Column, Movie Diary

Wash, rinse, repeat

By Dom Cioffi

I’m officially over Covid-19. In fact, I’m over the year 2020 in general.

Admittedly, when this whole quarantine thing started back in March, I experienced a bit of mild excitement mixed with cautious trepidation.

Most of the excitement came from the thought of working from home. I have long grumbled about my work commute and how it eats into my life. The thought of not having to deal with traffic twice a day, five days a week, well, that sounded absolutely blissful. And it was … initially.

The cautious trepidation came from the rampant disease traversing the globe and its potential to impose harm on myself and the ones I love. I spent the first few weeks of the pandemic studying the virus and its effect on other countries. However, I began to quickly strain from all the data since so much of it was conflicting or being taken out of context.

Looking back, the failure of 2020 started on Jan. 2 when I returned to work. January was marred with presentations and visitors and people wanting something every minute. The month completely exhausted me.

And then, in early February, I became horribly ill with a flu-like sickness. At the time, Covid-19 wasn’t on the radar as a possibility, but once things kicked up a few notches and I began to hear about the symptoms, I became increasingly convinced that I had it (along with five other people in my department).

March was when all hell broke loose, as my company went into panic mode trying to transition to work from home. We did a great job, but the writing was on the wall with sales. Like most businesses, ours suffered greatly as people held onto their money.

In April, I began to notice the social factors taking place: some people were afraid of dying; some were calling it a hoax or a bad flu. Just when I would start to lean one way, I’d hear something new and swing in the other direction. I finally decided to give up trying to figure things out and simply abide by the current rules and do my best to navigate this new world.

And then the social unrest and racial protests started.

Every day the news got worse as our country seemed to be slipping into chaos. It was at this point that I shut out all information – I didn’t read or watch one news report.

To combat all the negativity, I made sure to stay in shape by either running or golfing almost every day. I ate good food. I got a great night’s sleep almost every night (thanks to no commute) and I caught up on all the reading I’ve been wanting to do. I even made it a point to learn several new songs on my guitar.

But then I started to notice how one day was rolling into another… and then another. I started to lose track of time and which day of the week it was.

I also noticed that I was craving social interaction. My conversations with my family or the guy at the grocery store weren’t doing the trick anymore.

There were no kids to coach or sports to watch on television. Sure, people were outside walking, but few wanted to stop and have a visit. Everywhere I went it felt like people were avoiding each other – which, in fact, they were!

I knew things were getting bad for me when I started to return to my office building to work. Our building holds 25+ people but very few are ever there. I returned simply for a change of scenery. It didn’t matter that I was all alone, at least I was staring at different walls.

By June, I was starting to come out of my skin. My wife and I looked into going on a trip but everywhere we inquired had quarantine rules or limited opportunities. So, here we are in mid-July with no end in sight.

The repetition of days is growing weary for everyone. If ever there was a real-life Ground Hog Day, it seems like it’s happening now.

Ironically, Hulu has just released a new film entitled “Palm Springs,” which takes the Ground Hog Day premise (where the same day repeats over and over again) and modernizes it for a new generation.

Starring SNL alum Andy Samberg, “Palm Springs” imagines a wedding day where one guest seems to know everything about the other attendees. One young woman is so transfixed that she follows the man into the desert for a rendezvous. That’s when she ends up getting herself trapped in the same repeating pattern.

The real genius of this concept lies in the original Bill Murray film. This picture takes the same exact approach (which is a great one) and shines it up for younger audiences. It’s still highly effective and certainly a lot of fun to watch even though it recycles many of the same bits.

Check this one out if you’re on Hulu and feel like having a few good laughs.

A humorously monotonous “B” for “Palm Springs.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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