As I'm writing this, it will be the 6th(?) week in quarantine for us here in Indiana (and I guess most people in the United States)
The virus doesn't so much have me worried about the health of myself, my girlfriend, or my younger brother, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I worry about my grandparents and parents — especially my parents. They are both in their mid-fifties with generally good health, but my dad used to smoke up until about 10 years ago, so of course the inherent respiratory and pulmonary problems with COVID-19 makes me think of the worst. I've managed to not stress too much about this — I talk with my parents more than I have in a while, which is another silver lining to all of this.
We are continuing to support our favorite LOCAL restaurants in the city, both for our own sanity and to help keep our favorite places afloat during this recession. I think the hospitality industry has probably taken the biggest hit from all the closures. We all see it. I am worried the restaurant and bar scene is going to look vastly different in the second half of 2020. Restaurants already operate on such small margins, I can't imagine the amount of stress owners are facing right now. I'm a firm believer that restaurants and hospitality define a city. It's one of the greatest pleasures in life to ride your bike or walk to your favorite neighborhood restaurant and enjoy a house speciality and get a little lit. Even when traveling, the often first thing I want to do in a city is go to an oriental restaurant followed by some alcohol somewhere.
Despite my girlfriend and I living in a one bedroom apartment we manage to work simultaneously pretty well. We've got a nice desk in our bedroom that we'll trade off with eachother for important meetings (sometimes the "laying on the couch" quadruple-chin angle doesn't cut it). Noise cancelling headphones have also been worn by me for probably 75% of each work day — no matter how much you love you significant other, I'm convinced these are a quarantine necessity.
Fiscally, my employer could be better, we haven't gotten to layoffs (and I don't think we will) but everyone's salaries have been slashed by 30% until June. It fucking blows don't get me wrong, but I'm thankful that we are in a cheap living situation and bills have never been much of a stressor the past couple of years. I am beyond thankful to be in the position I'm in, and fuckery like coronavirus just proves to me that saving money is one of the best things you can do for your longterm mental health.
I've historically appreciated my professional situation for allowing me to splurge for the occasional cross-country jaunt for a concert or convention as well as giving me the ability to have somewhat of an opinion on oysters (when did I become so fucking bougie). But I also appreciate coronavirus for grounding me in a way that I don't think anything else but a global shutdown and quarantine could do.
Don't get it twisted though, I have by no means turned into a productivity machine a la Gary FUCKING Vee — I've also probably spent more time on my phone and sleeping in (which I guess isn't horrible) than I have in a while. I think the key to having a "successful" (😂) quarantine is to balance creative or fulfilling projects with vegging out. It's such a bizarre time that I doubt anyone can honestly think they're going to learn an entire language or start and finish that project they've been putting off for so long. While I do think quarantine can be a good catalyst for creativity and starting new habits, it can also be a time to just reflect and absorb what's going on the world. Nothing wrong with taking some mental time off from the grind we are all too familiar with.
I had a solo two week trip to Japan planned starting in the beginning of April (right now I should be eating gigantic oysters in Hiroshima, FUCK!) — it was obviously cancelled. While it was purely a trip for pleasure, it nonetheless sucks to have something you've been planning for 2+ years get cancelled for something out of your control.
Again, I am feeling gratitude and thankfulness for the situation that I find myself in. I can only be so lucky to have a vacation cancellation be one of my biggest "stressors" during all of this. I am hoping to be able to go this Fall, but am curious to see what the international travel landscape looks like by then. I can see a "sanitation tax" being added similar to post 9/11 to help airlines further exploit us.
While coronavirus will be something we will all remember for the rest of our lives as something tragic, I think it's important to also look at it as a potential catalyst for benevolent and compassionate change in our communities, both local and global. For me, I am hoping to come out of all of this with a much better picture on where I am spending my money. Not necessarily so I can spend less, but so I spend it with more intent and purpose and know where it's all going.
I've always been someone who prefers to shop locally when I can, but I think my previous definition of "when I can" was more of a "when it's convenient". Directly supporting community and neighborhood institutions not only lifts up the people that own, operate, and are employeed by them, but the communities themselves.↑