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Is It Too Soon To Look Back At 2020?

by joeheg

It’s not often that a work of art gets stuck in my brain so much that I can’t stop thinking about it.

In fact, it’s been almost a decade since this has happened to me. It was after I went to see “Sleep No More” in New York for the first time (I’ve been back to see it several times since). After that first viewing, I wrote this on my Facebook page.

Sitting here still trying to figure out something I saw days ago. Not sure if that means I liked it, was fascinated by it or just thoroughly confused by it.

I wasn’t looking to get an explanation. I just wanted to talk to people to see if what I experienced was the same thing that they did. As it turns out, everyone I talked to had a different experience there, but everyone wanted to talk about it and compare how we all felt.

I feel the same way now that I’ve watched “Inside” on Netflix. It’s a special filmed by comedian Bo Burnham in a single room over the past year.

As someone who loves to travel and writes a blog about those travels but also has a day job where I would work with the public for most of the year, I have feelings about 2020. Those are different from Sharon, who worked from home for the past 12 months. I’m sure our experiences have some similarities but are also different from everyone else who made it through the past year.

I’ve chronicled how I felt about travel on this website, from when I spent the first part of the year canceling trips to the uncertainty if we’d be able to travel again. After a few months, we went to the beach, and then we finally felt comfortable enough to rent a cabin in the mountains. We kept writing since we hoped there were people out there who felt the same way we did. We weren’t sure, but what else could we do?

While we had our problems, we don’t live in a vacuum. We’re friends with several people in Orlando who are actors or other creative people who work at the area attractions. Unfortunately, many of these same people lost their jobs when the theme parks decided not to reopen several shows. Not only were they out of work but they also no longer had an outlet to express their creativity.

That’s why I’m obsessed with “Inside.” While it’s a “fictional” story about how one person with his own issues dealt with the past year, it challenges us to look at our collective experience. From when we thought it would be over soon, learning how to Facetime with our parents or have work meetings via Zoom to the realization that this wasn’t ending anytime soon and thinking how much longer could we keep this up without losing it.

While watching, I was fascinated by the journey depicted in the special. It forced me to reflect on the past year and what we’ve been through. However, it also made me want to talk to people about how they felt over the past year. A frontline employee will have a different perspective than someone who worked from home with their kids taking classes in the next room. Finally, what about a creative person who just needs to create but every outlet they knew no longer exists.

That’s what art does. It either makes you look into yourself or forces you to think about others. Whichever, it makes you think. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s worth a look. Even if it’s watching on your iPad while you on your first post-pandemic trip. And if you’re watching it that way, Welcome to the Internet.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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