Category Archives: Culture

So, How Are You Doing?

I want to check in and see how people are faring. Times were getting to us before COVID, and I’m guessing that nightmare hasn’t helped.

Things here are fine, more or less. Bored as fuck, especially on the days that used to be weekends. Getting together to watch Chelsea with my Rocky Mountain Blues tribe was always something I looked forward to, and not having that contact gives a sense of … alienation is too stiff a term, but there’s certainly an unsettled loneliness. Disconnectedness … wrongness.

I can’t even kill time watching sports on TV. This is typically prime NBA/Nuggets time for me.

And I’m really going bonkers on the photography front. There are several projects on the boards, but they all require me to be out and in contact with people. So I’m stuck here shooting flowers I get at Safeway, and as much as I obviously love shooting florals even that gets tired after a while.

I feel lucky, though. I try and imagine being the age of my gf’s kids. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with being home through the years but when I was that age I was out literally every night.

The internet helps. As much as it’s to blame for much of what’s wrong in the world, it is a lifeline to friends, to family, to the world beyond the front door. I’ve had a couple of Zoom happy hours with friends, including an online gathering of some old Theta Chi brothers from Wake the other night. Those are more than just keeping up, too. I get to interact with guys I haven’t talked to since the mid-’80s. So maybe COVID will help us expand our networks a bit.

When I think about how this is on kids in their 20s, I sometimes go a step further and try imagining this happening in the ’80s when I was that age. No Net. No Scholars & Rogues email community. None of the incredible TV we have today. No. Fucking. Nothing. I’d read constantly, sure, but would bookstores even be open?

It’s not a comfortable thing to contemplate.

As is, life inside the walls is manageable. J and I are taking steps to make sure we stay on the same page and give each other extra space. No matter how much you love someone, what we have here is a divorce lawyer’s dream. When we “reopen the economy” they’re going to get swamped.

And when I go out I get to rock the badass mask my friend Cat made me. I want to beat people who aren’t wearing them, though. Fucking sociopaths.

Anyway, I wanted to say hi. How are YOU doing?

Sam-mask

 

#HowlAt8 – and Keep Howling.

At 8pm we step outside. On the balcony, the porch, the stoop, the sidewalk. Or maybe we just hang our heads out the window.

And we howl.

The nightly howl started in Denver, apparently, although it has its roots in California. The person who first explained it to me said it was to honor healthcare workers who are risking their lives (even more than normal) during the coronavirus pandemic, although it can mean other things, as well.

I like the honoring healthcare workers interpretation. And I guess I’d go beyond that. The COVID-19 crisis has reminded us – because way too many of us had forgotten – what it means to be essential. Doctors, nurses, PAs, anesthesiologists, lab techs, and a lot of other folks in the medical field are essential.

covid_grocery-storeBefore now who ever realized that the people in grocery stores were heroes? But they go to work every day to serve customers who may well be carriers. The cashier, the stock boy, the folks at the meat counter – they’re literally risking their lives so we can eat during the pandemic.

Who else is essential to the functioning of society? Well, here’s some of what the state of Massachusetts has to say:

  • Physical therapists
  • Medical researchers
  • Embroidery/fabric makers for medical personnel and first responders
  • Security officers
  • Delivery services (Door Dash, Grubhub)
  • Energy manufacturers and distributors of equipment and parts
  • HVAC
  • Rideshare drivers
  • Towing services
  • Vehicle repair
  • Marine mechanics
  • Bicycle repair services
  • Printing services considered an essential communication function? YES if media
  • Veterinary services, kennels and day pet care facilities
  • Property management firms and landlords
  • Recycling facilities an essential service?
  • Nonprofits serving elderly communities
  • Banks
  • RV parks open year-round for housing
  • Storm clean-up operations
  • Hotels and other lodging
  • Inspection services (e.g. fire systems, home code inspections etc.
  • Landscaping (providing services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, etc)
  • Municipal public works employees
  • Electrical contractors
  • Public works contractors (for emergency calls)
  • Pest control
  • Plumbers
  • Convenience Stores
  • Office supply/electronics stores (if selling hardware, home appliances or other essentials)
  • Hardware stores
  • Casket manufacturer for funerals
  • Movers

I hope we’ll all take note of these, as well as other professions that are critical to a thriving nation – like teachers, for instance.

And if we read the list carefully and take note of who isn’t essential, maybe there are lessons to be learned there, as well.

So let’s all go outside each night at 8 as long as the crisis lasts to howl for those people risking their lives to keep us healthy during an unprecedented time.

Also I want us to keep doing it after COVID is gone.

Every night, for the rest of our lives, I think it would be great if we took a moment to remind ourselves and our neighbors about our priorities as a society. And if those howls – of solidarity, of empathy, of support, of primal joy, even – happen to drift over the gates and disturb the self-satisfaction of those who imagine themselves indispensable, well, we can live with that, can’t we?

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