The First Pot of Gravy of the Year

-by Mark Casasanto

So, here I am, at home, like so many others…concerned, annoyed and confused. Sounds familiar, right? Plans postponed, work on hold, life as we know it in limbo. Lovely. Just lovely. And, I’m not quite sure who to thank for this intended / unintended hiatus, but I’ll be civil and reasonable.

Social Distancing. I gotta tell you- at the risk of sounding selfish- I’m all for it…as long as it’s on my terms. It’s no secret, I work in a fairly fascinating industry. Call it what you will, sports, entertainment, trade shows, conventions. It’s all wrapped up into what is known as the event industry. Live events to be exact. This industry has long arms. It needs people to make it happen and, it takes all kinds, in many different professions and from many walks of life. 

Consider just four of the most recent events that I can personally speak on as having a major operational hand in since the turn of the year: The Voice open auditions in Baltimore, the Philadelphia Auto Show and Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and a Craft Beer Festival at the Navy Yard. Social Distancing…yeah, I think not. 

So, what am I getting at? Truthfully, maybe I’m just venting. Maybe I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth, but I’ll take the break. Dealing with the public can wear you down and leave you questioning your mental well-being. But here in lies the problem, in just the last week, my colleagues and I have realized the cancellation or postponement of over twenty events scheduled for the immediate future. That’s a ton of unplanned time off, missed paydays and unexpected anxiety for all those on the length of the long arms of the industry. 

We have panic at the markets and have seemingly lost our ability to be reasonable, respectful and compassionate towards others directly impacted in this very stressful climate. Settle down y’all, settle down. You don’t need five mega supersized giant double packs of triple ply toilet paper to survive. Put down the twelve Encore Lasagnas. As comforting as the old commercial was, Al is not coming to your house for a frozen dinner from a box. 

And then there’s this…

The Cherry Blossoms have awakened and who can blame them? The air has been humming with the voice of spring almost all season and it’s been less winter like than ever before. One thing’s for certain, when the pretty little pink and white flowers pop, it’s a very safe bet, for me anyway, the allergies will be activated and the sinuses will soon stand at attention. Thus, signaling the start of many pharmacy runs for relief, any kind of relief. Sniff, sniff as I clear my throat. 

Now, if that’s your reality, like it’s mine, every year at the first smell of spring, I ask you… why in the hell are you so freaked out? I had the flu six weeks, I still have a lingering cough. That happens every now again, does it not? You get a knock down, put you on your back winter illness and you carry the residual effects into early April. Admit it, it does happen right? And yeah, my sinuses are a post nasally disaster right now. I am being socially responsible when I tell you, I feel the way I would feel this time of year, any year. It doesn’t mean I’m not keeping a closer eye on my health, well being and overall progress with a little extra interest, especially given the industry in which I work. But it damn sure isn’t going to drive me to a state mental facility either. Honestly, I’m not so sure they’d accept me anyway! But that’s a different story for another day. 

May I offer some advice? Shut the TV off and get off social media for a while. It’s been beautiful out. Go for a walk and enjoy some fresh air…that is if your sinuses aren’t clogged to the point where it doesn’t matter. Read a book, watch a movie. Give all the other stuff a break. You’ll thank me later. 

Coronavirus aside, we are all on edge, for a variety of different reasons. Yea, understood, life’s a bitch sometimes. But, we all have the difference to not add to the mayhem of the status quo. Steady at the wheel my friends. Be cautious yes, but being informed and reasonable is a must. Good luck, we’re all counting on you!

Now… As for me? I took this opportunity to make the first pot of gravy of the new year. That’s my contribution to social distancing. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the time to do so…

…who’s coming for dinner…?

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