Baby, it’s cold outside. Mike and I are in Chicago to celebrate the holidays with all the kids. After I retired from church music in 2019, we committed to spending Christmas 2020 in Chicago until Covid shut down society. This year, feeling safe as the vaccine came out and venues reopened with precautions, we left the sun of Arizona along with ED and the boys. Nevertheless, plans have been altered. The tickets for A Christmas Carol were refunded because of production cast exposure to Covid. Plans with friends were discarded after a covid exposure in one case and cold symptoms in another.
We are traipsing through the icy wind of the Midwest pretending to have a good time. The difficulty isn’t just the cold for which we don many layers. My knitted cap presses against the flexible titanium eyeglass frames contorting them on my nose. The elastic of the face mask pulls the frames further askew, increasing the distortion and covering the lenses in steam. I stumble, alert for curbs, trying to adjust my depth perception. Thankfully, there is no snow or ice.
Most public places are crowded and noisy. Lipreading is impossible when the faces are obscured by masks garbling articulation. Few people speak loudly enough to overcome the ambient noise and the tinnitus that plagues me constantly. Just getting to a table in a restaurant is fatiguing. Casual conversation is impossible. Reservations are required for every activity.
We had planned to come for no more than 10 days but extended to 14 to accommodate airline travel. Under current conditions, 10 days would have been enough. I no longer want to fight my way through museums, theaters, airports, restaurants, and other venues. Time with the family to watch movies, play games, and enjoy good food is enough. Maybe next year.