This Time It's Personal

Good Music, Bad Choices: A Pandemic in Plymouth

Warning: Personal opinions and strong language.

When we got to Plymouth, it took no time at all for my Dad and his brother to plan evenings out for two musical events. A great idea, except that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and no one in Plymouth is wearing a mask. Just about no one. This is not a political thing for me. I just hate being sick. And I particularly want to avoid a nasty variant of COVID-19 which is spreading like wildfire. I also want to protect the old people in my family from getting sick and possibly dying.

Here’s my point of view: I just came from California, where you had to wear a mask just to go to an outdoor ATM. You couldn’t even eat inside there. It was a very, very safe place to be regarding COVID, but the down side of The Golden State is that your town could catch on fire at any given moment.

Summertime in Plymouth – boats on the bay

Me and my family are double vaxxed. We went through getting both shots and going through the unpleasant side-effects in order to be free of COVID worries (or so we thought). In mid-July, I got on a plane, flew 5+ hours and arrived in Massachusetts thinking I was 100% safe because I was vaccinated. Then, the second week I was in Plymouth, I read a terrifying article on CNN about a man who got COVID at a hockey game. He and all his friends were all vaccinated, but they STILL came down with the Delta variant because they were packed in a crowded stadium with COVID germs floating in the air. It was a nasty virus, and the man thought he was dying.

That’s when I realized the horrifying truth: Even if you are vaccinated, you are not totally safe.

Many are under the false impression that contracting COVID, while vaccinated, will be nothing at all. Just like getting a mild cold. No. It’s not. It’s like getting COVID. There are new mutations and there is Breakthrough COVID, which basically puts us exactly where we were a year ago. With the vaccine, you might not die, but you’ll think you are dying.

Because of the cross-country move, I went from being mostly isolated, (wearing a mask to the only place I ever went- the post office) to being exposed on a daily basis to hundreds of people, people who refuse to wear a fucking mask. I went from somewhere that takes COVID seriously, to somewhere where everyone is in denial or just has no idea of the danger to begin with. Tourists in Plymouth seem to think that COVID does not exist. People talk, laugh, party, crowd together, sneeze and cough on eachother, all without wearing a mask.

“It’s too hot, you don’t need it outside.” Those are some of the typical excuses for not wearing a mask, (even from family members who I previously considered to be intelligent.) Most wait staff won’t wear masks. Every restaurant is packed and even when they aren’t packed, they STILL seat everyone together. In California they were seating people with empty tables in-between parties and/or outdoors. Not here.

Plymouth is a family vacation spot and there are children everywhere you go who are too young to be vaccinated, whose parents are probably too dumb to watch the news anyway. I have a month to go before I can isolate in my new home, but until then I have to hope for a miracle and keep wearing my mask when I go out to eat in a crowded restaurant. Every. Single. Day.

The Plymouth Grist Mill. The red umbrellas from the Pub are on the right. They should have been open with service on the deck to allow the option of eating outdoors, which is safer. They were only serving inside.

This was supposed to be, in part, about music, so let’s get back to that.

Buddy Holly was wrong when he said “Jazz is strictly for stay-at-homes”. Jazz is very social and it draws people into clubs, restaurants and various venues. It’s anything but for stay-at-homes. I love you, Buddy, but you really got it wrong this time. Even in Buddy Holly’s day, Jazz clubs were hoppin’.

My Dad and his brother decided to go to a Jazz music event at a restaurant downtown. The night I went there, it was so crowded, I had to fight my way to the front to leave. Some people looked at me weird, because I was the only one wearing a mask.

The next event was a tribute concert to Neil Young. Not even the real Neil Young, a tribute. A tribute hardly seems worth getting COVID over, but there you go.

So they went to see the fake Neil Young, which they said was good. I personally hate Neil Young. I think he’s awful, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the fake one was better than the real one, but once again, I’m digressing. Of course, it was in a crowded venue and masks were NOT mandatory. The pandemic is back for another surge, and not only are they allowing crowds to gather for public events, no one is required to wear a mask.

There’s been friction between me and my family. I’m the only one (apart from a cousin who is staying home to protect his kids) in the entire family who is extremely concerned about this. The pandemic is back and as bad as ever! Sure, we are in a tough spot. We can’t move to our home for another month. We have to eat out daily, we don’t have a choice but to reside in the middle of a ton of tourists and in a packed hotel… but did they absolutely have to go to a concert?

