Those days are long past. Remote living + elective poverty + a growing loathing of cities and crowds washed away my connections to “culture.”
But now, although I’m no closer to or more fond of cities than ever, I have a new love (and old friend) in my life. I’ve been searching for a proper screen name for him and I think I’ll go for Rhett, after Rhett Butler. Rhett has both the means and the desire to indulge my whims and he occasionally enjoys a bit of culture himself.
So some weeks ago, when I spotted a poster in a window for a performance by a sensational arts company I’ve wanted to see forever, he got right on his computer and bought tickets.
Yes, it was in the big city. Yes, masks would be required. But some of the worst Covid restrictions had been lifted, so we of the vaxxless Pariah Class could still go and enjoy. And maybe even go out for dinner in the city afterwards. Whoohoo!
I went to the thrift store and paid a whole $8 for a slinky black dress and was happily accessorizing it when The Dreaded Email came into Rhett’s inbox.
Less than 72 hours before the performance, and less than two weekdays ahead … the venue had changed its rules. Omicron panic, of course, aided and abetted by a “progressive” city government and a similarly pearl-clutching arts elite. No entry without either a vaxx card + picture ID or a recent Covid test. If you were one of the dirty unvaxxed and couldn’t get a test on your own on short notice, you were invited to show up hours early at the venue to be tested there, at least until their limited number of test kits ran out.
The Dreaded Email came not from the venue itself, but from the performing group, which had had this sprung on them as rudely as we had and were trying to sound cheerful and optimistic about it.
“Let’s talk,” Rhett Signaled me.
“There’s nothing to talk about,” I Signaled back.
“We cannot comply,” he emailed the performance organization. “Please refund the price of our tickets.”
Our tickets, we knew, were non-refundable and non-exchangeable. But these were Circumstances.
The staff emailed back an offer of a gift certificate for a future performance. Rhett declined on the perfectly reasonable grounds that who the bloody heck knows when, or if, crazy Covid restrictions will ever be lifted. (And for that matter, what if all public performances are outlawed again or what if all the bloody damned cities are aflame or under martial law or … but he of course didn’t say any of those things.)
Then came an odd turn.
“Just come. I will get you in,” wrote a staffer.
Now, how the heck was that supposed to work? Who is this person? What is her authority? Is this complete BS, intended only to avoid giving a refund. What? This is a staffer for a respectable, globally acclaimed cultural organization offering to sneak a pair of strangers, just two of thousands of potential attendees, into a soaring major arts venue in a city in the throes of panic. Sneak us in like high school students creeping under the hometown bleachers to watch a football game. Too good to be true.
We didn’t believe her until we talked to her on the phone.
Well, even then we didn’t believe her, but we decided to make a leap of faith and show up on the appointed day.
We arrived and stood just this side of the sign telling us how very, very unwelcome we were. Moments later a very young woman came out to greet us, apologizing politely for making us wait all of 30 seconds.
She verified that we had our tickets, then led us away from the main entrance to an out-of-sight side door, which opened into a small room whose purpose initially escaped me. It was the Covid testing station, which Rhett realized, but which I couldn’t quickly take in.
She guided us swiftly past the testing table, with its giant economy sized bottle of hand sanitizer, test kits, and wrist bands, then courteously but abruptly shoved us behind a curtain, in an area with a few chairs, told us, “Wait here,” and disappeared.
I still had no idea what was going on and felt mildly freaked. But once again Rhett got it before I did. She had stashed us in the waiting area for those who’d been tested and were being isolated while awaiting their results. We were alone behind the curtain. There were other people milling about the room but we couldn’t tell if they were getting tested, or being treated as we were, or just staffers going about their business.
Five minutes later, our mysterious benefactor reemerged, joined us in our isolation, reached through a gap in the curtains, and discreetly snagged a pair of ribbons off the test-station table. She applied these to our wrists while explaining a lot in a few whispered words.
… Unvaxxed herself … believes in choice and in natural immunity … she and her organization fought the sudden mandate as fiercely as they could … has been dealing for two days with angry ticketholders (some of whom were showing up at the box office in person, demanding refunds), telling them, “I can get you in, I can get you in” … having a hellish few days herself, but glad to be able to help …
Once we were banded like a pair of winged escapees from a bird sanctuary, she directed us to an entrance to the theater.
Outside the entrance, the vaxxed were required to submit their cards and photo IDs. We breezed by. The man doing “Papieren, bitte” duty spotted us skipping his scrutiny and reacted with a start.
“Hey, I need to see your …”
We just raised our fists and shook our wrist bands at him.
“Oh, you’re all right then.”
And in we went. Rhett’s observation was that we never had to (and should never) talk to anyone “in authority” once we had our bands on. I, on the other hand, felt slightly miffed yet oddly amused that our cheesy little bands made us suddenly not only welcome, but more welcome — or at least more easily welcomed — than those who complied with everything ever asked of them.
Inside, the theater — which had been nearly sold out when we bought our tickets weeks earlier — was only about 3/4 full.
I hoped our new Freedom Outlaw friend and her company didn’t have to refund many of the tickets for the missing portion of the audience.
And the performance itself? Magnificent. Better than I’d imagined. Also greatly enhanced by knowing ours was an Outlaw operation and by being reminded that there are Outlaws among us even in the most respectable places.
Now, about the health questions some may be asking.
Rhett and I are both determinedly unvaxxed (not “hesitant” in the least) but regularly take a regimen of prophylactic supplements: zinc, vitamin D, quercetin, ivermectin, beta glucan, and several other useful-against-Covid (or for that matter, the flu and common cold) substances. Also, we’re hermits and had scarcely seen another human being in a week.
So it’s very unlikely we’d bring any diseases to the poor, vaxxed, re-vaxxed, and desperately boostered masses who might have risen up with pitchforks and torches had they realized that we (and presumably some unknown other number of pariahs) were in their midst, thanks to the Outlaw Mole in the arts organization.
And us? Well, for several days afterward, we upped our doses of everything, knowing the vaxxed have become more dangerous to the rest of us (and not just in the pitchforks and torches sense) than we ever were to them.
Also, having spent nearly three hours in the presence of a thousand or more people (plus a lovely, mask-free dinner in a real restaurant outside the freaking-out city afterwards) we decided to take an additional precaution for a day or two.
On the Living Freedom forums, Silver had posted recommendations from Dr. Peter McCollough, the lead author on the first peer-reviewed paper published on early treatment of Covid-19 (BEFORE patients are admitted to the hospital). In the first link in this paragraph (read it for yourself because it’s important but really too gross a way to end this post) McCollough recommends a nasal cleanse.
His rationale: “The SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted in the air and settles in the nose, and multiplies for days before it invades the body. …
“The virus must be killed in the nasal cavity at least twice a day … for prevention and up to every four hours during active treatment. This is very important with the Omicron variant, which multiplies 70 times faster than the prior strains of the virus.”
I’ll let the good doctor describe the cheap, easy, and positively horrible home procedure in detail. You may not like it (and for heaven’s sake, if you try it use only distilled water). But it’s hard to argue with the logic or the credibility of the source.
Oh, the things we do for love…