I took another big leap into The Real World yesterday, and I am not completely certain it was the right thing to do or how much I enjoyed it. But it was mostly good, and I think the leap was a great success in the ongoing process of re-joining society after so many months/years in some form of COVID isolation or another.
The leap, rather than the baby steps I have taken before, was to attend a concert by The Cadillac Three in at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. That means that I journeyed on a train for the first time in over 900 days. It also marked my first concert experience since late 2019. Yeah… I was really living the COVID Isolation Life!
I was initially worried about the train journey because I didn’t know what kind of booking changes there might be. But I found it much easier to buy tickets as the ScotRail app seems to be more robust now. It was simply a matter of buying the tickets on my phone and scanning the phone at the barriers. The physical journey was also easier than I imagined. The train wasn’t crowded (and was relatively quiet for a Friday) and I felt quite comfortable throughout the journey. It was certainly a more relaxing “first since before” journey than my first time on a bus nearly a year ago.
And, much like the bus now, it seems that people have given up on masks. Although masking on public transportation is still a normal practice in my world. I don’t intend to scrap the mask any time soon. But I happily removed my mask for the walk between the train station in Glasgow and the concert venue. And I was so excited to experience the city for the first time since November 2019!
In some ways, the concert was a chore, and I really didn’t enjoy having to stand for the duration. But that’s Concert Life. I also felt slightly anxious because it was crowded, and I was the only one (that I saw) wearing a mask. From a COVID-safe standpoint, it wasn’t very safe at all. Although I imagine most of the audience likely had some level of vaccination and I am hopeful that most of them were feeling well. (Sadly, I know some people will be out in public whether they are sick or not, be that a cold or something more.)
That said, I did enjoy the buzz of feeling the music in my chest. I like the feel of the vibrations in my heart and find it to be very energising. It makes me wonder about the ways people with limited or no hearing experience music. I imagine it’s quite exhilarating, depending on the style of music they’re “feeling”. I also enjoyed the general buzz of being out and experiencing a bit of normalcy. I think it was just too much normal all at once.
I’m not sure when I’ll want to attend another “big” event like that, but I am glad I went so that I know how it was. That will help me to decide what I want to do (or not do) in the future. What I do know, however, is that I am not ready for large, maskless crowds right now.
Everything felt “back to normal” and I saw very few (almost no) masks on my adventure. Except for the train being less busy than The Before Times, it felt like everyone else has moved beyond COVID and any concerns they may have had about it.
But for me (and others) I am very aware that COVID still poses a risk, and I am not ready to put the safety protocols behind me. Maybe one day, but not today.