I honestly think that if people had done what they should have, the virus would have starved to death in about 3 weeks. In this area anyway, people did a few little, surface things that didn't really amount to much but otherwise, life went on pretty much as usual. Bars and restaurants closed, along with barbers and hair dressers, and that's about it. Fast food places still had drive-ups, stores stayed open, cash still changed hands. Wal-Mart used to be open 24 hours but they close 8 hours a day now, which really makes no sense. Restaurants opened weeks ago, albeit with lines of customers forced to wait outside, and every other table was closed off. I never noticed any change in traffic patterns. Gasoline dropped considerably but then went back up for Memorial Day weekend. Traffic to the Lake Of The Ozarks was as thick as usual, and you probably saw the videos of how insanely crowded the bars were.
Thursday I met the coroner who didn't seem worried about anything. Saturday I met a doctor and a mayor. They didn't seem worried about anything either. Both nights we played to bigger than usual crowds, who were just intent on hugs and handshakes as ever. I'm not sure what I expect to happen out of all of this.
For myself, I don't think my loss of optimism and enthusiasm has any more to do with what's changed than it does with what hasn't. To be sure it is a lot more work. One person said it was just because I was getting older, which is true enough and doesn't help, but it really is a lot more work. We used to set up and tear down once every 12 to 18 times we played, which meant about 3 hours of work every 2 or 3 weeks. Now we set up and tear down every single time we play, which is an extra 24 to 36 hours of work for the same amount of stage time. I do make 3 or 4 times as much money each night, but weekly, it's sometimes less than I made 40 years ago. And when I say we have tons of equipment to manhandle around, I mean we literally do have tons of equipment. It's become more of a competition now than it used to between bands and musicians, with everybody trying to outdo the others. I'm truly sick of going so far to play. Thursday I was 5 minutes from the house, but Saturday I was an hour and a half away. We stopped at midnight and I still didn't get home until 4:00 AM. Some of the songs we do are almost like a lullaby and nearly put me to sleep!
I think maybe as much as anything else, there's the difference of wanting to do it and having to do it. Retirement just won't bring in enough money, at least until both of us retire. When you have to do it, you don't necessarily want to do it. This 2 months off just wasn't enough. I knew it was only temporary. Maybe if I were off for about 6 months, I'd start missing it again, and believe me, I've worried about that too. If I quit, how long will it be before that drives me crazy? John
WHat changed that you no longer look forward to it?
John, I'm sorry you don't look forward to playing anymore. Hopefully as time goes by it will change. Good news your coroner hasn't seen any covid-19 deaths. Stay safe!!! Peggy
Peggy, Laila and Angel Minchie
We started playing again Thursday, just 5 minutes from the house at a Harley dealership. It was outdoors in a huge space so even though there may have been 300 people there, nobody had to be very close. Still, there were the usual hand shaking and hugs. Bikers don't worry about much. The county coroner was there. He follows us around when he can and I've known him since we played at his wedding a few years ago. I don't think he's waiting for something to happen to me! Anyway, I asked him if he'd had his hands full lately, with the virus in mind. He answered, "Oh, 24/7." I was a little surprised, again, thinking of the virus. But no, not one virus case. Car accidents, suicides and drug overdoses. The biggest problem he said, was drug users getting caught, going through drug therapy, and then going right back to it, thinking they could do it the same as they used to, and it doesn't work that way. I can see that. I know a few people who got off it, went a short time, then went right back to it. Those people are in rough shape but they're beyond reason so all you can do is watch them deteriorate. I play again tonight, in a place I've never been before, so I have no idea what to expect. The sad thing is, I really don't look forward to it anymore. John