To Windward in a pivotal 2021

Thu, 01/14/2021 - 5:15pm

Just shy of a year ago we started hearing about the word coronavirus; however, it hadn’t yet entered the news cycle on a mind-numbing twenty-four and seven blast of baffling information. On 11 March, I had just returned from a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and I distinctly remembered going to George’s in Galilee, and sitting by the fire with my wife and having dinner—no one wore masks. We live nearby in Galilee and like to sit near the fireplace, and we’d always seem to catch the place at the time when we could sit next to its warm glow on a freezing Galilee night. Sometimes, after we grubbed up, we’d sit in the rocking chairs like a couple of old coots just rocking aimlessly and looking at the fire. It was a veritable Norman Rockwell scene. Hey, this is how geezers rock and roll. Moreover, we love the vibe of this place where we’ve both have had history for decades. Then, as we all know, about 15 March, the world as we know it went way off kilter. Subsequently, a new buzzword entered the American lexicon. The word is, pivot.

In the context of a business, the word pivot means, simply, that choices and decisions different from the status quo must shift to accommodate expected, or unexpected, changes. It’s a matter of shifting and maybe altering elements and expectations of a business. Last March we all saw this happen on a global as well as a local scale, and we all had to pivot—not just businesses. Working remotely became a much-used pivot phrase for many businesses. We all know someone who is working from home during this pandemic; it’s non-negotiable in many cases. Slowly, however, we are seeing a pivot toward a more middle ground of where we were this time last year. I stress the word, slowly. I think of the words of Friar Lawrence in the play “Romeo and Juliet.” He suggests to the impetuous youth to move “Wisely and slow,” which is sage advice for everyone, and not just star-crossed lovers. This is what we all need to do in some capacity, in order to stay safe and get back to a semblance of normality.

Note the following example of pivoting. One night about a month ago, the bride and I were having a burger upstairs in George’s. Our server says to his masked party of two, “The gentleman and his wife in the bar area would like to buy you some chowder.” “Great,” I said while squinting across toward the safely distanced customers, whom I couldn’t recognize; I’d forgotten my glasses at home. After we finished our supper, I walk over to thank the couple, and it turned out to be two former theater students of mine at Narragansett High School. I thanked them for the chowder, and introduced Jim and Colleen to my wife and then we sat near them to catch up with their careers. Jim and Colleen Lynch-Flynn took my acting classes back in the day. They both grew up a couple of miles from George’s before they found their careers out in Los Angeles, California. Jim went to study acting at Emerson after graduating from the high school. After finding that acting was not for him, he decided to move to L. A., to try his hand at editing films. After several years making his bones in the film industry, he became a member of ACE— American Cinema Editors. In addition to several other films, he recently edited six episodes of the Netflix hit series, “Bridgerton.” Moreover, he edited episodes of another Netflix series, “The Haunting of Hill House.” He is currently editing another series, and has other projects in the queue.

Jim’s wife Colleen Lynch-Flynn moved to L. A., after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Rhode Island. Since 2001, Colleen has been teaching at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles. Colleen has taught: B i o l o g y , Health, and both Honors and Regular Physiology classes. She now plays a major role in the Medical Science Academy at Beverly Hills High School. Jim and Colleen and their two children, daughter Harper, and son Grady, currently live nearby. Here, is an entire family that pivoted during the pandemic. The Flynn’s have a summer place near George’s where Colleen grew up as a kid. They usually come home to Great Island every summer with their kids, and then go home to L. A., but this year they decided to stay in Rhode Island. Colleen teaches her classes remotely from home, while Jim cuts films in the basement. Both Harper and Grady attend Narragansett Pier Middle School and High School, respectively. I see Colleen walking by the car shack at the ferry before she logs on to teach her students out in California, and I see her husband hustling by the dock taking a beach walk break from editing films. (I find it hilarious that during this bi-coastal pivot, that Harper and Grady go to the very school where I taught their mom and dad.) We all know someone, who has pivoted.

On the cold and windy night of 2 January, Cindy and I went to George’s for fish tacos. Rather than eating upstairs where I’d requested a seat near the harbor entrance, the bride pivoted, and nodded toward the Christmas Tree and fireplace. She then asked the hostess if we could possibly sit, there. We were seated at our favorite table near the fire, and had a great meal to start the New Year of 2021, and to hopefully begin the road back to an older type of normal.

Happy 2021 from the Ferry Dock Scribbler!