I’ve had the good fortune of meeting a lot of famous people but I’ve not yet met Spike Lee. From those I know who have, I think we’d get along great. He’s a passionate basketball fan, a brilliant storyteller and uncompromisingly honest. And he loves to write. So do I. It’s therapy. And boy do I need it.
For me, Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING was a seminal and emotional saga dedicated to the concept of adapting to change. His Mookie represented the change that had permeated his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Danny Aiello’s Sal represented the old guard that was resistant to it. The wall of celebrity pictures at his pizzeria represented the expression of that change. It ultimately provided the basis for confrontation where both main characters had to face the reality that what they thought was destined to happen was not, and how we adapt is ultimately how we are judged.
In these COVID-obsessed times that are reaching fever pitches this week with the dramatic rise of Omicron breakthrough infections and their impact on airlines forcing holiday plans to be disrupted or aborted, plys horrific rains and snows further complicating the mere concept of travel, I remained resolute that I was going to ring in 2022 out of town with very dear friends, one in particular who I will further detail at a later date that is without question the most wonderful person to ever enter my life in every sense of the word. I was less than 24 hours away from getting on planes, braving the elements and schlepping to a cold Northwest suburb with the hope of finding a spare sprig of mistletoe to sneak a New Year’s kiss from this wonderful beauty.
Then my current roommate–fully vaccinated and boosted–glumly announced that, in spite of his health and personal safety, he had become the latest of the millions of positive-testing Omicron-inflicted.
Several of my friends choose to be unvaccinated, as are their smaller immunocompromized kids. Please do not pass judgement on them or me. Please respect their personal choices. I was fully prepared to write something today about how I listen to incredibly polar opposite podcasts on a regular basis, the ultra-progressive series of shows produced by THE YOUNG TURKSand the ultra-conservative LANCE WALLNAU SHOW that regularly pays homage to Donald Trump and Jesus. The essence of that message was rooted in my career designing and conducting focus groups, where the essence is that there are no right or wrong answers. The process of eliciting views from all sides is integral to learning and is indeed the foundation of Leblanguage. So I listen to both shows as often as possible, my personal beliefs yo-yoing with each sides’ impassioned opinionated view of the news.
The bottom line, as my amazing friend reminded me sternly, is that regardless of how right or wrong anyone believes either one of us are COVID is real, it’s spreading at an alarming rate and it’s currently 100 feet from where I silently type, respectfully behind a locked door. If I somehow infected any of them, she stressed, could I ever forgive myself? If you truly love someone, could someone be so selfish as to risk their health and well-being just for my own resolute determination to be touched at 12 midnight–indeed a one-second holiday, as my late brother-in-law would routinely snark when we consistently cancelled grander celebration plans in more social times to just watch Dick Clark and light up a blunt?
My roommate’s symptoms are mild. I’m certain he’ll be fine. I tested negative as late as Sunday, I have no physical symptoms and I am both fully vaxxed and boosted. According to the latest CDC recommendations, I am fine to travel so long as a wear a well-fitted mask. I have 50 such beauties plus a tight and warm gaiter. I’m clear. I’m supposed to retest in five days. I can easily do that too. I know darn well I need to be somewhere else than this apartment. I honestly don’t want to be around my roommate while he recovers.
But I sadly must allow I’m going to postpone seeing my amazing friends and that oh-so-desired New Year’s kiss. I’m devastated, but I know in my gut it’s the right thing to do. My amazing friend stressed that very point to me before she went to sleep last night with as much passion as she ever spoke any words, and I will simply say she defines passion in every sense of the word. Do the right thing, she urged. So I cancelled my reservations, took my credits, and blew up my New Year’s less than 72 hours from the one-second celebration.
Like Mookie (BTW, a character named for one of my all-time favorite Mets, yet another reason I’m certain I’d love to meet Spike) and Sal, I have to adapt to change when it inarguably preesents itself.
I honestly do not yet know where I’m gonna be, when or if I’m gonna leave town or even if I will indeed be with any other living person on Friday night. In a strange way, the excitement of uncertainty is actually exhilirating. The last time I threw such caution to the wind I ended my marriage and wound up living for six blessed months with two impossibly beautiful people, one of which is the person I consistently mention as the absolute reason my path has moved from certain death to unfathomable bliss in two years. Fate put me in that blessed situation. Not doing the right thing ultimately ended that premanturely.
I’m determined to do better this time around.
I’ll be somewhere. Maybe in your town. If I am, and if you’re willing to take these words to heart, I’ll pray you might want to offer me that hug. Maybe a woman might offer up that mistletoe for that kiss I will miss terribly.
I actually am even more hopeful the inspiration who urged me to do the right thing will offer me a mulligan on that kiss. We’re hopefully gonna get together around Valentine’s Day. My fingers are crossed again. I sure hope this action got me closer to earning it.
Until next time…