Falls Church, Virginia, Saturday, February 13, 2021 — Pandemic fatigue is real. People are tired, frustrated and fed up with lockdowns, restrictions, inconvenience, anxiety, and fear. This is not to mention the more than 460,000 dead, the economic deprivation, and the devastation of the Main Street economy. This blog is apolitical so we’ll not go there. Suffice it to say that everyone is doing the best they can.
Our Gang of Four hiking group is a subset of a larger group of friends who have been coping in our own way. Each of us has a connection to the Washington, D.C. journalism community. Two are academics, I’m a former spokesman for the National Security Council, and the rest are covering or have covered our national government at the highest levels. In most cases our various connections go back at least 25 years and run through the White House and/or Capitol Hill.
The next thing I’d mention how good we look after all that time. Masks are the new facelift.
We’ve been gathering at social distance on Saturdays for months. Tina invited us to meet at her house on summer evenings on a large patio, around a gas fire pit, under a string of lights. She moved the start time to mid-afternoon with the arrival of winter. In that way we collect all the warmth the day has to offer. With the change, the main event ends at the hour the when the sun-splashed winter daylight becomes frozen winter darkness. The hard core can brave the night with a flicker of light from the fire pit.
Today is Saturday but we’re not gathered at the Lashley Lounge. We’re in the middle of a bleeping ice storm. We may be crazy but we’re not braving the beltway in this weather. So let’s cheer up by rerunning last Saturday’s festivities.
It was Kia’s birthday!
We divided up the menu pot luck. The delights included baked ziti, Chianti classico, brochette and an awesome cake. Long johns are the new unmentionables.
Blowing out the candles COVID style by waving a paper plate. Singing “Happy Birthday” muffled the flapping.
Of course no gathering in complete without Tilly the dog. She’s a pup with the energy of an unguided missile crossed with an Olympic mud wrestler. You can probably guess where this is going.
A patch of mud does not exist that Tilly can’t find. That’s the point. This is a place where folks can safely let their hair down among friends, talk Washington inside baseball and blow off a little steam.
We laugh, we vent and we cheer each other up. Where there is a will, there is a way to do it safely in a pandemic. Wearing home a boatload of dirty laundry is an affordable tonic these days.