Are We There Yet?

When I was young
taking car rides with my parents,
some times to go shopping,
in summers to the mountains or the beach,
favorite thing to say was:

Are we there yet?

as if my asking would shorten the trip.

During 2020, my wife and I resurrected
the phrase, pausing often to say:

Are we there yet?

meaning 2021 or just the end
of a particularly bad month.

Now it’s January 4th, we are supposedly there,
but here is nowhere like it’s supposed to be.

People are still getting sick
by the hundreds of thousands each day,
people fill ICUs and mortuaries
(worse yet refrigerated trucks)
at an alarming rate, the number of arms
plunged with the promised vaccine
is proceeding at something less
than warp speed.

The best we can say for now is we aren’t there yet, but if
people will do there part (social distance, etc),
and governments do more to cooperate with each other,
we might get there by summer.

I remember one particular trip
to the beach when I was seven,

Are we there yet

was constantly on my mind,
until my father said,

we’ll be there when we get there.

It didn’t make any sense at the time,
after all I was seven, but now it does,
a bit… we will be there when we arrive,
though when is unknown,
at least we seem to be moving
in the right direction. ❏

Peter Witt is a retired university professor, at least that’s what it says on his business card.

Photo by Maxim Medvedev


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