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HIGHER CULTURE, Tuesday: The Big (Rotten) Apple

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Yes, I realize it’s Tuesday and not Saturday. Normally, I write the Higher Culture column on Saturdays. But this story came to my attention today, and I just knew I had to bring it to you readers. (And the regular, weekly piece will still appear this weekend, I promise).

It all started with a thread on Twitter written by a staff editor at Reason, which if you’re unfamiliar with it, might be the best-known libertarian magazine in the country.

On Monday, Liz Wolfe turned to her followers for words of comfort, after she admitted she wishes “[she’d] never moved to NYC”… well, for a lot of reasons.

She begins to lay out her predicament by writing:

I hate New York City right now and I wish I’d never moved here. This feeling will pass, right? Right? Someone reassure me.

Liz continues:

I could be living in El Paso/Austin right now but instead I’m just an idiot & now the taxman gobbles up my money. (These tweets are inspired by an entire terrible weekend spent without power/heat, also the bar on my block is shutting down & they don’t deserve that at all.)

It does not help that a) many New York friends now live here seasonally/decamp to other parts of the country for long periods of time, b) my parents just moved back to Austin, c) leadership is insufferably bad in most major cities (Austin has its problems there, too, to be sure)

In the replies, Dave Burge AKA @Iowahawkblog chimes in, as always, with a snarky response, writing:

Eventually your self-loathing regret over this mistake will slowly evolve into a soul-deadened acceptance of your fate.

But NY Post columnist and The Spectator contributor Karol Markowicz tells Wolfe she can relate, and proceeded to share her own experiences with life in the now Big (rotten) Apple, compared to how she saw it with fresh eyes just about three years ago.

Karol begins:

I think I’ve read all the responses twice. I’ve never hated NYC before and want to believe it will pass too.

Then in response to someone who tried to claim Connecticut “has better pizza,” Karol shared another “memory” encased in Twitter:

But there are bigger issues in the world right now than pizza preferences, as she continues about political “leadership” in New York, which has been “lost and confused for years” — unhelpful during the coronavirus pandemic we’re living through:

But our leadership has been lost and confused for years and is only more so now

Karol rounds up her review with “the real fear” of parents in NY and across the country, whether their families live in the Big Apple or Appleton, Wisconsin…

Yes, what if “schools don’t reopen in” the fall of 2021, after two or three vaccines have been distributed to the majority of Americans? It’s an uncomfortable question to mull over, but it’s only one of many unknowns as we approach the end of what’s felt like a neverending, waking nightmare of quarantines, government mandates, and dislocation from the normal lives and freedoms we’ve come to take for granted as a free people.

When will we be allowed to attend sporting events in person? When will we be allowed to visit our loved ones in other states without sealing ourselves up in a cocoon, for days and weeks on end, against the Chinese plague? When will we be able to hold weddings, birthday parties, anniversary dinners, funerals? When will we be free to sit wherever we like in a movie theater?

When will we be able to see the beautiful faces of our fellow Americans, sans masks, face shields, or whatever else the Drs. Fauci and Birx and the CDC say is needed for compliance this week? When will we be permitted to hug our friends and family members?

The truly scary thing is that, at this moment, the best answer anyone can give is a non-answer: “I don’t know.” Because they don’t know. And neither do I.

One small grace that happened in my community of Mesa, Arizona, this week was that the local library has finally gotten around to letting patrons enter the building and browse books to check out. Sure, the selection is limited (as are the hours), but it’s a huge relief to see even a small thing like that getting back to normal. Like a tiny sprout emerging from the soil in the early spring, I have to be hopeful that it’s a sign that more good things are on the way…at least, sometime.