So here goes

So here goes....

demonstration COVID-19 in Vienna, man with tambourine

To find a sense of certainty even in the most trying of times, is what most humans strive to do. Make things seem normal and sensible even when, in retrospect, they clearly are not. COVID hit us all hard. With the economy going gang-busters, everything seeming finally on the straight and narrow and the threat of the Islamic State movement finally less dominant, we felt like we could travel and live life fully, and then, wham! A new virus to challenge us. A seemingly localized outbreak in China led to a global ‘wildfire’.

I am normally a peaceful guy but the hand of the state interfering in the minutiae of our daily lives was just too much. I took to the streets with the thousands of others. Friends of mine lost their jobs through the harsh measures in place in 2020 and 2021. The relationships of other friends had foundered in the tough demands of quarantine and minimizing social contact. I felt like the government had it wrong. They had no idea and what they were promoting was bringing our country down.

I signed up for Facebook groups of like-minded citizens and participated in protest marches. I developed strong friendships and a place in an anti-COVID clique. By the way, you name it, we had it. Summer picnics, mask-free apartment blocks, travel groups, and so on. Some of it was too extreme for me, but socializing with like-minded people was awesome. I have to say, in some ways, it was the best of times. The relationships and friends I made are some of the strongest I have ever had. And now that the governments are rolling back the measures and giving us back our freedom, I feel, in some way, sad. We still message one another on Facebook now and then. I feel like we are looking for our next cause. I miss our comradeship and feeling of purpose from the height of COVID.

Having said all that, we are helping out each other with getting on with our lives. Some of us, who are artistically inclined, have created artwork out of masks and COVID paraphernalia. Others have made theatre on similar themes. Medically trained friends have been pushing for more research dollars to study long COVID and also the effects of the vaccines. For myself, as a tour operator, business has plummeted and I have been making do with odd jobs in other areas, helping out friends with their businesses and trying to rejig my business to suit the new normal. One thing that is going well at the moment for my business is wellness stays. After all the stress and grind of the last few years, people are jumping on the chance to relax.

I am kind of dating one of the ladies that I got to know through one of the Facebook groups. She is based in Berlin. I am in Vienna. Not sure how that is going to work out long term, playing it one day at a time right now.

Who knows what will be around the corner for us with COVID next autumn? We had protested vehemently against the compulsory vaccination and now that law has been suspended, we are left at somewhat of a loose end. A few of my COVID friends have had the virus and have been suffering from long COVID effects. I have to say, I am glad that I have neither been vaccinated nor, thankfully, had the virus. Fear-mongering on the internet is rampant about both evils. I am not sure whether it is better to have had COVID or to have had the vaccines or both, I guess.
The lyrics of the Jackson song ‘Don’t blame it on the sunshine.....blame it on the boogie (COVID and COVID measures)’ come to mind. ‘Staying focused on what matters to us and what we can change’ is my motto for now.