A Perfect Palindrome And Other Bright Spots On The Horizon

According to some predictions, 2021 is going to be so bright you’ll be looking straight at the sun. There is no need to worry about frying your retinas.

Janice Maves
Dec 15, 2020 · 4 min read
Photo by Melissa Griffin on Unsplash

As this year from hell FINALLY winds down, 2021 becomes the focus of our communal attention. Who’s to say what kind of shitshow the coming year will be. Maybe it will be all rainbows and unicorns, but I’m not holding my breath.

The long anticipated vaccine has been rolled out. A light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. How long is the tunnel? How bright is the light?

Some tidbits about the vaccine I’ve heard this week. First, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the virus, you just won’t get as sick from it.

OK, that’s interesting. I’ve gotten a flu shot every year since getting the flu 6 years ago. I was a miserable baby. I guess I’ll be first in line for a COVID shot if it means I won’t be a big, sick, miserable, crying baby if I get the virus.

Second, getting vaccinated against COVID does not mean you won’t be able to spread the virus if you get it. So you can (and should) get vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch your mask or make any travel arrangements.

Lastly, no one knows how long the vaccine will last. 4 to 6 months? A year? Another big dimmer on the vaccine bright spot. Are you kidding me? No one knows the answer to this?

Status of brightness of this light at the end of the tunnel: about the wattage of a little night light you buy at the the dollar store. Enough light to keep you from stubbing your toe on the night stand, not bright enough to read the obituaries by.

Moving right along with more 2021 good news. Unemployment. The numbers have come down. Just in time for Christmas and a Happy New Year, however, millions of people are going to lose their unemployment benefits, which were scant at best.

No one else needs to point out the dysfunctional workings of the United States congress. No one needs to highlight the fact that jockeying for power is more important for politicians than doing what is needed to help the electorate get through this crisis.

What are the unemployed, mostly low wage service workers, supposed to do now? The virus is not going away any time soon if we gauge it by the brightness of the light peaking at us from the end of the tunnel, as outlined in the opening of this article.

Unemployment is only going to get worse if people don’t wise up and behave themselves. In other words, Unemployment is going to get much worse before it gets better.

We are in the first stretch of a virus surge, all over the country. WTF. How could this country have mismanaged a public health crisis so badly? Why are people still fighting about wearing face coverings?

Exemplary leadership does not exist here in America. At least not right now.

I live in a small town in western Maine. Yesterday, some asshole went into our local independent grocery store and when asked to either put on a mask or leave, he threw his shopping cart and groceries at the clerk who confronted him, and then ran over the store owner on his way out of the parking lot.

That really happened. That is bizarre.

The brightness at the end of the tunnel we are looking for is dependent on people smartening up and doing the right thing to stop the spread of the virus . That light is dim. Low wattage, toe stubbing, night blindness kind of mind numbing darkness. No good news.

Unemployment is tied to an ability of our society to return to “normal.” Normal meant subsistence wages, out of control debt, wealth inequality the likes of which we have never seen before, and an economic model of consumption and growth that is destroying the planet.

If that paragraph doesn’t cheer you up you haven’t been paying attention. We can’t get back to that normal. We need a new paradigm. A new normal that looks nothing like the model we operate in.

A low wattage bright spot. Like an eclipse, something to look toward, but not at. Are there any changes that may change the wattage of the light at the end of this tunnel? Is there anything that may change our direction enough to lead us out of this hell year toward a normal that is sustainable and equitable?

So what is the one bright spot we can look forward to? What might change the brightness that 2021 has the potential to bring on? That would be the palindrome mentioned in the title of this essay. That palindrome has the potential to change the course of the current trajectory we are living on.

We need a reset. An actual turn off/turn back on kind of moment that will take us to a better normal, a new operating system.

The palindrome may be just that: 1 20 21.

Janice Maves

Written by

Essayist, Poet, Mom, Dog Owner. Lives in Cornish, ME with Wallace the Airedale, and ponders Life In General.


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