Samuel Wagner: A follow-up on our return to normal |

Samuel Wagner: A follow-up on our return to normal

In the interest of proper journalism, I feel I need to follow-up on a previous column I wrote a few months ago. It dealt with the return to “normal” and how we would all reach a point where things felt — perhaps not right — but fine enough.

I would guess that many Aspenites gained some experience with these kinds of moments as the July summer crowds moved in, and the town regained its old luster. No matter your personal feelings, leaving your home now involves more close encounters of the human kind than a few months before.

And those moments feel normal now. Amazing how the mind can adapt.

I, for one, experienced my return to normal moment, or at least the one that I originally laid out. I was able to listen to the Delvonn Lamarr Organ Trio in the Little Nell as part of the JAS June Experience.

Now, I feel like this concert, great as it was, didn’t fulfill the spirit of my original intention with a “return to normal” moment. I had decided on the return of consistent, in-person, live music, which this was. However, at this performance, the listeners were all seated at separate tables, graciously spread out despite loosening restrictions at the time. The music was amazing, filled with jokes, moments to show off and solos aplenty, but it didn’t have a crowd packed against the stage, or any kind of dance area. After it ended, the band members mingled with everyone, moving from table to table and thanking all for coming, and I was left with a feeling of, “Well, I guess that’s that.”

Basically, it was a lovely concert, but, due to the small crowd and an early-days hesitancy surrounding a return to in-person events, it wasn’t a concert, if you understand my meaning.

So, my “back to normal” mission has been accomplished, but I’m moving the goalposts a bit. I think I’ll feel like things are back to our new normal when I can go to an all-out, full-blast, crowded, action-packed live show.

Luckily, society and our collective feelings on large groups have changed rapidly. It’s now more about finding time that I have off to catch a concert than whether there is one in the first place.

Again, it’s incredible how mindsets can change so quickly. Just a few months ago, I was wondering when I would get to experience these things again. Now, I’m surrounded by tourists and locals heading out almost every night.

Of course, you only need to look at the delta variant infection rates in other counties and states in the U.S. to know things will likely get a bit worse before they get better again. Pitkin has been fortunate in that we’ve had high vaccination rates that have insulated the area from the worst of this latest twist. It’s due to that foresight that we’re able to even head to the weekly Snowmass concerts, meet the friends at the bar and roll our eyes at the groups walking just a little bit too slow on the sidewalk. Just like normal.

Keep it up, and you won’t even notice it feeling like good old Aspen again.

Sam Wagner is a copy editor for The Aspen Times.


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