I went to my first superspreader event. First, that is, unless you're counting the past three weeks during which I taught at an urban elementary school. So, if you're not counting those days, attending a great big rock show at a baseball stadium with forty thousand of my closest not-so-socially-distanced friends would be my own private Sturgis. Without motorcycles. With masks. And I suspect a good deal more vaccine flowing through the collective veins of the not-so-intimate gathering.
My family made the trip across the bay to see Green Day, a favorite of ours since way back when I first moved to the area near that bay. My son grew up with them, pantomiming with a group of his friends to "Holiday" at his elementary school talent show. A friend did us the solid of making a slight edit to one of the lyrics to make it appropriate to the grade school crowd. Mostly. We have seen them now in four different locations around what we and the band all call "home." This one held significance in that we had purchased tickets for a show that was to take place in the summer of 2020. That didn't happen.
So we waited. We held on to our tickets and waited. We waited for the crisis to clear. We waited for the infection rates to slow. We waited for a vaccine. We waited.
Then, after what seemed like forever, a new date was announced. I would like to tell you that there was some sort of family meeting to discuss the relative safety of such an enterprise, but that never really happened. We all understood the risks, at least the mounting potential for hypocrisy on our part. This was not a MAGA rally. Quite the opposite, in tone at least. It was a communal gathering of shared joy and relief. Joy for loud music. Relief from being cooped up indoors. But as I sang along at the top of my lungs as I have so many times before, I noticed the muffling effect of the cloth covering on my nose and mouth.
Which is why there was a particularly moving moment that might have gone unnoticed by some, when the boys tore into one of their more recent hits, "Still Breathing." Because we were. Singing:
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way away
My way to you
We were. We are.
It was worth the wait.