An unsuspected virus brought the world to its knees and now life will never be the same again, everything has changed, but now as spring and the vaccines arrive it's time to live once more.
All the little moments of annoyance we encounter every day -- a key ring missing, an argument, a long wait for a train -- preoccupy us for a time and seem so important.
But there is always a big moment out there, waiting its turn, a real game-changer, something we never experienced or expected, and a mountain compared to the little molehill of everyday annoyances. Like a rogue comet, it crashes into our earth and takes our lives apart.
Such a moment was Covid-19 when our lives, usually preoccupied with small habitual things, suddenly came face to face with a monster that has killed more than 552,470 Americans so far and sickened millions more.
It was as unsuspected as it was real. Every corner of the globe shuddered under its impact.
We clung to hope, listening to the experts hoping for a miracle cure. We heard doom and gloom for quite a long time. More recently the fragile thing called hope surfaced as vaccines came through.
Some made ludicrous claims, none more so than Donald Trump in the White House who said there would only be about 15 deaths, more than 485,000 short of how many there really are so far. He also pedaled a malaria drug as a miracle cure that proved as useful as a chocolate teapot.
A sense of unreality took over. Our Hall of Fame event for our magazine is set for the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day. There are 400 people coming, the room is booked, the music is booked, the deposit paid...what do you mean it can’t happen?
I see, yes, it can't happen.
When I thought about mortal disasters that could strike I suspected a dirty bomb or a nuclear attack, not a virus 0.0000008 inches long that could kill with deadly efficiency.
I sometimes wondered if the virus was a live thing. How did it know how to penetrate? How did it know to jump from person to person? How sneaky and cunning it was.
I write this a year to the day when my life changed, imperceptibly at first, then dramatically, then in a full flow that washed away large parts of my past activities forever.
Suddenly there was no 8:34 a.m. train to catch, no walkthrough Penn Station to emerge onto Seventh Avenue to observe the passing world, no bagel cart at the corner, or friends and colleagues in my office.
Suddenly there was no event to plan, no dinner to attend, no ball games, no racetrack, no anything, just a long and winding road I’m still walking down a year afterward.
Just as the road is appearing to reach its end, I know I can never retrace my steps and live the life and times of March 2020. Like a bad divorce, the past has gone, but cruel memories remain.
In pre-Covid’s place is an uncertain future.
People are different after the virus -- some for the better, some for the worse. I have learned to cope myself, but I swing between hope and happiness and dread and doubt.
Some moments, strange as they might be, stand out. Eating outside in a restaurant with my wife last June after months of home cooking or ordering in was heaven. The sheer joy of being in a social gathering, even though we knew nobody, made me aware the human is not meant for solitary existence.
Recently the jab of the vaccination sent a silent message that life was going to be okay again. The walk around the nearby park is suddenly a joy, watching the colors turn to spring and summer, autumn and then stark winter, and now a glimpse of green St. Patrick’s Day.
The harbinger of spring is here. You are very welcome Patrick. It’s a time to live again.