Well, it finally happened. I’ve reached social saturation.
After weeks of cartwheeling across the city to attend as many music concerts, club shows, community gatherings, charity galas, cocktail parties, quirky parades, board meetings and block barbecues as I could fit in, I hit a wall.
This is partly due to the tragic truth that my cartwheels resemble the efforts of a three-toed sloth that’s tossed back too many Jell-O shots.
But mostly, April in Savannah. How can one small city have so much going on?
We surely owe our strawberry jam-packed event calendars to the glorious weather—this heavenly convergence of balmy temperatures and gentle rains followed by generous skies, the air imbued with the scent of jasmine and grilled food that invites us out of the house at every turn.
April is the sweet cotton sundress between winter’s itchy wool scarf and the sweat-soaked tank top of summer. While denizens of other climes are still clutching their extra blankets at night, we ride our bikes downtown around the squares, cruising past the glowfaces in their Ubers as the tinkling laughter and moonlight flows through our hair.
The splendor of April in Savannah always presents a certain urgency to commune, knowing that it is mere weeks before the Satanic biting gnat pupae emerge from their little hell shells to make every summer’s eve a scene out of Heart of Darkness (Oh, the coming horror—the horror!—of being eaten alive from the scalp down!)
In the sun-dappled parks and on the porches ‘til dawn, it’s hardly a wonder that every day of this fairest of months brings myriad opportunities to frolic with our fellow humans.
Usually, I am enlivened by this uptick in action. In addition to nurturing my relationships with family and friends, I am what some might call a socially ravenous person. I thrive on face-to-face (fingertip-to-Facebook, not so much) interactions with interesting characters, always eager to meet someone new and learn what fuels their passion.
Some of it comes with the job. Representing this column out in the world is a welcome antidote to the decidedly anti-social aspects of the gig, the parts where I sit alone and stare at the same spot above my desk trying not to asphyxiate from my own tangled metaphors and forget to pee for five hours at a time.
Mostly, I am just so curious and excited about all the amazing, creative things going down in this town. I love it all and y’all and can’t wait to find out what happens next. But apparently, I have limits.
Sometime last week, as I was bouncing between a gallery opening and a bourbon tasting, my mojo mysteriously quit working. In spite of the fact that there were two more events—with free snacks—on the day’s dance card, I just couldn’t make any more small talk or large.
One moment I was enjoying conversation and craft cocktails, the next I was tongue-tied with the blinding urge to change into one of my husband’s moldy Grateful Dead T-shirts and binge-watch Broad City in bed with the dogs.
It could have been burnout from 24/7 discussions about superdelegates, or maybe the tremendous frustration with standardized testing.
It might have also had something to do with a lunchtime police raid outside the Connect offices, when officers both uniformed and undercover (some sporting ninja balaclavas) descended on a car at Bee and Victory to arrest three men wanted for auto theft. While no one appeared to be hurt, the smashed glass and suddenness of the incident—as well as witnessing guns drawn—was a cold, hard reminder that in spite of April’s blooming amaryllis bulbs, crime and violence know no season.
My self-styled social quarantine was made official by a 24-hour stomach bug that prevented the approach of anyone not wearing a hazmat suit. The solid wall of solitude forced me to privately grieve the passing of Prince.
The tears flowed as my phone streamed The Muppet Show clip, the epic Super Bowl performance of “Purple Rain” and the searing “I Wanna Be Your Lover” NBC appearance in 1980, back when a man dancing in zebra bikini bottoms on regular TV didn’t cause some state to try and make it illegal.
The weekend also brought news of the death of another friend far away, and my isolation turned to loneliness as I longed to raise a toast with those who knew him.
Lying in bed under the deluge of purple Prince posts and grinning pictures of Jory Prum with his Oscar, I wallowed in the irony of how sometimes social media can be anything but. In my solitary confinement, I also wondered if my social life can ever recover.
I remembered when basic cable was only 22 stations and we all listened to the same Top 40, limitations that birthed the superstars who seem to be turning supernova all at once. Now in the constantly bursting galaxy of the internet, I don’t know who these celebrities are trending on the sidebars and why I have to look at them in their stupid feather Coachella outfits.
Our ability to find each other across the world and the opportunity for new artists to access audience are definitely good things. But can there help but be fewer and fewer exalted icons that imprint our collective memory? As memes catch our attention for a day and then dissolve, where are our opportunities for authentic shared cultural experiences that last?
The thought of navigating an even more fractured society put me in a deeper funk, and not the kind Prince gifted us with the Diamonds and Pearls album.
However, several back-to-back listenings helped me remember the cure.
Love is the master plan, reminds our beloved Sexy Saint of Perpetual Funktion from the afterworld. The only way I know how to play my part is to bring the love I’ve got and see it in others live and in person, ‘cause this phone screen is just too goddamn tiny.
So I threw off the covers, kissed my kids and revived for some real world social time. I don’t know how my clumsy acrobatics are going to get me there, but I hope to see you at the Soul Proprietor Film Competition, Tybee Gay Days, Mamma Mia! at the Lucas Theatre, the Lowcountry Pie Festival and Farm Picnic at the Old Dairy Farm, and, if my mojo cooperates, a few more of the interesting events up front in Week at a Glance and some of the nightlife back in Soundboard.
We’ve got one more week left of April, Savannah, and my master plan is to make it count.