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In the pandemic version of Footloose, Kevin Bacon is not the hero. Sorry, Kevin. These are strange times indeed and the heroes are the people you wouldn’t expect.
There are signs up all over the place. No Dancing! No Congregating!
It’s a scene from a movie, but this ain’t no movie, folks. This is life during COVID-19. A lot is prohibited during this time. No large groups, no getting within six feet of anyone, no hanging out next to a bar to chat someone up while you wait for a drink. And, lest you forget, the sign will remind you: No Dancing!
I’m at a popular beach spot, one of the few that has a live band these days. The band is rocking out, the people are not. Granted, the heat index is hovering somewhere between 100 and 105, so most people wouldn’t be in the mood to get all sweaty anyway. They’re already all sweaty. You sweat reaching for your water bottle, the steel-plated one that’s supposed to keep your drink cold but can only do so much in weather like this. You sweat knocking the sand off the end of your beach towel. You sweat just from existing.
I venture from my hidey-hole of a cabana that’s like a trapdoor spider lair. These days I want to be away from the blistering sun and from most people. At the same time, I want to be by the ocean. So, I take the bad with the good. The sun with the sea.
I’ve come out to watch the band. But first, I mask up. Wearing a mask has become second nature and although it’s hot and stuffy, I don’t mind putting it on. I walk to an unpopulated area semi-near the stage. Again, you have to take the bad with the good, the mask with the music.
Posted in front of the stage, just below where the band is situated, are the signs. And, as I could have predicted, eventually people decide to ignore the signs. It starts with a woman in a white bikini wearing a sash that reads “Bride to Be” on it. Four women in black bikinis wearing sashes that read “Bridal Party” join her. And, as I also could have predicted, the men soon follow. Nobody has a mask on.
It has to be surreal and rather lousy to have a bachelorette party during a pandemic. I will give them that. As for the men that follow the women onto a stretch of sand they’ve designated as a dance floor? Well, that’s not just human nature, that’s just plain ole nature. One man takes a No Dancing! sign and waves it over his head. He’s the comedian of the group. He puts the sign between his legs and pretends to ride it like a pony. He’s the kid in the back of the class that I would have wanted to sit next to because he’d crack me up with under-the-breath, streaming commentary until the bell rang.
It’s funny, but at the same time, it’s not funny. Under normal circumstances, it would simply be a bit of cheeky fun. But during a pandemic, everything is different.
This scene doesn’t last long. A seven-foot-tall man, pale and thin as a birch tree, comes on stage and takes the microphone from the lead singer of the band. The music stops.
“You cahn’t dooooo thees!” he shouts. His accent sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, lending him an imposing authority. He’s a skinny Arnie, but he has a Terminator vibe. “I will shut thees dahwn!”
He shuts it down.
The band packs up. The dancers disperse. I go back to my cabana, remove my mask, and take a sip of lukewarm water.
It’s Footloose, but it’s not. The hero here is the man who has to put the kibosh on the closeness. Like I said, in times like these you take the bad with the good. You take the mask with the music. And you take your heroes wherever you can find them.
Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of her columns at www.zip06.com/shorelineliving.
Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .