Cessation of Isolation Thanks To Vaccination

Everyone would agree the past year and a half has been difficult. I had a rough year, though I am well aware how fortunate I was (and still am). In no way do I intend to minimize the much greater struggles and losses suffered by so many.

What has been most difficult for me has been the social isolation. Not seeing and hugging friends, singing together, playing chamber and orchestra music, meeting friends for a beverage or meal – I’ve felt the absence of these activities acutely.

Having received both my Covid-19 vaccines and diligently waited two weeks following the second dose, I now feel safer to venture out, reconnect with friends and family, and participate in activities I’ve missed for the past 18 months.

Last weekend was an embarrassment of riches for me. Any other year, it would have been a good weekend. This year, I constantly teetered on the precipice of being emotionally overcome with gratitude.

Online Karaoke Surprise

Friday night I hosted my bi-weekly online karaoke party (as I have done since May, 2020). It’s always a delight seeing the smiles of and hearing the laughter and music from friends near and far.

One thing we cannot do in online karaoke, though, is to sing together – unless people happen to be sheltering together in place. So no duets, no harmonizing.

The party started off as normal and people joined in and our screens filled up with a grid of squares of participants.

We were all taken aback to see two of our friends suddenly walk off-camera and appear in the frame of another. All having been fully vaccinated, they were safe to gather, and the three partied together, singing 2- and 3-part harmony at times.

The rest of us were delighted (and more than a little bit envious).

I have already started planning on making my online karaoke hosting setup mobile so I can join them in future parties!

Chamber Music

Last time I played chamber music was last fall. We played on my driveway, masked, sitting 6 feet apart, challenged by bright sun and breezes threatening to carry away our sheet music. Fall wet weather and darkness brought an end to my driveway concerts.

On Saturday I hosted friends for a string quintet party. Although vaccinated, all arrived masked. By unanimous consent, we removed our masks and enjoyed a delightful afternoon of music. My heart soared with the music and I shared more hugs than I’d received or given in over a year.

Cinema

A dear friend invited me to join her for a late-night showing of Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” at the Tigard Joy Cinema. I hadn’t seen the film in a theater since college. I donned my mask and joined her and her daughter.

Tickets were a mere $2, and with popcorn and a drink, my total came to $10. I added a couple dollars to a tip jar, grateful this little theater had survived the pandemic.

Everyone wore masks and there was ample distance between theater-goers. I spent a couple hours laughing more than I have in many months.

Singing Together

Still moved and a little envious of my friends singing together a few evenings before, I visited the host of the prior get-together. We spent an evening singing duets and harmonizing together – and hugging frequently. How I love to sing and play in harmony!

Moving Forward

There are so many more activities I feel more comfortable am looking forward to doing!

Although I have donated platelets a couple times during the pandemic, I decided to halt until I was fully vaccinated. I have now set my next donation appointment for this coming Friday. Please join me in donating if you can! There is always a need and the demand has increased significantly because of the pandemic.

I hope to start swimming again. My local pool has opened with a strict pre-scheduling program.

There are so many family members and friends I haven’t seen in person or hugged. I so look forward to that.

Not everyone likes to hug. If you see me approaching with my arms open wide and you prefer not to hug, just raise and point your elbow at me. I’ll understand and we can tap elbows.

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