I’m currently residing in a Hilton Garden Inn. In a town whose probability of not only me visiting, but even becoming aware that it resided on a map in my lifetime was a statistical anomaly up until today. Laramie, Wyoming, which is nuzzled quietly in the south east corner of this ungodly deserted state is where I’m still passively dealing with covid, and where my friend is keeled over in the bed next to me, still very currently dealing with this illness. And instead of playing shows and trying to make some semblance of a living and something of my life, I am in an itchy bed trying to beat my sick friend’s Subway Surfers high score.
My bandmates and I are no different from the rest of the planet whose social conscientiousness surrounding this endemic has atrophied from adherence and compassion, to benign annoyance. I lost my own grandfather to this godforsaken disease, and that was over a year ago when people still acted like fighting this virus was remotely important. But that was the old way to think about it. The new way to think about it feels way more like "Figure it out you stupid assholes" which is painfully hard to argue with when it rears its ugly head to actively fuck with my livelihood. Seeing how it continues to have an absolute stranglehold over the entire touring industry is a reminder of how carelessly the past two and a half years have been handled. It has forced those in my line of work to act like crazy people. Just yesterday I found myself having a legitimate conversation with the rest of the people I drive around the country with weighing the pros and cons of taking a fucking covid test, because ignorance is bliss when you’re accidentally sneezing in the faces of America’s venue staffs, in this twisted nightmare of a situation. And honestly I don’t blame anyone in a band at this point for avoiding taking a test if they can physically muster the strength to get on stage in the midst of a brutal bout of untested covid. Because in the past five days we have driven over three thousand miles, have played one show, and spent money we don’t have on hotels to make it to the next date that has yet to be canceled. I don’t blame anyone because there are no answers! No one really seems to care anymore! It becomes a moral dilemma hoisted onto our shoulders where we are damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t!
The other malignancy that flares up with a positive covid test, is the fact that it doubles down on a job that is already relentlessly exhausting. Anyone who has spent seven weeks of their lives in a van knows that it is already an absolute pain in the ass to constantly be worrying if a bass amp is going to crush your lungs while you are trying to take it out of the back of the van let alone trying to do that while you’re so heavily fatigued that you might just want your lungs to get crushed.
Continuing to discuss this predicament with other touring artists and continuing to write about it has further warped my compassion and further strengthened my complete frustration over this entire situation. I have been reminded more times than I even care about, of how many times I, and those I know have had a flu so bad it was bordering on hospitalization, but would be damned if that meant canceling a show. I am not advocating for this kind of perspective, I’m just trying to qualify why and where the lines have been blurred. Because summoning every ounce of strength you have to withstand emptying both your bowels and stomach contents on stage, but cancelling a show for seemingly more benign symptoms at this point in the pandemic is completely fucking backwards. Nobody else seems to give a shit anymore, so why am I being punished for it?