A year ago (on March 29, 2020), my “Show Biz” column in the Star-Advertiser, made history. It was shut down under dubious circumstances; I was told (falsely) that the coronavirus crisis, which was worsening and affecting the economy, was the reason for terminating the column.
Free-lance writers for the paper were being released to reduce expenses, the decision coming “from the top,” I was led to believe.
It was a lie because at that point, only two contributors were eliminated from the columnist rank. Me and travel writer Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi. The features editor told me that when conditions improved, the column(s) might be reinstated.
Ha! It was pau for good.
I agreed that if times were tough, yes, contributors should be the first to go, to protect full-timers from furloughs.
Ha! again. No other freelancers were terminated.
A year later, neither Cheryl nor I have been offered a chance to reboot. She continues to contribute travel articles in other resources.
I became fully retired and turned to Facebook to post reviews, share entertainment and other chatter, and communicate with former friends and new followers as I began enjoying the freedom of retirement and the uncertainty of unemployment.
The paper has moved on, too, with minimal concern for the performing arts, with diminished coverage and combining sections into bizarre Siamese twins.
I focus on my hobby, creating notecards and holiday-themed lapel pins that folks now wear as accessories on their facemasks. Earlier, I finished a batch of Valentine’s stuff, then Easter projects, and will focus later in the year on Halloween and Christmas.
It’s all a hobby, not a job. No revenue, but tons of fun.
By now, I normally would be planning trips – to Japan and New York – but both destinations are still not ready to welcome visitors nor am I ready to go. Yes, seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan would be joyful; and my passion for Broadway shows will have to wait till later this year, or perhaps next year, when pandemic threats are gone.
So my new normal has already happened. I make time for what I enjoy, with no rigid scheduling. And yes, seniorhood brings health issues, and I will have yet another procedure done at Queen’s this week – aiming to minimize and reduce chronic lower back pains. I have PT sessions twice a week with a personal trainer, who helps me with a regimen that encompasses exercise aimed at maintaining a healthy life.
Strangely, I’ve been busier than ever. The coronavirus tiers now allow more social gatherings and I hope to catch up and schedule more breakfasts and lunches and dinners in the months ahead.
And time is fluid; often on a Wednesday, it feels like Saturday. My calendar has monthly entries for doc visits, PT, and maybe a meal get-together. I can do cat naps a couple of times a week, follow trending shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime, and still have time for my crafts.
Hard to believe, but I had been writing the column for more than 50 years, 45 years as a hired hand, another 10 after retiring in 2008.
Aside from trips, I miss my weekend movies. So far, Consolidated has yet to program blockbusters, so there’s no reason to visit the cinema when “Nomadland” is streamed on Netflix. I’ve bought tickets to Diamond Head Theatre performances and next week, I’ll likely take in a live show at Blue Note Hawaii for the first time since 2020.
It doesn’t seem like it’s been already a year since I uttered my parting line in print, “And that’s Show Biz”…