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Day 365, and You’re Still Here, Huh?

Everything that can be said has been.

Most of it not by me.

By CNN, or the New York Times, or some Twitter headline that you didn’t fully read – or the Atlantic articles that I tell you I did.

There’s a lot that could go on in a year. A president could get impeached, another instated (but not due to the impeachment); there could be a coup on the capital, a rage against the stock market, you could learn how to make a pot roast even! And that’s just the shit that’s happened since the start of 2021.

 The pot roast was a personal victory. I know it’s not hard, but I hadn’t done it before – and it felt like an accomplishment, okay? Let me have this.

So. Where to begin then?

I guess there’s room to dabble in one’s own personal past, seeing as we’re being introspective. Why am I writing this piece today (more like, why have I spent the last week and a half drafting this up)? 

Well, one year ago I wrote a short little piece about what was then the “new situation” that we had all simultaneously found ourselves in. I had said that “I refuse to be the person who’s acting all dejected and put-out during this current apocalypse.” And I think by the most part – I managed to stick to that. Not that I didn’t have my bad days. There were a lot of bad days. But the point was to not let them stay.

After that first piece, which was written on my first full day after getting sacked, I went to bed. Then I woke up, and wrote another one. Then that’s basically all I did for the first one hundred days of the North American Covid-19 lock-down. Then I checked back into the world, and needed a break from myself and the atrocity of writing a blog for one-hundred days straight.

Now, two-hundred and sixty-five days later, the death count has risen by god only knows. The seasons have gone from cold to warm to cold. And we’re on our way back to warm (he says, hopefully.) And worst of all – my favorite pan needs to be reasoned. 

It feels important that we ask a few questions; about the passage of time, about who we were, and who we are. But most importantly – how do I reseason my pan? Or maybe it’s too late for that.

It feels like I haven’t slept in a year.

It’s important to get your rest. And to stay hydrated. Anyone ever told you that before? You should thank me. It’s really great advice – straight from the gift-horse’s mouth, or something like that.

About The Passage Of Time

When we decided to measure time we put meaning, vocabulary,and ideology onto an ungraspable idea. Garnished by nothing. No garlic or oregano. No oil or salt. It was bare and tasteless before it was born into humanities zeitgeist. 

So a year has passed and we’re in the same spot in the solar system. The Earth has spun and rotated, and found itself again in the familiar. The location that – last year – the U.S went into lockdown. Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, Death Days, one by one that all passed us by. Every holiday in your standard calendar year. And we say through then all. Slowly adjusting through our own personal mental health crises. 

There was so much that I didn’t know about where I was headed. What about the world would keep me going through the dread. 

I had told a friend last February that he should chase a girl to Mexico. I thought it would be a good story. I was right, still. But god-damn would my concious have been heavy had anything happened.

There were plans in the work for me to maybe head out of town for the summer to do some summer stock theatre in some fancy beautiful far off place, or maybe it was just middle Michigan…which can be beautiful if I forget my glasses, get mauled by a bear and lose the gift of sight.

Clearly those plans had to be put on hold. Not much theatre happened over the summer. Not sure if you noticed. People were kind of focused on not wanting to die. 

About Who We Were

Before the pandemic launched into overdrive the world had a different energy. Potential. It seemed like everyone in my life was just starting to find a stride. New businesses or projects – or they moved across the country to a new city, far away for a  good chance at life. 

I’ve felt alone in the city that I live in. My Friends – scattered. But I was hopeful. New faces came out of the woodworks. It was becoming abundantly clear which kind of people I enjoy spending my time with and which kind I don’t. Passion became a very intriguing quality in a person. I think that was coming with getting older, one way or another. I had only been twenty-one for a season and a half by this time last year. Young kids don’t know as much as they want to. I still don’t. But it’s getting easier to accept that. It’s up to me to learn. To leave the thoughts that I had at the door – to make room for all of the other noise that’s floating around us constantly. 

I guess that brings us to – 

About Who We Are

The difference between you and your neighbor is all in the bride of the nose. Well. That, and your tastes in television, music, the two kids they have – compared to your none, or your four – how they spend their hours surely differ from yours. I’m sure they have not’ spent time reading what I’ve said through the last three-hundred and sixty-five days. So you’re one down on the lot of them. Sorry about that. 

We’ve all fallen into what was coined early on as “the new normal.” Our daily routines, our home offices, our drug or alcohol intakes. Those become the regular. That was hip. New. Cool. For a while maybe. There was a resistance against this stage. I remember asking if we were going to become nostalgic for early lockdown. Before we all knew exactly what was going on; when getting laid off meant that we’d be back at work in a few weeks, so we could take this time not to relax, or reconsider all of our life choices.

Personally, I think it’s important to admit – it’s been a very privileged year for me. I’m fully aware that my place as a seemingly middle-class straight-white-male type has given me many advantages through this time. I have not had to struggle just to stay alive. My place ein society wasn’t up for questioning. I did not struggle to pay rent or put food on the table. For that I am eternally grateful. A lot of people were not as lucky. I still have both of my legs and never even had to think about selling a kidney. I got to sit on my ass and write. I got to go internal and try to develop myself. Not as an artist specifically, that just came as a by-product of time; but as me – Micah Mabey. I got to think about what that name meant to me, how to better perceive myself, how to cope healthier with my own personal anxieties and tragedies.

The minutiae of the Big Rock we call Earth began to click. It still doesn’t make any sense, but it’s the understanding that began to seep into my carpets of life. 

It wouldn’t’ be too outlandish an idea to say that on top of a global health pandemic, the mental health of the world took a trip to the underworld for a while, leaving us to our own voices and vices. This is where I have been most impacted. And still I am fortunate. While theatres closed I was still able to find situations to entertain. Between playing Shaggy for a while, finding things that I like to make for whatever small online audience that I’ve managed to capture, there is no limit on the ways that I know how to escape reality for a little while. Most of them are as ridiculous and absurd as you’d expect them to be. But I think that’s good for me none-the-less.

Maybe I also put too much time into things that don’t matter. Maybe I put almost two-hundred hours into Animal Crossing. Maybe I did spend time watching old movies that no one talks about anymore. Mauve I caught up on all of the things that the Osccars and Emmys keep telling me to watch. Maybe I developed a healthy crush on Amy Poheler. Maye I had too much time on my hands.

But maybe, that’s okay. 

I kept being reminded that I was not alone. It was very easy to fall into that narrow field of view. But this was not about me. This pandemic. This world-wide atrocity that has killed over two and a half million people – and those are just the ones on record. 

Take that in.

About Where We’re Going

So, what happens next? After the one year mark, what are we supposed to do? Theatre still aren’t open. S that’s my livelihood out the window. But – I heard about this thing called adapting, maybe you have too?

I think none of us know where we are, or where we’re going to end up. We’ve all got friends who’ve left long-term jobs, relationships, cities, diets, whatever else you can leave – we probably know someone who’s done it over the course of the last year. And then, we all had to try to adjust to that thing we left, while already trying to adjust to not dying. Shit wasn’t easy. So how do we plan to recover? Not just personally, but economically, socially? I don’t know about you, but every single possible social grace that I had before has disappeared – deep into the bowels of Zoom. What will become of us all? Or is it up for us to decide. What did I used to do on a Friday night? I don’t know.

And as for reseasoning my pan – I guess I’ll just look it up.

Thanks.

Micah Mabey

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