“Perfection itself is imperfection.” Vladimir Horowitz
Last spring, as we were all hunkering down for our Pandemic lockdown, I wrote one or two blogs about those who were doing well. Or who SAID they were doing well. I’ll quote a bit from one of those blogs here:
“I’ve been getting emails concerning something I’ll call “Pandemic Shaming.” You’ve probably seen it on your own Social Media; someone you know (your colleague, a classmate, or friend) is doing Great Things in isolation. Those Great Things can be practicing 10 hours a day, writing the Great American Oratorio (or Novel) and perhaps learning another language (and becoming swiftly fluent in it–Portuguese seems to be popular) or something equally impressive. The classes and ensembles they are teaching or conducting are making such progress via e-learning or their community chorus is having weekly Zoom rehearsals and loving it. They muse (on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) about how they don’t understand how anyone CANNOT be productive with this “gift” we’ve all been given–of time and solitude. I would venture a guess that these folks sound too good to be true and the rest of us should take all their “thriving in the time of Pandemic” with a grain of salt.”
Carlota* tells me those blogs have helped her sanity the last few months. She’s printed them up and reads them when she’s feeling defeated, which is quite often lately.
Her father died in May 2020, not of COVID-19, but of a long-standing cancer everyone thought he defeated. With COVID-19 restrictions in full force at the time, her family was not able to be with him as he died. His funeral was nothing like he had wanted. This summer they’ve planned a memorial service more to his wishes and she is hopeful it will take place.
Carlota’s son DID have COVID-19 last fall and has had a number of post-COVID-19 health issues. He’s gaining strength, and was always a healthy young man, so the doctors tell them he should probably recover completely. Even though he’s on the mend, he had to give up his apartment and move back with them in January. He’s able to work from home, so he’s still employed and for that, they are grateful. If he had to go into his office every day, it’s doubtful he would have the energy.
Her husband’s business had some problems, early in the Pandemic, but they seem to have worked themselves out. But for several months, it was tough going. They had planned to take a special cruise for their 30th wedding anniversary and the money earmarked for that got them through the difficult times. Of course, they won’t be taking a cruise any time soon.
Carlota directs an auditioned community chorus and last spring, like all of our choruses, every one of their rehearsals and concerts were cancelled. They tried Zoom and virtual concerts, as well as parking lot drive-by sings with mixed results. There was one point when the Chorus Board thought they might disband completely, but the Executive Director found a way to help them to continue. At this point, 75% of their membership is vaccinated, so by mid-summer, they hope to be able to have in-person rehearsals with a possible concert in the fall.
She knows things could be worse, but it hasn’t been easy for Carlota throughout the last year. That’s why she’s unfriended or “muted” several of her best friends on Facebook. In times past, she was typically happy for her friends. But all their bragging, all their great stuff and achievements just strikes a sour tone with her now. And Carlota doubts things are as wonderful for them as they declare them to be. She wonders WHY they feel the need to crow about their good fortune when others are barely scraping by; it just seems wrong. Instead of having to read about them daily in her newsfeed, it has been a relief not to. She’ll probably unmute and re-friend them once things are back to normal. Even if she doesn’t, it won’t be a terrible loss.
Until next week, be well and be safe!
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/