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An old hippie flies to Mexico for a relaxing vacation

                                    ....... it leads to a return to a very different world that he left.


........And I Don't Feel Fine

In late February, 2020, we took what I see as the last 'normal' winter holiday of anyone I know. At least the last where you did not have to be quarantined for two weeks upon return. Before leaving we knew their was a virus raging in China and the first few cases in the United States. At that point, it seemed no different then others in the past, most notably SARS which also ravaged China, and other parts of the world, most notably Toronto (Only 800 died worldwide). Like this one and others, I assumed it affected other people/areas and would have no affect on my life. I remember hoping it would not affect my trip....as I was leaving in a few days. Flying in to Cancun, Mexico, staying at a large resort in Playa Del Carmen. A holiday filled with hanging out at beaches and pools, swimming with dolphins, sight seeing off resort, etc.

One of the trips was to the Maya Ruins of the ancient city of Chichén Itzá. There are several Maya cities but this is the main one, the one that contains the famous Mayan pyramid (pictured below), one of the 7 wonders of the world (only 6 more to go). You take these tours and you learn so much about places and people of the past. The Mayan culture was quite advanced. They developed their own calendar system, one that in later years could be matched with ours and give an accurate timeline of their history. They had a massive sports stadium which still stands and we toured. They had annual games which were similar to our basketball, only the balls went through stone hoops on the sides of the stadium. It was an honor to make one of the two teams and a bigger honor to win the prize at the end. The prize was....each player was taken to a special temple where each player...one by one....was held down, is side sliced open.....and his heart was pulled out of his body. The body was then thrown into a sinkhole pit as they Mayans believed that a better life awaited them at the center of the earth.

The great Mayan empire came to an abrupt end when the Spanish, who recently discovered the New World by Christopher Columbus, invaded. The Mayans did not have any means to defend themselves against the weapons of the Old World (Europe). Many hundreds were killed in battles during the conquest. Mayan Man fled their great city and went into the jungles. Their whole world came crashing down. Everything they knew from before was gone. They would have spent their lives hidden in the jungle in fear of being killed by the Spanish. So ended the Mayan Empire. As hundreds of years past by, the Empire castles fell into disrepair and overgrown with forest and debris. Long forgotten.

While in Mexico I was going to flip on the news just for a few minutes at the end of the day to keep up to what's going on in the world. There was a CNN channel, but Mexico had just a statement in Spanish that we could make out that they were boycotting the network because they didn't like the reporting on the many murders of females with little or no prosecution. So very little news from the outside world. Of course, at the end of the week the trip was over and we had to come back. Before coming back we had in place full plans to return to Mexico next winter....only on the West coast....the Pacific side. The saddest day is the last day.....it's over. What I didn't know at the time is that this would be the last time I would be fully engaged with the rest of the world.


Landing at the airport, I began noticing major differences. This did not seem to be the planet that I had left a week earlier. One difference was that many people were wearing masks. Apparently, here, they have not mastered the art of cosmetic surgery. Can there really be that many ugly people here. Also, everyone is standing far apart from each other, at least six feet apart. Afraid to touch each other. I wondered how they procreate on this planet. Are they all test tube babies? Leaving Mexico, it seems the plane had passed through the Bermuda Triangle, where so many planes over the past century disappeared without a trace. This is the place they all ended up. I totally get it now.

It seems that I just got off the plane when someone started yakking at me that we need to start practicing 'Socialist Distancing'. Well, I explained to him that I was never that far to the left. My politics were always closer to the center right, so I shouldn't have a problem with that. I told him that I would give it a go. I don't think he liked my answer....as I reached out to shake on it, he had a strange look on his face, backed off and ran away. I didn't know what that was all about.

Venturing out into the streets, they seem devoid of people. Where is everyone? I felt like a ghost...living in a ghost town. I decided that I had had enough of this place and called the airport to get the next flight back to planet Earth. The person answered "You are already here, you Moron." Mmmm.... Guess I will have to make the best of it.

