It's 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 1st and I'm not sure I will like what today will bring. There is no doubt that I should, and there is more than a twinge of guilt riding shotgun. It's what I have been waiting and hoping for over a year of too many canceled photography trips and too few nights out with Alisha. Whatever good the day brings, it's going to change everything. But as Ben Franklin said a couple of hundred years. one "certainty in life that we must all deal with . . . is change."
Screw good old Ben. I am comfortable with my life. A therapist I knew once told me that your life may be shitty, but at least it's comfortable shit. These are words to live by, especially when life is pretty good.
I wake up each weekday morning in my nice warm bed, with a pain-in-the-ass cat by my side squeaking for attention. A couple of perfunctory pets, and the squeak is a purr. An instant success and the day starts off right. My heavy blanket is wrapped around me, and it will take a maximum effort to get me out of bed. So I don't move. There is no long commute. There is also so much to do without the excursion of much effort.
With my iPad at my side, the whole world is at my fingertips. But I am not interested, at least since January 20th. I don't go to Politico to see if we still live in a democracy or check to see if the White House is hawking Clorox as a cure-all. It is well managed so that the news can wait. Even the sports page can wait until Klay comes back next season.
So I can take my time. Maybe I'll check my email or do a couple of FaceTime calls with my colleagues. If I have to read something for work, it's probably on my iPad. When Lucy, my 95lb Great Pyrenees, informs me that she has decreed that it's time to get up and let her go outside, it only involves a few steps. Then it's back to the bed, the blanket, the pillows, and my iPad.
Eventually, my Father's voice interrupts my bliss as he bellows from the heavens the song he sang in the morning for 40 years – "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go." I reluctantly push my heavy blanket aside, struggle out of my cocoon and get dressed in my formal Covid work attire: one of my many black t-shirts, sweatpants, and slippers. Socks are optional. If it is a client-intensive day, a long sleeve shirt may go over the t-shirt to dress it up. But it's not tucked in.
Then there is personal grooming. There is no need to shave. I have grown a beard. I brush my hair, which has gotten to be a little project since it is now below my shoulders. I haven't had to cut it in over six months. As proof that "necessity is the mother of invention," I have mastered the trick of putting it in a ponytail. On Zoom calls, with people looking straight at me, they cannot tell how long it is. I've even been thinking of adding a single diamond ear stud.
After getting my coffee, playing with Lucy, and maybe tidying up the kitchen, it is time to start my commute to the office. I've come to appreciate the trip . It gives me time to contemplate, listen to some music and catch up on some phone calls. That is all a lie. The commute from the kitchen to the work chair is less than 5 seconds. A total of 4 steps.
Then I sit where I am this moment. It is only my garage, but it's a worthy office, right next to my photography printers and my many shelves of photo books. With all the distractions, I need to remind myself that I get to retire or at least slow down in a few years. As the day progresses, I sneak in some time to work on a photo or two, maybe even take a short nap on my couch or play with Lucy. Several days a week, time is taken to work out in the backyard.
It's all done in between Zoom calls with clients and associates from all over the world. There is no more jet lag or getting up at 4 in the morning to get a flight to Los Angeles. It's like having a 21st-century version of the Star Trek transporter.
Today at 11 a.m. is the beginning of the end. The 5-second commute will turn into 45 minutes. That is 540 times longer. No more lounging in bed. Sweats will turn into slacks. Slippers into shoes. Socks will be mandatory. Untucked shirts are gone. And a tie!
Ben was right, and it may all be unavoidable. Maybe I can salvage the beard? The ponytail is walking dead, and the hope of the diamond stud is destroyed.
However, like a good soldier, I will persevere. It helps to know that I have been fortunate and blessed in the last year. What is a problem for me is a blessing for most. As I move forward this morning walking straight and voluntarily to nerve-wracking change, I take comfort in the immortal words of Rick Blaine, the owner of the night club in Casablanca – "I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that . . . [my] problems . . . don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
POSTSCRIPT: At 11:00, I was given my first dose of the Covid vaccine and thanked God for the opportunity.