It’s the last day of April, which means this is also the last post in the Close to Home series. A month ago, I thought I’d be be writing about scenes photographed within a mile of my trailer home. As it turned out, I wrote more about how it felt to be alive during a pandemic. So it’s fitting, then, that I end the series with a post called Future, because that’s what all of us are facing now.
As the lockdown eases in Florida, I weigh the risks of going back on the road vs. staying safe (but slightly bored) in my current spot. Right now, I don’t feel like I have enough data — or trust the data I do see enough — to make intelligent decisions about traveling. And yet, I yearn to get out there, see the coast, feel the wind through the trees, and, honestly, just be somewhere different for a while. Maybe by June? I’ll wait and see how things go this month. If I do hit the road, I won’t go too far. I’ll choose campgrounds within a two-day drive of my home base, in case I get sick or things fall apart in spectacular fashion.
Everyone will have to make their own decisions about sheltering vs. going out again. It’s all a large-scale set of experiments to see what works, and what doesn’t. Will people actually wear masks? Many still don’t around here. I’m not sure if it’s because there aren’t any to buy or they can’t sew or they don’t believe they need to wear a mask at all. Will people keep on with the social distancing rules? I’ve already seen that falling apart in lines at the store, despite markers of where to stand.
Remember the good old days when the President would come on the TV and you could believe what they said? And you believed that politicians had the best interests of the American people at heart? I don’t believe that now. Politics has intruded in a way I hadn’t thought possible, making everything a political act or decision or rebuttal. I’m tired of it, frankly. I wish all the politicians gave a damn about you, me, and everyone else outside of Washington, D.C. Until they do, we’re on our own.
With every decision I make as I emerge from lockdown, I am writing a new future. Together, we are writing the future of our country, decision by individual decision. How will it go? Where will we end up in six months or a year’s time?
I hope that each of us chooses to write a better future for all of us. I can live without a haircut or a sushi dinner or a trip to the bookstore if it means a better chance for the old and the weakened to survive this virus. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think most people do give a damn about other people. I believe most of us will keep making sacrifices to keep as many people safe as possible, despite the high and hard cost.
Most of all, I hope all of us survive this.
The textbook says politicians lead, elected officials lead. No, sometimes the people lead and the politicians follow, and that’s where we are today. Follow the American people. Look at what they’re doing. Look at how they’re reacting. And politicians, try to be half as good as the American people.
Andrew Cuomo, April 29, 2020