Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Transitions are critical to understanding pretty much anything, and we're definitely in a transition period right now.

I talk a lot about transitions in my professional life as a writer. My definition of a good story is one that pulls the reader through the whole thing, and it requires transitions to get from one idea or fact to another to make that happen.

A good result in life requires good transitions, too. And the opposite is just as true, as our country's transition of power in the president's office demonstrated so sadly.

Most of the focus these days is on the transition out of pandemic mode. It's no exaggeration to say that our short-term future depends on how well we handle the return to "normal," from schools to businesses to entertainment and the arts to personal relationships.

Take schools first. With few exceptions, it appears pretty obvious that distance learning doesn't work all that well. I have personal experience with a grandchild or three, and it's not a pretty picture.

Still, I certainly understand the hesitation from teachers' unions, administrators and parents — on both sides of the get back into the classroom debate. Until vaccines are available to everyone (and some say even then), there's at least some danger of infection. So school administrators are doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

One of the delicious ironies of this reopening is taking place in the Long Beach Unified School District. LBUSD has struggled for years to add air conditioning to its aging school buildings. Now there's a good chunk of state and federal money available to make sure there's adequate air circulation in schools. That means air conditioning, folks.

Then there are the business owners. It's completely understandable that some, particularly those with restaurants, bars and the many hybrids, feel like they've been jerked around in the past year — they have.

Now we're in a transition to reopening. The only way to describe the state rules business owners must abide by is an abundance of caution. Health concerns outweigh profit, I know. But do we really expect restaurants — notoriously with the smallest of margins in the business world — to survive on 25% occupation? In "normal" times, a restaurant that can't attract more than a quarter of capacity can guarantee going belly up soon.

There's a front page story in this Grunion about how live theater and live indoor concerts overall appear to have been left behind in the reopening transition. Another sector where it doesn't take much to get knocked off the viability perch, we need to improve the transition for live entertainment soon. No, make that now.

It's wonderful to experience this feeling of coming out of the coronavirus cocoon. Heck, I'm bulletproof now with two vaccinations and two weeks gone.

But let's control the excitement at least enough to pay attention to the transition. I sure don't want to transition back to shutdown, and I bet you don't either. 

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

Load comments