The moment California went into lockdown, I was taking photos of Granlibakken’s sled hill. It was a strange thing, looking at a text and knowing that I needed to go home — now. It took me back to that feeling I’d get when I was a young, dumb, rebellious teen, sneaking out of the house. To be honest, it was all pretty exciting. No one knew what was happening, nor what was going to happen. I’ve always been a fan of uncertainty. I’ve always been a fan of chillin’ at home. So, I said, “Let’s gooooooo … home.”
Things lined up pretty well for me throughout the whole lockdown thing. I was able to collect unemployment for recently being “terminated” from a soul-sucking big boy job. Since I’d been pursuing my dreams of becoming a full-time freelance wedding photographer, and weddings couldn’t happen, I gladly accepted that sweet, sweet handout. You know what: I was sort of burnt out on seeing people anyway. I’m the type of guy that enjoys my home alone time. I like video games, reading, yoga, and sunsets. Believe it or not, I can be quiet.
Sure, there were times of boredom. I couldn’t find that perfect video game to play, but I did manage to finish about 50 audiobooks. I couldn’t see all of my friends, but they knew that I still loved them. I took it pretty damn seriously, and although I travelled to the coast a few times to surf in remote locations, I did not attend social gatherings and I did not not wear a mask in public. I respected the rules, probably for the first time in my life. I became very accustomed to a new lifestyle. I had become pretty disillusioned with this society.
But, ya know … Some did not respect the rules. Some people just wanted to see friends (read: party). Some were ready to get the f*** outta their houses. Walking in the woods alone or watching the sunset just didn’t cut it. I could see the cracks showing, and to be honest that’s what made me the most nervous.
I wasn’t ready to go back, necessarily. I wasn’t ready to go back to small talk with strangers, or hangouts with people I didn’t really want to hang with. I was working (mentally at least) against the thing everyone was working for. As we began “reopening,” I wanted a slow entry back into “the norm,” if any entry at all.
Really, I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted, but I knew it wasn’t running into people that don’t even like me, asking me “wHaTs nEw, bRo?” A good friend kept telling me, “Dude, this is going to be the summer!” and I just couldn’t see it. Personally, I didn’t know where even to start looking.
Whenever I get overwhelmed, I say to myself, “No one really knows anything.” And, sure, I’m being facetious. People know things… but do they? DO THEY!? I sure as hell don’t know. Anything. And that’s just it. No one is certain of where this world is headed. Everyone went through some shit. This whole pandemic mess was an absolute disaster on the psyches of so many. I asked myself: Am I happy? Should I be fighting against the inevitable restarting of the workings of the human machine? I also know I tend to make things hard on myself and occasionally find solace in frustration, for our struggles are the great equalizer; they define us as humans.
Over the past few months, I’ve been partying. I broke off three months of sobriety to join the crowd again. I’ve had a blast. I’ve made new friends. I’ve gone to yoga every day. I’ve done my best to insert myself back into life. Now what? I think I’ve found balance? Work is good. Social life is on the ups. Anxiety is down. I’ve avoided acquaintances that don’t actually care what’s “new.”
So I’m alright, today. I feel better. Oh. Shit. Here comes the delta variant. Brb. See y’all in a year.
~ Wade Snider a.k.a. Wade Smirnoff Ice a.k.a. Moonshine Ink’s staff photographer is a self-proclaimed cool dude. He lives in Reno now, which is also pretty cool. He used to like seeing Mercedes Sprinter vans in town, but now they leave a bad taste in his mouth.