I now see the Mexico trip as a line in the sand, a line separating my old life and my new one. Looking back, I will see past events as being BM (Before Mexico) or AM (After Mexico). I wonder if somehow the trip somehow set off a chain of events bringing this all on after my return. TV is nothing more then a 24 hour barrage of talking about the virus, the rapidly rising death toll and how it started in the first place. All sorts of rumors went around, it was brought to Asia by troops, it jumped from animals to humans at a market, it was a lab experiment gone wrong. One thing all scientists can agree on is it came from Bats. Well with that, to be pro-active, I went out to the shed, collected up the Bats and Balls and burned them all. It was my beginning to combat the virus.

It seems the plane I got on lifted off one planet and landed on another. It was a planet that mirrored earth in many ways....but was so different in many other ways. Looking at everything happening around me.....I felt that this whole world, a world I love so much, was on fire.

Pretty much daily after getting back things started closing in. A few cases turned into hundreds....hundreds turned into thousands. At first far away from here but with each day you could see it closing in...getting closer and closer until the first reports came in that someone in the area was infected....then several....then many. I had for a while entertained the idea that it would just surround our area, and somehow we would be an uninfected island in the middle. That hope was dashed when I picked up the newspaper at right. They then introduced us to something called 'social distancing' (seems to me it should be 'anti-social distancing'), something I'd never heard before. We started seeing lines on the floors everywhere we went. That is if we got in a store with the line-ups outside. Then came the sanitizers. Everywhere we went we washed hands, scrubbed everything we touched.

Then we went to the next step. They began telling us to stay home. Stay home? Really? I'm used to going. We generally saw about a dozen big rock acts a year. Had tickets to some already and I watched them fall like dominoes. First to go was the Pearl Jam concert in April. Cancelled. I began seeing my life move from 'Riverboat Fantasy' to 'Solitary Man'. From Never Home to Always Home. All By Myself. One truly is the loneliest number.

The picture at left is seen everywhere, television, newspapers, internet. I mean, look at the size of this mother. If i say it laying on a shelf I would head the other way. If I breathed it in, I would surly choke. It is really amazing...and sad how one tiny little virus cell can multiply and spread around the world so fast. Causing such devastation.

My mind began going back to an event in Mexico. Never content just to lay on the beach for a week (you do still get enough of that anyway), I like to go out into the countryside to get a feel of the culture. Traveling deep into Yucatán province, we stopped at a souvenir tent, run by the Mayans, to pick a few things up. When there I was approached by a Mayan Holy Man. He said a few words over me and sprinkled some water on me, professing to give me good health. But what if other then him doing that, he instead had put a spell on me, to follow his ancestors into hiding from an enemy? No, I can't let my mind go there. I have to believe that he was there to look after my health.....and this is what will save me in the end.

At first it was days. But how long will this crazy life go on? They began talking weeks, then months, then years. Years? really? Shut in for years? Some likened it to being in prison. Maybe in some ways...but not really. In prison you are forced to stay in with guards keeping you there. With this, you can go out. But only for necessities. You chose to stay in because you want to live. My only outing is a trip once a week to the grocery store. But there you find empty aisles of toilet paper, no bread. Seems everyone went into a panic and binge bought. Oh they say there is take out/delivery, but I don't want to cut off my last reason to go out. It's all that is left. When I venture out, I no longer recognize anyone, their identity hidden behind their masks that they now need to wear. Then I turn on the news.....they all want to open the economy, the unessential business, the beaches. But the scientists say no. There will be a second wave coming.....then a third....along with the flu season. They hit the beaches anyway, just as I did just a few short weeks ago. (Mexico beach at right)


I decided to look into the future. I had purchased a crystal ball quite a while back. The box stated it was a highly advanced state of the art piece of equipment. I had picked it up at the local Dollarama for $3.99+tax. What a deal. Looking into the future, I only see things getting bleaker. OMG, I wish I had not looked. With the opening of the economy prematurely, and against the advice of all of the scientists, every one is hitting the beaches. They are planning political rally's. They are throwing away their masks. Like Billy Joel, they yelled 'This is My Life....go ahead with your own life, leave me alone'.

