We won. It took a while, and bonus points to anyone who put “armed insurrection” on their bingo card for January 2021, but we won. And so after the Inauguration, my thoughts turned to the question lingering on all our minds: what do I do now?
You see, I’m a screenwriter, and before the pandemic struck, I had big plans for 2020. This was going to be the year I went bicoastal, put myself firmly in the mix for television staffing season. In fact, during my last LA trip a year ago, I was looking into an apartment in Santa Monica, my West Coast happy place, that I would rent out for a week every month while I flew in for interviews. I had three plane tickets already bought for last spring, I had great writing samples ready to submit, and. . .then I had nada.
I’m a naturally risk-averse guy. I mean, when I was young, I did sneak into the holiest church in all of Christendom, but generally speaking, I don’t take a lot of chances. And so I’ve spent much of the past year sitting on my porch, looking out at the world with its occasional airplane passing by, and wondering when I could rejoin it. Last spring I didn’t set foot in the city of Boston between mid-March and late June, and I went two months on a single tank of gas. Everything shrunk.
But even in the depths of the pandemic, horror has always been leavened by hope. I’ve never had so many paying projects as I do now, my first feature film is set to shoot in May, and during lockdown I also wrote the best script of my life. Plus, in mid-February Massachusetts suddenly announced that anyone who brought an elderly relative to one of the mass vaccination sites could get a shot themselves, and I secured doses for 3 family members in the span of a single week, culminating in taking my uncle Peter to Gillette Stadium on Valentine’s Day. Exactly one month later, we got our second Moderna dose, which means that on March 28, the day this journey begins, I will be at least 94.1% protected from the virus, which is good enough for me.
I haven’t done much traveling during the past year. A few trips to Cape Cod, a couple visits with my dad in NYC, the Maine pre-election journey I described. But I haven’t set foot in an airport in more than a year, which is probably the longest stretch since I was a child. And it’s time. Time to get back on the road. Time to visit people and places I love. Time to make new journeys to new destinations. Time to rediscover America after a year apart.