Less Than Zero

If anybody still doubts I’m living in a COVID bubble out here, Saturday morning I worked a shift in our company booth at the Kids’ Carnival in downtown Rapid City, along with Chris and Meghan.

Just the fact that we even had a Kids’ Carnival is kind of amazing. It was an elaborate affair with bounce houses, train rides, kettle corn, a basketball toss, and live entertainment. Pandemic? What pandemic?

I’m not sure how to feel about this. The events staff provided all vendors with face masks and hand sanitizer, but very few families (or even booth personnel, for that matter) were wearing them. I did. It was hot and uncomfortable, but my shift didn’t last long, and why take an unnecessary risk? I ended up cutting out early because there were three of us running the booth, but we really didn’t have the foot traffic to justify that. Meghan actually messaged me earlier and said if I wanted to skip it she and Chris would be fine on their own, but I had plans to meet up with Tara for lunch after, and I didn’t mind repping the company and socializing with those two. They’re in my top 10 list of favorite people I work with.

Then again, I only work with 10 other people…

Our county fair is also a go for next month, with certain restrictions, but some of our corporate events have been put on hold or altered. We hold an awards ceremony to honor local nurses every year, but it sounds like that might end up being a virtual event this year. And our big recycled fashion show, held every October, is probably moving to spring. So, a weird mix of normal and different.

With the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally beginning next weekend, Tara and I decided to leave town. We booked a room in Sheridan, Wyoming, and will be checking out the Bighorn Mountains. Leaving Friday afternoon, coming home on Sunday, so just a quick getaway—but it’ll help us avoid some of the madness that is Rally every year.

Every Friday I make it a point to listen to the Release Radar playlist on Spotify, a weekly collection of new music customized to the user’s tastes. This week I was surprised to discover a new song from The Go-Go’s called “Club Zero.” It’s the first new music they’ve put out in 19 years, and I have to say, it’s pretty good. The lyrics are topical; basically the group is saying they have zero fucks to give.

I loved The Go-Go’s in the ’80s (as well as Belinda Carlisle’s solo stuff), so it’s refreshing to hear them again. I also like that so many artists are releasing songs with messages about these troubling times. If you think The Go-Go’s have zero fucks to give, check out Neil Young’s “Lookin’ for a Leader 2020.”

He’s got, like, less than zero.

24 thoughts on “Less Than Zero

  1. Listening to the Go-Gos as I type this–thanks for sharing. Had no idea they released anything new.

    Do you think there will be a post-carnival COVID surge? Or will it be after the Sturgis rally? Don’t blame you at all for leaving town. I would, too. Hate noise I can’t control.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder what Autumn says, too. Will there be a pent-up demand for these events later? I hope you enjoy your weekend away. I’d do the same thing if I was in the same situation as you find yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think people are looking for normalcy wherever they can find it, and the fact that our cases are so low compared to many other areas makes putting on these events here less risky. Only time will tell, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To be fair, I think Neil always has less fucks to give. Probably why I love him.
    I don’t blame you for planning a getaway during Sturgis. It’s like Laconia up here, if you’re not on a bike… get outta town. To be honest I’m surprised they’re even having it. We’ve cancelled all fairs and festivals and our Covid numbers are probably less than yours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. According to the latest charts, South Dakota has 8,955 cases and Maine has 3,958, so yeah—quite a difference. But we’re both in the bottom 10 nationwide.

      And yes…that’s one of the reasons why I’m Team Neil, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s fascinating how different things are in SD…but good for you for not losing perspective. If I were in your shoes I’d probably handle it very similarly – perhaps have the mask with me at all times, perhaps wear it only if/when it’s necessary, keep a loose eye on covidiots who exist everywhere in the world, not just in hot spots etc.

    I googled this Sturgis rally and the pictures were both fascinating in general and shocking given the global situation at the moment. I remember one business trip to Daytona many moons ago and recalled seeing a lot of motorcycles there…I think there are similar events in that town, too. Fascinating. And reminds me of Daryl Dixon… (ha) 😛

    Your weekend getaway sounds wonderful. I look forward to photos on insta and here. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I swear, walking around downtown, you would never know there was a pandemic sometimes. It does make it harder to be quite as strict with the mask, but I figure, there’s no harm in doing so.

      The Rally is CRAZY in normal times. I don’t think it’s going to be quite as wild as most years, and I do suspect attendance will be lower. But there will still be plenty of covidiots who think they’re immune. I’m really hoping we don’t have a big surge after.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I went to a motorcycle rally in Dubai and that was sublime. It was in front of an Amy Winehouse concert, one of her last which I had tickets to. That was interesting…love Amy, but she was not at her best. So many British fans were there sitting on the ground and in the end the concert ended early.

    She let herself be led by those not meaning the best for her. Sometimes kind of like I think about the press. I believe in what I see around my neighborhood and how we are each helping one another forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A serious thank you for thinking of others and yourself with the mask wearing. I know a few people who have been to Sturgis in the past, although I kinda want to call them “biker wannabes”! In my head, as a child of the 70’s, there are the true bad ass bikers and then there are the others. I briefly dated one I believed to be in the bad ass group, and rode a few times with one who was in the wannabe’s. Interesting men, in their own respective ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to me that, with the aging population, more and more of the bikers who attend the Rally are either wannabes or has-beens! It’s still a fun time though (in normal years). At least nowadays you can walk down the street without worrying about stumbling into the middle of a biker gang fight, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s comfort in knowing you’re relatively safe from the random gang war. I wonder if anyone will be wearing masks, of the virus protection type that is…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark, your booth looked FABULOUS! I love the cute face in hole! Fun looking fair too.

    Can’t wait to see your photos of the Wyoming landscape, I’m sure they’re gonna be beautiful!

    “I loved The Go-Go’s in the ’80s (as well as Belinda Carlisle’s solo stuff)”

    OMG, me too! I loved the quality of her voice. That song reminded me of my time in South Florida in 80’s, and how much I PARTIED!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet you have some great party stories, Ron! Feel free to share on your blog anytime (hint, hint…).

      Even though Wyoming is right next door, the landscape is so different. It’s definitely more rugged and high desert-like. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a first, Mark. A Kids’ Carnival? Interesting how many people did not show up. It sounds like you have the mask issue in your part of the world, too. Around here, likely 50/50 or 2/100, depending where we are. You say it perfectly “a weird mix of normal and different.” The Go- Go’s are cropping up often right now. Neil Young’s is new to me. Enjoy your get away.

    Liked by 2 people

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