No Better Time To Be Kind
How to even begin with the past 24 hours?
I spent most of my day in the car--driving back to LA from Vegas and then through epic flood-rain traffic from Orange County to my apartment in the San Fernando Valley.
When I arrived at rehearsal for Tenor By Night--we could all feel something new in the air. News stories were developing every 10 minutes. Disneyland was closing. Other regional theaters were postponing/cancelling shows. Concert/theatre tours were cancelling dates left and right. Sports leagues were suspending all play, and the governor of California that morning had announced a moratorium on gatherings of over 250 people. Broadway had gone dark.
We knew what was coming.
James, our writer/composer/producer, gathered us in a circle to say we would be postponing the show--they hoped to continue work on the script and open to a full (healthy) audience in June. We took a group photo and expressed some bittersweet goodbyes... we were just getting to know each other.
The rest of my day passed in grocery supply runs and traffic--calling friends, listening to news updates, trying to make sense of things on social media. It was truly bizarre to witness all my friends across the country lose their source of income in an instant. My agent said everything was cancelled in Los Angeles for now: live shows/events, movies, music video shoots, the works. A rep from the LA school district spoke on AM radio news about whether all schools should close--as schools provide safe spaces and hot meals for over 18,000 homeless and impoverished youths. Stores in Buena Park were dealing pretty well with such an unprecedented day. Everyone was out of TP and hand sanitizer, but customers and clerks still seemed cool-headed, if a bit quiet. I took the time to explain what elderberry was to a spry-looking elderly woman at CVS, before grabbing some for myself. I then stopped at Pita Pit to fuel up for my 2 hour drive home, and promptly received the greatest counter service of all time. That pita guy was one in a million.
There is just so much to process here--what daily life will look like for US civilians over the coming days/weeks, how the pandemic is being handled politically (surprise... not well), what the lack of employment means for arts and hospitality workers, and health/hygiene facts and fallacies. My priority over the next couple of days will be to take care of myself and my home, touch base with family and friends, listen vigilantly to information sources...
and spread some kindness.
It seems clearer than ever to me--there is no better time to be kind to one another. To be kind to ourselves. To listen before acting and help where we can. As markets nosedive and cities scramble to protect their citizens, I think, more than ever, we are aware of our common humanity, and the need to help each other. I felt it, today, when I came across tabloid mags with headlines no one cares about any more, or when I heard radio ads for events no one would attend. It's like a wake up call for what really matters: the health and basic livelihood of everyone, in both the local and global community. Of course, it's all overwhelming and scary, but today I found some relief in so easily dismissing targeted ads, tabloid gossip, shameless IG self promotion, and hysteria-driven news. It just became more obvious who was focused on helping the public at large, and who wasn't. Just as it became obvious that my duties in this unparalleled time are to take good care of myself and spread kindness and genuine care along the airwaves.
So, let's create a cultural movement of appreciation, compassion, and generosity. Let's care for the humans we love and the strangers we pass. Let's champion our hard working healthcare providers, health researchers, educators, and the many employees in grocery stores and pharmacies. Let's work to uncover only the facts and stop the spread of the wrong information or divisive vitriol. Let's, together, find ways to be kind.