a way that felt comfortable for all of us. I would have hated getting either of them sick (and still would, of course) and the idea of jamming in a small room just didn’t feel safe, even though all of us were taking a lot of precautions in our life.
When we did get together, we wore masks, but it just wasn’t comfortable. We were holding back and our songwriting and efforts to polish songs we had been working on for months at that time were not as fruitful as we were used to by any stretch of the imagination. Eventually we shut it down after we realized we were paying about $300 per practice.
It was hard, at first, but I eventually realized that I needed a break from being in a working band. I had an almost thirty year run of being in a working, active band and I didn’t realize how much of a toll it had taken on me. I love playing music, especially with Bobby and Michael, but the break was amazing. I started to realize how much of my focus and energy had been on music in some form or another.
The pandemic gave me a freedom I didn’t realize I needed or had. It probably helped that for the first year, there was nothing to miss out on. No gigs, shows, touring bands to worry about helped, but even when things started happening again, I was in no rush. If you would have asked me even two and a half ago if I would ever feel this type of “oh, well, no music is okay” feeling, I would have said you were nuts.
The same thing with staying home and going to bed early on a weekend night. In the before times, it always felt like we should be going and doing something. Now it just feels like we should do whatever feels best and most of the time, that is staying home. I don’t miss the action like I might have thought I would in the days before the pandemic.
I’m guessing this is not the only time I will write about what I have learned in the past two years. Be warned.
See you tomorrow and enjoy whatever it is you are doing or not doing.
This was from May of 2020...but close enough.