Birthday Blues or Caravan Balloons?


Caravan Culture.

Stephania Lopez, staff writer

As these troubling times filled with fear invade the minds of almost everyone throughout the world and darkness seems to feel eternal, celebrations like birthdays, weddings, and get-togethers are bound to be cut short. But is that stopping thousands, maybe even millions,
from celebrating these once in a lifetime experiences, although Covid-19 is as prevalent as ever?

Not one bit.

Honk! Beep beep! These sounds are just some of the few emitted from the cars of friends and family members as music blasts from the speakers and friends clamor out of the windows in hopes of giving the birthday gal or pal a poster, sign, or even a small gift. Upon looking at the videos posted all over social media, I find it quite endearing when I see maybe as little as five or as many as twenty cars, arriving at the houses of surprised and elated girls and guys in hopes of making their birthday celebrations one to remember.

While I’ll be the first person to tell my friends to avoid leaving their houses to meet up with another family member or constantly remind them to be careful if they do end up going out, I believe these caravan celebrations truly banish birthday blues and bring big smiles to not only those being celebrated but those celebrating. Just recently, I participated in one of these social-distancing celebration substitutes and while we quickly passed by, played music, and carefully gave them a quick present, those few seconds of celebration made all the difference.

Their smile beamed and at that moment I knew we’d made a difference in the quality of their day, even if it was pouring rain, who’d happened to arrive smack in the middle of our surprise.Just this Saturday, May 9th, I was surprised with my very own birthday caravan and let me tell you, I think I almost cried tears of joy. Seeing my friends and family after about two months in complete isolation, utilizing Facetime and Zoom anytime we could, was a breath of fresh air. The preparation and effort my friends and family put into making my birthday certainly one to remember has allowed me to find a new appreciation for their presence in my life.

These long-lasting weeks have truly led to an eminent sadness as friends and family are obligated to distance themselves because of the possibility of acquiring the virus. Many may argue that these celebrations completely disobey the social distancing guidelines, yet I think that
if planned cautiously, there’s no need to violate these regulations. As long as the participants are in no way less than the expert-suggested six foot distance and aren’t in “groups”, which wouldn’t necessarily be possible as the cars participating are continuously moving, the ability to obtain the virus is very minimal.

Therefore, as Henry David Thoreau’s once said, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts,” I encourage you, let it be by sending a message of gratitude or even participating in one of these quick celebrations, to affect the quality of their day even in these times where darkness seems to be never-ending.