Do Something!

Do Something!

A mom readies to snap a cell phone pic of her child while a cyclist rides behind her.

Martin Banks
January 19th, 2021

Over the weekend, I was talking with my neighbor about backyard projects. We both agreed that we had a lot of ideas and no real motivation to see those ideas through. We've lived next to each other for twenty years now. We've lent tools back and forth and lent a hand as we each worked on our projects over those years.

Neither one of us has done much over the past year. Blame it on the pandemic.

That conversation got me thinking about the other areas of my life. Primarily those areas where I had backed off on doing the things that I really enjoy doing. There are all the things that we can't do because life has to be lived differently during a global pandemic. Restaurants are not open here beyond "to-go" orders, so there is no meeting friends or colleagues for lunch. All the concerts, conventions, conferences, and oh my gosh - Burning Man, all the fun stuff that is missing because we have to live differently now. It's a lot that was taken for granted, a lot that doesn't even exist anymore.

When my kids were high schoolers, we would rent a house on the beach for the last week of summer break. It was a great compromise because, by that time of year, tourist season was over, and rental rates were lower, but the weather was still fantastic. Even though tourist season was over, the zonies were still there, and the local homeowners hadn't closed up their homes for winter yet. It was a vibrant boardwalk and beach scene that was hard to beat.

Going to the boardwalk and just hanging out was one of the things that went away this past year. The beaches had been completely closed early on, and very little was open on the boardwalk. It was like, oh well, guess I just won't bother to go down there. There's not much to see or do anymore.

My neighbor got me thinking about what I would be doing on a Sunday afternoon if life hadn't changed so much. I thought about the boardwalk. But the restaurants are all closed, the amusement park isn't open either, and it's off-season, so who would be out there anyway?

Sometimes you just have to do something, anything, to break the monotony of being at home all day, every day, all week long. Sunday afternoon, I put a fresh battery in my black and white camera and headed to the beach. Parking was tight, which is a good sign. Stepping out on to the boardwalk, I was narrowly missed by a skateboarder, another good sign. I walked toward the amusement park, and there was all sorts of impromptu action going on. A band played, and people were dancing. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, bike riders were all around. Parents with kids in strollers and dogs on leashes weaved in and out. It was joyous. I loved it.

The photo above was made at dusk. I couldn't have imagined that an image like this would be possible during a lockdown. So, like the title says, Do Something. It might not turn out the way you think it will.

Thanks for reading.

By the way, did you know that I have another weekly newsletter? It is called Blind Spots, and it is my account of being a middle-aged white guy learning about my own inherent racism. More to come on this as soon as I can get the links working.

Finally, Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King. I hope one day we can live up to your vision.

Martin Banks