I had a conversation with a friend back in Yellowstone the other day. I wanted to catch up with her, of course, but — honestly — I mostly just wanted to see how things were going back in paradise. And how are things going? Record numbers. Not just crowded, but the busiest month the park has seen…ever. And that is before the “busy season” starts!
I might miss the wolves and bears, and all the back country shenanigans that were my form of relaxation, but the crowds this summer are going to be biblical. Honestly, I’d rather have the plague of locusts than the even-more-record numbers that are going to be filling the park in July and August.
I’d make a joke about how I hope the bears eat well, but some folks have a tendency to take me far too literally for that! No, I don’t want a grizzly to eat a camper — do you have any idea how high in cholesterol American campers are?! The poor bear would have a coronary!
Speaking of record numbers, and of people just wanting to be out and about again…
Can we be done with this shit already? No, really…can the damned pandemic just be done? Let’s do a Vietnam War thing and just declare victory and go home. I know, I know, things are relaxing, and a lot of the nuttiness is being pushed aside.
A lot, but not all.
What’s funny is that the things that really did/do better against COVID are what are gone — or at least going — but the what remains, and may never leave, are the silly things that are far more performative than they are legitimately effective.
What is saddest is that these are the things that are probably going to stick with us when full “normalcy” returns. Good lord, every time I see one of those stupid plexiglass shields in a store or restaurant, I want to go all QAnon and just start screaming incoherently…and don’t even get me started on the damned temperature sensors!
Yeah, I’m vaccinated…and I want the old world back! I want to be able to party at a waterfront bar on Hvar! I want to be able to be all superior and condescending to lost tourists in the Roman Forum! I want to be able to sail along the Amalfi Coast! Hell, I’ll even let a French waiter be all superior and rude to me — without telling him I understand every damned thing he’s muttering under his breath — if that means I can drink wine in small Provençal villages!* And don’t even get me started on the places I’ve never been! I want to be able to see a baobob tree! I want to be able to experience the steppes of Mongolia! I want to be able to explore Egypt and Iran and Cappadocia and all the other places that were as ancient to Rome as Rome is to us!
*A bit of unrequested travel advice for everyone: when planning a trip abroad, you could do a lot worse than plan your visit around staying in towns of no more than ten thousand folks. Preferably fewer than five thousand, actually. You will not regret it. Just trust me on that one.
I read in an article a while back the theory that once you relax all of the pandemic-related restrictions and regulations, you will never again be able to re-implement them. That I believe whole-heartedly. People are done with the restrictions and, once those finally disappear, no one will accept them again. At least, not without a Monty Python-level pandemic. Honestly, I’d have to say the odds of getting me to self-quarantine once again are roughly the same as the odds of me starting for the LA Lakers…
Random bit of insight for you — here is what I have in the back of my mind when I say that I miss living on the water:
And here is what I get:
And, yes, hyperbole is fun!