I fear all of the air will be polluted. No one is listening to Dr. Fauci anymore....just doing as they please. I need to go into hiding. I need to seal all of the windows and doors so it cannot get in. I must now do the unthinkable ..... begin ordering take out/delivery, thereby cutting off my last contact with the human race. With production of TV shows shut down indefinitely, I see nothing but reruns. I turn to my Netflix (bet their numbers are going way up) Now I know what binge watching is all about. Not long getting through their stuff. Next up, Utube, eventually getting through all of the boring documentaries.....and old black and white episodes of Gunsmoke. Finally the internet. HUGE right? Well, with this going on indefinitely, I eventually get a pop up message......"You have reached the end of the internet."

Mayan man lived in fear of the Spanish...Corona Man lived in fear of the virus. Both went into hiding. Living like a 'Refugee' in my own home.

I cannot see out of the windows as the vegetation has grown up to the roof eves. I dare not go out and do any yard work. I find it too hard to exercise as I trip over my hair and beard.....which are dragging on the floor. As the years roll on, I have lost all track of time. Eventually, as the TV goes off for the last time.....after I eat my last corn flake....and the last bulb burns out.....the house will plunge into total silence.....total darkness (examine the photo at right closely to get a feel of what I am talking about.) Month's after my last take out/delivery order, they will get the "account inactive" message on their screen.....I will be deleted from their system.....thus ending my last record of existence on this earth. As with the Mayan Pyramid pictured above, my house will be buried in forest and debris. You would think this would be the end of this horrific story.....but it's not. There will be......one final chapter.


Glad this machine has a fast forward button. Would be hard sitting through another 500 years in real time. Through the years, the virus will ravage the earth, reducing it's population to just a fraction of what it once was. There will be a few survivors of the Pandemic. One's who took great care in following the guidelines of our great leaders. They hid in the Rocky Mountains, Antarctica and northern Greenland. Anyone with Astronaut training hopped on a rocket and blasted off to the Space Station, which got quite crowded. Over the next hundreds of years, they will go forth and multiply, repopulating the earth. A new beginning. Elton John taught us all about it in the 'Circle of Life'. What goes around, comes around.

After another five hundred years, my house has been taken over by woods, overgrowth, vegetation and debris, like the photo of the Chichen Itza Temple Pyramid, 500 years before. Re-developers, finally coming into my area will run across my house. The archaeologists will be called in to go through everything. They will come across me, sitting in my Laz-E-Boy, a Sleeman's in one hand, the tv remote in the other. Waiting for someone to come on the TV telling me this whole nightmare is officially over. By this point, I am nothing more then a fossilized skeleton. With the technology they have by this time, a quick scan from their gun will tell them I date back to the era of the Great Corona Pandemic. I will carefully be removed and placed in the national museum, who have been looking for remains from the pandemic for many decades. All others have been cremated in a desperate attempt to eradicate the terrible virus. I will be placed with my two new friends, the mummified Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II and Tyrannosaurus Rex. They will have no information on who I was. There will be just a simple sign at my feet.....'Corona Man. circa 2020 AD'. This will be my new home for eternity.


We can smash the crystal ball and head down a different path. There is still time to turn things around before new variants break out and and head in the wrong direction. To avoid the earth on fire mentioned above, we need to: Wear the masks, now calling for double/triple (Soon to be wearing 10 masks); the Social Distancing; GET THE VACCINE when your number comes up. We need 75% to reach herd immunity. It's the only way to avoid long term mask wearing/social distancing and recurring lock downs, which are destroying the economy.

And everyone owes everything to the front line workers. The doctors and nurses in the hospitals and nursing homes. This is a war on the scale of WW1 and WW2 combined. They are the troops, our front line soldiers, that are going into battle to defend all of us from this terrible enemy. Risking their lives, many losing theirs, they all deserve the Purple Heart.

ONE - Three Dog Night
REFUGEE - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN - The Rolling Stones
MY LIFE - Billy Joel
SOLITARY MAN - Neil Diamond
ALL BY MYSELF - Eric Carman

(Click the arrow to go to the main website, where you will find the story's behind rock's greatest trax, under Spotlight and Archives)
Copyright Larry Brennan, 2021