Sean Beckwith: 2020 — where even fulfilled wishes falter
You know that moment in “Home Alone” where Kevin wakes up and his wish that his family has disappeared has “come true”? (I do because I’ve watched that movie like a dozen times since December started. Shout out all those who numbed the pandemic with as much holiday movies and sweets as possible.) That’s kind of how this winter feels as my annual wish for a tourist-free holiday has comes as close as possible to realization.
A theme of this column since it was still titled “Guest column” has been a disdain for tourists. I’m not going to go on that diatribe today because, well, there’s no one to aim my ire at. They’re all (kind of) gone. The caveat obviously is that even with their absence, we can’t take full advantage due to this little thing called a pandemic.
That said, this somewhat muted holiday week feels … hollow. It’s like Tom showed up for work and Jerry decided to take a sick day. I’m sure the Roadrunner longs for an era of peace and tranquility, free of Wile E. Coyote — until it actually happens and he/she (I’m not sure of the gender of Roadrunner) is bored out of his/her mind.
It’s like when Andy got Dwight fired, leading Jim to admit: “I miss Dwight. Congratulations, universe, you win.” (I think I’ve covered all the metaphor bases so that most everyone knows what I’m saying. (Yes, I just used a metaphor to describe a metaphor.))
I know restaurant, hotel and service industry people would happily trade their current financial-related anxiety for the comforting stress of just being yelled at. Like I haven’t even received that pissed off “Where’s the shuttle?” phone call from an arriving guest that makes you pace off a little of those Christmas calories.
(One thing that’s been kind of nice is the annual community cheese/cookie/goodie table that’s omnipresent until New Year’s Day at offices near you has been kyboshed, which in theory is another way to avoid eating for the 12 days of Christmas and New Year’s.)
We have no tangible adversaries this season. Talking shit about a virus isn’t fulfilling because no one is going to write a letter to the editor or accost the publisher because I was mean to COVID. F— COVID. See? No one is mad about that. It’s universally accepted (like this vaccine should be).
We’ve reached the point in “Home Alone” where I just want my family back as much as I hate them because this new devil — seemingly as harmless as Marv and Harry but, as Kevin finds out, is still a very real threat — is not preferable to the one we know.
(I realize I compared tourists to Kevin’s mother/family, but I also compared them to Satan so still somewhat on brand here.)
I’ve been duped, like when Jafar wishes to be the most powerful being and he gets turned into genie or like any one of the wishes Emily Hurley grants Brendan Fraser in “Bedazzled.” (Had to start with the Disney reference so I could justify dropping a semi-memorable B-Fras movie.)
Depending on your point of view, the moral of “Home Alone” is either “Family is most important” or “Be careful what you wish for.” I’m going to lean more toward “Be careful what you wish for” because in order for a tourist-free season to happen, something really awful has to occur in order to keep them from flocking to this beautiful locale for the holidays.
Loath as I am to admit it, we need tourists. We need them to keep people employed and sustain the economy, but we also need them for balance. The Light Side needs the Dark Side and vice versa. I mean how awful would the paper be if the entire op-ed section was one big Kudos and Kindness? Makes me sick just thinking about all the perma-smiles.
What makes me even sicker is all of my family and friends and people in general who went through the holiday season not only alone but also devoid of any financial stability. Save your silver linings for the Lifetime channel because the only good thing about 2020 is that it’s almost over.
Somewhere — probably in a gated community with second homes and locals who are “friends” with tourists — someone is saying, “I told you so.”
Thanks, Greg, but I already knew we needed tourists; I just didn’t want to admit it.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor for The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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