Here we are-2021
The Covid -19 pandemic continues to do a Mr. Bill Bojangles Robinson-type tap dance on the psyches of people all over the globe. This virus has caused division, confusion, illness, death and a new kind of media-driven crackpot mentality. Ahem, I will leave the horse dewormer, Ivermectin, to the horses, and defer to people who went to medical school for many years to get my medical advice—not Facebook experts. But hey, that’s just me. Moreover, I’m vaccinated but still play a strong defense because I want to stay in the game, if you catch my drift. The stats on unvaccinated folks ending up in hospitals is all we should need to hear. But then again, the new normal seems that some folks deny science.
I recently told a guy who thinks science doesn’t have the answers, “The next time you go get a root canal, tell your dentist that you don’t believe in Novocain.” The guy was speechless. I then told him, “I’ve had a few root canals and I go with the dentist’s suggestion. He’s a medical expert. Novocain is based on science.” The guy remained speechless. Given all of this I remain optimistic; I charge forward and I’m very interested to see how things play out for us all. I say all, because we are all in this mess together. I’ll trust the science and not the “Mensa Members” spouting Ivermectin treatments on social media. Just sayin.’
I’m a simple guy and have become a very easily amused, simpler guy; especially as I’ve gotten older because we just don’t have time for nonsense as we age. Besides aimlessly sailing my boat, I like to work at the ferry dock, run the dogs, ride my e-bike, read, write, and take the bride out on what we call Date Nights where we hit a restaurant and grub up and discuss the human condition.
Simple stuff has become the profound stuff for the McDonald-Houlihans during the past year, and we’ll continue on this course because it seems to be serving us well. When the pandemic kicked into gear in March 2020, I didn’t really change my simple aforementioned routines; neither did my wife except for the traveling trips she does to different parts of the world. (She really needs to hop on an airplane and get out of Dodge, but the world is not quite open, yet.) She’s getting itchy for some new place to explore. We’ve adapted like everyone else has adapted because that is the basic nature of humans, and fortunately we have both stayed healthy thus far.
As the summer cranked into full gear we saw huge numbers of people going to Block Island. The weather helped get things rolling in June where we saw lots of traffic at the ferry docks. I kept thinking that June was like July, July was like August, and August was like something I’ve never seen at the ferry. Usually, Sundays are a bit slower than Saturdays; however, that was not the case, especially this August. People just kept on coming and businesses were thriving. Perhaps this is the new normal. When I went to Newport to go sailing this summer it was apparent that the season was much different than last summer. (I heard the same for Old and New Harbor on the island.) In Newport, there were more boats and bigger crowds all over town. Moreover, the festivals were spread out over more days, which was a good idea, and perhaps this will also be a new normal. My take on this is there seems to be an urgency to be out and about since the population is adapting to the pandemic and maybe we’re finding a middle ground. Remember, after extreme swings the pendulum usually returns to the middle of its arc.
One of the biggest surprises for me this last week of September was finding that the Seamen’s Institute was again open on Bowen’s Wharf
at Newport Harbor.
I’m writing this column a few hundred yards from where my sailboat is moored. I had planned to write in my sailboat/shed, Reverie today, but it’s raining, warm and muggy. As I stopped in to get some coffee at the 12 Metre Café inside Seamen’s, I saw that the conference room was open and I immediately went to the Jeep and got my writing bag. I was jacked up over this little touch of normalcy. When Seamen’s closed because of the pandemic in March 2020 I was saddened by the loss of this simple place where I can access a library and, most important, some peace and quiet. Furthermore, if my boat is rocking and rolling too much in the winter months I can just hike over to this little hideout and crunch out some nouns and verbs for a column or whatever else I happen to be writing. This place is conducive for reading, thinking, writing and drinking coffee.
The Seamen’s Institute is a prime example of a simple, yet profound place. I’ll never take this great resource and building for granted after not having access to this particular room for over a year. I’ve used this Newport landmark for over 40 years and want it to stay open to the public. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, and the pandemic has made this painfully clear to us all on many levels.
Finally, here we are in 2021 as the pandemic continues its Mr. Bill Bojangles Robinson-style tap dance on our collective heads. I keep believing and hoping that the rapid pace of the science, statistics, and messaging will balance itself out and we’ll all find some objectivity on our way back to normalcy, health, and growth. To windward we go.