December 4, 2021- For three weeks, between Thanksgiving and the last Saturday before Christmas, it seems that half of the Phoenix area makes its way to Prescott’s Courthouse Square. There was the Light Parade, on November 27, followed today by the Christmas Parade and Lighting of the Trees (with multicoloured illumination of the many trees on the Courthouse grounds). Next Friday will be Acker Night for the Arts, during which a good many businesses, both in and beyond downtown, will be hosting local musical artists, and raising money for arts education.
There are as many reactions to crowds, as there are people in those crowds. It is a common complaint that traffic is way too ridiculously slow-a fair point, but one which can be handled by parking a bit further away, finding a spot during off peak hours and combining downtown activities-or, as I can do, walking from my apartment to the activity venue.
There is the “but, there’s COVID! We should be staying home and not having any public events.” No one is twisting anyone’s arm to go anywhere. There will always be homebodies, who don’t understand why anyone travels-and vice versa. I enjoy a balance of both, while recognizing that when one writes about or shows photos of travels, there can be more of a backlash than when one quietly stays home. Goodness, the same may be said of anyone doing something of which ANYONE might disapprove. As for disease prevention, nothing succeeds like being proactive and maintaining a healthy immune system. Again, if one IS sick, staying home is a good idea.
My take is: I am glad to see people getting out and enjoying themselves. This is how we get to know one another, and open our minds and hearts to different viewpoints, in real time. The antics of children during the Christmas Parade, this afternoon, were as heartwarming as ever. Later, when I went to dinner at The County Seat, I took a seat at the end of a long table that had opened up, in the crowded eatery. A couple showed up and took two seats, followed by another couple, whom they did not previously know. The four became fast friends.
This could not happen, if the climate of overreaction to any health situation, real or imagined, were to prevail, despite the relative mildness of the latest strain. I’ve been vaccinated, have masks that I wear, when prudent or when requested and have not seen anyone coughing in other peoples’ presence-save a little boy fake coughing, for attention, yesterday-until his classmates got on him. End of digression.
Although I am comfortable in my own skin and don’t NEED lots of people around, when there are large gatherings, it does well for everyone finding fault with the situation to remember that other people are just as entitled to experience a full life as they are.
It strikes me that, except possibly for the dinner, these activities were outdoors, the safest venue to be found these days. I agree with your premise about those finding fault with the behavior of others, who should remember that others have the same rights (of choice) as they do. However, I think we are all also entitled to grumble about the situation itself, which doesn’t seem to be getting any better as time goes on. I don’t think we yet know how mild, or how transmissible, the Omicron Variant may be — it behooves us all to be careful until the scientists have had time to understand it.
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Omicron, and all the other strains that will follow it, are to be regarded carefully. I fully anticipate having to wear face masks, on several occasions, for the rest of my days-which could very well be a few more decades.