On Feb. 11, for the first time in a while, I started to feel hope.
That’s the day I headed to the Palm Springs Convention Center for a brief press conference and tour of the new COVID-19 vaccination site that would open there the next day. Perhaps it was the bright sunshine on the atypically toasty February day. Perhaps it was the knowledge that my mom was scheduled to get her second shot at another location the next day. Perhaps it was this statement by Dr. Geoffrey Leung, of the Riverside University Health System: “Today is such an important event when we think about times that change the course of what happens. This is one of those days for Palm Springs and the community.” Perhaps it was a combination of all of these things—but whatever it was, it gave me a feeling of hope.
Let me make one thing clear: I know that throughout the pandemic, I have been one of the fortunate ones. I have the ability to work from home. I’ve been able to ride things out with a spouse I actually like. I don’t have kids, so I haven’t needed to become an at-home schoolteacher in addition to my other duties. Because the aforementioned spouse kept working through the pandemic, I’ve never had to worry whether I’d be able to pay next month’s rent.
However, because I do what I do, the last 11-plus months have had their challenges. My head is always in the news, and the news lately has often been a horrific place to have one’s head. Because I own a small business that depends on advertising revenue—which, depending on the month, has been down between 30 and 80 percent since last March—I have been exhaustingly scrambling to apply for grants and loans while coming up with new revenue ideas.
It was a couple of days before that Feb. 11 press event that I truly started to realize the toll the last year has taken on me. The aforementioned spouse came into my office while I was fighting with a malfunctioning app on my phone to say something—and I viciously snapped at him. I instantly apologized, and I feel terrible about it to this day. But that’s something I wouldn’t do if I was completely in my right mind.
I bring this all up not to complain—again, I fully realize how fortunate I have been. I bring it up because I know that the circumstances of the last year may very well have taken a toll on you, too—a toll you may not have fully realized yet.
I also bring this all up because, really, there is hope to be had. Vaccines are getting in arms and working—even, to a high degree, against those scary variants. COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations are plummeting. While it’s far from a sure thing, and we must continue to be diligent, it’s possible—possible—we’re truly on our way out of this.
As always, thanks for reading—and be sure to pick up a copy of our March 2021 print edition, being distributed at 300-plus locations this week.