From fourth grade onward, I rode a bus to school. it was usually, if not always, a Blue Bird- that familiar yellow-gold bus with black lettering and the sleek black logo- despite its “blue” moniker- of the bird itself with a wispy aerodynamic triangle behind it to indicate its graceful speedy movement whilst whisking children efficiently to their education each day.
Inside, it was a different story- we could feel the springs pressing into us under green vinyl seats with peeling patches, initials were scratched into dull, minted-milk-of-magnesia paint, and thick rivets struggled to hold together a wobbly, squeaky mess of decades-old metal as it hauled a gaggle of unruly children to school while they bickered, teased and flirted. It always felt to me like if the bus went any faster, as it gathered momentum, the rivets would give, and the bus would peel apart with us spilling out of it, chunks of steel and fourth-grade bodies left bouncing along a busy street as cars swerved behind it to avoid our tangle of skinny elbows and knees.
In March of 2020, we were immersed. Every day was fraught with panic and change. While we at Feast have long been proponents of change, it didn’t feel good. Every day we came in wondering how we’d handle it, and every day, through an amalgam of frantic bootstrapping, desperate cries, finagling, jerry-rigging, finger-crossing and the jaw-dropping support of our community, we cobbled together a way to keep things working. But for months, it felt like that school bus- I could hear that familiar rattle and squeak, and it felt like everything was two popped rivets away from strewing us all over creation.
It’s been nineteen months now, and we’ve settled into a semblance of normalcy. People aren’t afraid to pick up a pen anymore, and as more part- and full-time Tucsonans trickle back into town, our seats are gradually filling up again. and that taut feeling in the air is beginning to dissipate. Fewer of our guests, and of our coworkers, for that matter, exude that palpable anxiety that permeated every interaction, and while we’re nowhere near our old capacity- neither do we offer it nor would there be the bodies in seats if we did- things are feeling bit by bit more normal.
There’s a routine, one that’s not disrupted daily by dramatic news or shock and fear, and as happy as I am that I’m no longer shoveling my savings into Feast, it feels like the daily drama is being washed lazily down a slow drain.
Having been on the subject of the structure of drama the other day, I must say that when the climax happens in the first scene and nineteen months later you’re still wending through the denouement, you’re apt to look at your watch along with everyone else in the theatre and decide whether you want to be the person noisily unwrapping a cough drop while you wait for the actors to wrap things up.
So we find ourselves in that spot just now, still in the slow season that every year we convince ourselves ends in September but really doesn’t end until at least Halloween, going through the motions and waiting for the lights in the auditorium to come up. Yes, the in-person wine tastings are coming back the first week of November, with a hybrid Zoom piece still included, but for now here’s a link to today’s tasting,
and the accompanying login information:
Doug Levy is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Ready for Reds
Time: Oct 23, 2021 02:00 PM Arizona
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 841 2123 8549
And just before we log in, I’ll be dropping off meals at the first of three months’ worth of food runs to the Youth on Their Own mini mall, continuing the donation runs we initiated last April.
Then there’ll be, with any luck, a dinner rush of sorts,
and we’ll tidy up, wrap up what we haven’t sold and head home to rest up before we do it all over again tomorrow. I feel a bit like it’s wrong, the figurative checking of my watch during what I hope is the last, painfully long act of this play we’ve been trapped in for nineteen months, but I’m ready. I’ve had all the cough drops in my pocket, and I’m irritably glaring at those who are still unwrapping theirs in this quiet theatre while we wait for the curtain to fall and beat a hasty exit while the company takes its bows, hoping to get out of the parking lot before we’re stuck waiting there as well.
It’s time, right?