In my day, guys wore condoms to have sex so we wouldn’t all get HIV, which was deadly. The other alternative was to only be with one person who you knew was HIV negative… Today, you are supposed to avoid COVID, which could be deadly, by wearing a mask, an even safer alternative is to only socialize with people you know have been vaccinated. You don’t even have to fuck someone to get COVID and all its nasty variants. So how is it that so many people are so goddamn ignorant, that they risk getting horribly ill? For what? A concert? A wedding? A drunken night out at a bar? A stupid kids’ Birthday Party? For what? These things were shut down for a year, and now they are back as if COVID never happened. And guess what? IT’S HAPPENING- all over again.

One afternoon, I got so mad, I refused to go into the crowded beachside restaurant and bar that my family wanted to eat in. When I say crowded, I mean you might as well be sitting in people’s laps, because forget 6 feet apart, this isn’t even 6 INCHES!

My uncle wanted to eat inside. There was barely 2 inches between the tables. I sat on a bench outside. Is that so difficult to do if it will save you from getting really, really sick? But according to my family, I’m the “Drama Queen” and the “anxious” one. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you are labeled as such.

The girls inside the restaurant were wearing nothing but bikinis and all the asshole men were looking at them. It was 90 degrees out and like 100% humidity. So I took my top off. I had no bikini, I was just in my bra. My bra covered more than their bikinis did!

My family might not have liked it, but nobody except us knew I was in my bra! The rest of the public thought it was just a bathing suit top! 🙂 I knew that would be the case, which is why I did it, plus it was fucking hot. And I wasn’t going into the restaurant to seek shade because of COVID.

On the way back, we went by Water Street, where hundreds of people shuffled down the sidewalks in a giant mob, going by the stores, looking at the boats, all of them without masks.

My uncle explained why he disagrees with me about worrying about COVID. He said the reason is the vaccine. There was no vaccine last year. There is now and by that logic alone, it’s supposed to be safe.

Wrong.

BREAKTHROUGH COVID is here. The virus has mutated so it can survive. That means that COVID dangers are happening all over again. Masks need to be mandatory, especially in crowded places, inside and out. I think that’s coming, but as always, once the public finally catches on, it will be too late for many. I think that most everyone wants to believe we’re safe now that we’re double vaxxed. It just isn’t true. I wish it were true, but wishing will not change science.

The boats taken from atop a restaurant on Water Street. This photo was taken on a Thursday. The weekend has 3x as many people on the sidewalks.

Earlier that same day, I was coming out of the lobby of the Plymouth Public Library. We were at an Arts and Crafts event that was outdoors, but very crowded. I had stepped into the lobby to cool off. On the way out, some lady held the door open for us, smiled, and coughed on us. She was not wearing a mask.

But wait! It gets better! My Mom and I went to inquire about prices at an independently owned hair salon. (I will not mention the name, even though I want to, because it’s a public health risk) We sat for 25 min waiting for the lady to finish a client’s hair. When she finally talked to us, we chatted for about 20 minutes about hair and other things. But then she dropped a bomb on us: she had not been vaccinated. It took all the strength I had not to jump up and storm out in a justified fit of rage.

How the fuck can you do people’s hair (which requires leaning over them, breathing on them, touching them) and NOT be vaccinated? That should be illegal! I definitely thought it was illegal to provide such services unless you are vaccinated. It is in California. Boy, they talk about the South, the Northeast is just as clueless. No wonder this woman has signs posted all over her shitty, outdated salon stating that you have to wear a mask. It’s because she herself isn’t vaccinated. Jesus Christ.

Her mask was loosely over her mouth, not even covering her nose. Wow. Just wow. I rushed my Mom out and we didn’t go back. How dare that woman put the public at risk just because she’s “afraid of the vaccination side-effects” Well fuckin’ A, so was I! But I did my civic duty and got vaccinated, and I still have to worry because of idiots like her! There is no excuse to not be vaccinated if you are an adult and even LESS of an excuse if you have a job that requires you to be physically close with other people! NONE!

Some folks disagree with me. I don’t care. I know how to protect myself, but because of my current situation, I can no longer stay apart from other people. The ones who get sick will know I was right, and the ones who don’t, are just lucky. I’m not a lucky person, so I don’t know what’s gonna happen next. The world has already failed at handling a pandemic in the years 2020 and 2021.

They did a better job in 1918.

1918 pandemic photo.

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1918 photo found on Pinterest.