Pink Monkeys and Party Balloons

A large swath of us are not going to be recognized for anything we do. We’re plog-alongers. Sure, there may be those rare times when local celebrity status is draped over our shoulders, but we inhale and exhale normal air so conveniently, so unconsciously, most of our lives. Day in. Day out. Day in-between.

Gonna say this is ok. I’m certainly willing to belly up to the bar of normal and have the server say, “What’ll it be, Mr. DougHugs person?” without any expectation of another shouting, “Hey! .. I think that’s … yeah … that’s him… the blog guy!” in my direction. The only universe that would happen is a an oxygen-starved one where realities are shifted so bad Spock, Vader, or Homer sit in a darkened corner pondering string theory over a bowl of blueberry yogurt. Or, the world is paralyzed in a COVID-19 crisis. Either one seems, ultimately, implausible ….

Anyway, reality shifting aside, normal is normal until it isn’t, right?

I’m not J.K. with Harry, James Patterson, or IT on paper as penned by Mr. King. These folks are the not-normals. They are among the masters of many. So few achieve while many strive … and I am not a striver in this regard. I do not blog in the slow lane with my blinker on waiting for a opening. Quite content am I to be non-speeding my “one heartbeat at a time” auto-do-it down life’s express-myself-way. The whizz bys can go past. That’s fine because their cause and destination is as just as mine. They have fancier vehicles, anyway. I’ll spat-sputter along in my shifty little, two toned, paneled word wagon occassionally blumbling over a rumble strip or two. That’s normal.

So, I write.

It’s hard to separate from this problem. Lately, when I sit down to begin, a miserable malaise – this overhang of ugh -has an incessant drip of can’t get away from it landing on my intent. I can be full-in pink monkeys and party balloons only to be hijacked by social distancing, flattening the curve, shut downs, pandemic, Italy, ventilators, experts, thoughts and prayers

All of this is tiring. I know it is imperatively important and ultimately understandable. Normal, if I may, for the time that is now. I’ve reached epidemic exhaustion … if that can be a thing. Ugh, because we’re at the beginning of a long haul, towing a massive load of unknowns to a destination of who-knows with all variations of on ramps and exits along the way.

For a few hours yesterday, I had my 82 year old dad in my life’s car. We had to organize our way around some of his eighty-year old wonderful problems. It wasn’t easy. His normal isn’t my normal. There were many phone calls I had to make, back and forths necessary to make smooth possible for him again, and a few laughs to chuckle the stresses away.

Earlier, I made an attempt at opening my seasonal business. This is my 15th year – and, by far, the most challenging. It’s NOT going to be normal. I have to be closed – and remain closed – for some time until there is some settling down. There isn’t much else I can do. Wiggle room aside with some of my fellow restaurant compatriots offering drive-thru service, I’m content on the sidelines waiting this out. Supply chains are limited, customer sentiment and flow are both historically low and, overall, I just don’t want to be in the way.

So, in the true spirit of “blogging”, yesterday was “a day”. I realized (but already knew) being normal was my SOP, my business is going to lose money as the bills keep coming in, and my dad is pretty cool. He frustrates me like nobody’s business. If I had the time – and his permission – to tell you yesterday’s WTF’s, it’d be worth the ride … trust me.

If anyone says it’ll be worth all the aggravation – the shut downs and social distancing – to get to that final theme park of happy vaccines and cures, I’ll cheerio-clink a mug-o beer with them. Pull up a stool, I say, and join me. Be leery, however, of a crowd that may gather asking for my autograph once they recognize who I am – oh, though if it’s more than 10 people … or, wait .. we can’t be in the bar anyway they’re under a mandatory closure as of midnight last night. Buggers.

Dad’s free. Bowling alley is closed and I know he’d like the company. Can’t lose sight of the important things. It is so true. A large swath of us are not going to be recognized for anything we do. Maybe yesterday taught me a lesson.

I had to get some things done yesterday aside from COVID and dad. The little (aggravating, but necessary) get-along issues with dad had be completed, though. They were inconvenient and complicated, but resolvable. He needed help. I’m always around and willing to do so … and I do, laughingly, insist he buy me lunch for my efforts. Ultimately not necessary for me, but I know he likes to do it, so why not, right?

The lesson being, he has a normal. I have a normal. You have a normal. We have to try the best we can to be that normal and help our friends and family keep their normal as well.

The sash we proudly wear over our shoulders at the end can simply say, “I survived COVID-19 and stayed normal”.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s all pink monkeys and party balloons until it isn’t.

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