It was the Summer of 2008 when I first made my way up to Rockford, Illinois. It was a slow, languorous summer drive, with plenty of preparatory reading to do, some often crammed in during the final segment of the voyage. In many ways, this year was no different. In other ways, the long tentacles of Covid-19 (and its handlers) couldn’t help but be felt by the attendees. But perhaps the miracle is that we were able to meet at all, while most of the world huddled inside or behind masks, frightened by the government, media, and the new bands...
I arrived back in Paris the day before lockdown in March of this year. I had cut short a business/ski trip in Bulgaria under advice from friends, though by Monday night, as I arrived back into Paris with all the shops in the airport already closed, it looked like wisdom.
I’ve spent my entire life in countries with unrestricted freedom of movement. Not only did those countries let me go where I wanted, whenever I wanted, as long as I wasn’t breaking laws, the countries were indifferent to my location on a given day at a given time.
Two weekends ago the weather was particularly lovely and, while I was out for a Sunday stroll in my neighborhood, what I had already been sensing over the previous weeks became crystal clear: Many Parisians were not abiding by the draconian rules of quarantine that had been laid down in March,
While Paris started the year in the midst of a transportation strike that the strikers by and large lost in the end, there was only a brief respite for the hospitality industry as the specter of the global panic pandemic landed in Europe and then worked its way west.