I had had lunch with my college house mate Regina on February 11 and I don’t think we were really even talking about it yet. There was no social distancing in the little Bistro in Lenox and we probably hugged hello and goodbye after not having seen each other in over 30 years. It wasn’t a thing yet.
On March 5 I had to get my Honda Element worked on at Northeast Muffler down in Millerton and that is my first memory of having to wear a mask out in public. I had been to the pulmonologist the week before and I had gotten a mask there. That is what I was wearing at the muffler place. There were one or 2 other people in the waiting room wearing masks but it was really a new thing. We were still talking about how this was affecting Corona beer sales. I felt self conscious about wearing the mask but I kept telling myself that I should because I was at risk since I have emphysema.
The pandemic has inconvenienced me less than it has others. My wife, Tami, an occupational therapist, has had work virtually stop for her except for one virtual client whom she sees over Zoom. I was already working from home as was most of my team. While we are based in Boston, my boss lives in Atlanta and we are all very used to being virtual. Music with others has been the biggest casualty but on the plus side we started having virtual cocktails every Friday with my band, Noyes and The Boyes, so I have been seeing them and hanging out more than we ever have. It has been a lot of fun reconnecting with childhood friends and I feel very lucky to have them. We would also have drinks with our friends Steve and Ann in Florida. I am a big supporter of this new remote contact. The life depicted in “2001: A Space Odyssey” more than fifty years ago has finally arrived 20 years late.
It’s great to be able to connect with everyone so easily especially since we live way out here in the boondocks. The sad part is that I’ve seen less of all the new friends I’ve made out here. I am not doing the open mic at the Grange and we are not having Grange meetings so while I see people from time to time it’s not really that much. But we are meeting a whole new group of people: folks who live in NYC but escaped upstate for the quarantine. A whole bunch of new people would be walking by our farm every day, marveling at the goats and chickens. One family down the road had a daughter who hadn’t brought her guitar up from Brooklyn so I lent her one of mine. As it has gotten warmer Lenny and Richard and I have gotten together to play music outside at a distance so that’s been fun.
But the best thing I did on my coronavacation was to do a live streamed performance every day at 4:00 on Facebook Live. I would do 3 songs, randomly picked by a spreadsheet, one of which had to be an original. 4:00 is when Tony got off work so he could watch it. I never got more than 6 or 7 people watching live, but that was enough for me. The performance would stay posted on Facebook so more people would watch it after the fact. I would then post them on Instagram and YouTube. I kept this up for more than 2 months. That is a long time for me. As you can see from the consistency of this blog, I can maintain a practice for about 3 weeks and that’s it. So two months was a big deal. I have sort of run out of songs. I am learning a new batch and then I hope to continue, but I got through around 150.
Most days I would put up a charity to which people could donate through Facebook. It started out with organizations that helped out of work musicians during the pandemic. Then I would pick others or get my sis in law, Alyson, the charity whisperer to make recommendations. On Juneteenth, my friend Steve Arrington who runs a fund called Stand For Good, said if I put up Equal Justice Initiative for donations, his organization would match what we got and make a donation of their own. We pulled in more than $1800. I feel connected.
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