This is technically the first day of Spring Break for the public schools in Miami-Dade County, but it actually started last week when the state said to close all the schools until April 15. My part-time job continued on last week as the school where I work turned into a food and laptop distribution center for the families whose children attend the school. I am not sure when I will go back to work; no one really is.
One of the elements of this new world that we are dealing with is the uncertainty principle. No one can really say when this pandemic will be over; some say weeks, some say months, some say even with a vaccine there will be remnants that linger. Our lives will change on a scale we cannot comprehend or imagine, and that, for a society and a civilization that needs order and certainty, is a very scary prospect. We seek reassurance and action, not platitudes, and despite the attempt from everyone that they are doing their best and “we are all in this together” ads from everyone from the plumber to the federal government, this invisible menace’s biggest threat isn’t the disease itself but not knowing.
We are dealing with it in very human ways. We look for humor, we look for solace, and even if we are told to keep our distance, we are finding new and inventive ways to cope without endangering our health or our sanity. The one weapon we have is our natural instinct for hope and perseverance and even optimism. As John Patrick noted in the play “The Curious Savage,” we are by nature optimists; otherwise we’d eat our young. So instead of being upset that I can’t go visit my parents in person, I’ll do my best to reach out to them and re-book the flight and hotel for a time when I can. I’m very sorry that the William Inge Festival and the Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Festival have been postponed until 2021, but I’m in touch with people from both of them and they’re finding ways to do virtual readings and sharing. Meanwhile, the amount of writing that I know my fellow playwrights are doing is growing exponentially, and we are sharing our work and making it happen new ways.
So, since it is Spring Break, I am doing what I can to make it so. I will do what I usually do: write, read, and be aware of my surroundings. If you’re looking to me for great words of wisdom, all I can offer is what Bobby Cramer said: Hope is my greatest weakness.