The relative spontaneity of the Midnight Oil concert at the Hollywood Palladium on Election Night helped fuel the feeling that we were finally returning to a state of normalcy. With tickets purchased just a couple of months in advance, the pre-COVID ritual of having excitement slowly built as the concert date approached on the calendar was allowed to return. This magic had disappeared with the rescheduled shows we had attended as the lead-up was filled with dread as we almost expected another postponement. When the actual shows happened they seemed almost anti-climatic.
To add a level of personal excitement to the night, the concert started just as results from the election started to come in. As much as I tried to resist the temptation, I found myself glancing at the County Clerk's website. As Peter Garrett sang his "politically inspired" lyrics, the results were favorable to many of the candidates that I had supported.
As great as the night was, it would come with a cost. As I finished my shift on Friday night, I could feel fatigue setting in, but this is not unusual for someone who works the swing shift and had an extremely busy week. When I woke up Saturday morning, the sore throat and body aches had begun. Monday morning I tested positive for COVID-19.
I remember during the Northridge earthquake I sat in the doorway holding my baby daughter and the dog hoping that it was the Big One because I could not fathom living through something worse. This week I had similar feelings as I lay in bed completely wiped out. Having been both vaccinated and boosted, I knew that I was in a much better position than I would have been had I gotten sick at the beginning of the pandemic. It is scary to think how that might have gone.
Perhaps the lesson of the night is one that I should have known all along, but had chosen to ignore in a fit of optimism; the pandemic is not over. Had Trump not politicized the crisis in its early stages we might have been able to work with science to achieve herd immunity, but that opportunity has been lost. Perhaps the Oils leaving "Progress" out of their set was completely appropriate given our current predicament.
Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is elected to the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.