[You could also read the most recent report, or even start at the beginning.]
Well, as promised (threatened?) last time, I took a week off from bitching about the virus and did a normal long post last week. So now I have two weeks to report on. What’s been going on?
Well, both the Mother and I lost parental siblings: she lost her favorite aunt, and I lost my only uncle. In her case, it may have been COVID-related; in my case, it definitely wasn’t. In neither case were we able to attend the funerals, both due to enforced smaller funeral sizes and just having travel be way too much to deal with right now. So there’s a bit of grieving going on, which doesn’t do much to lighten the mood.
A few days ago I finally had to buy gas for the first time since this whole thing started. It was under $3/gallon, which is a price I haven’t seen around here for perhaps 10 years. I spoke to a friend on the East Coast and he said he also had just had to buy gas for the first time in a while, and it was under $2 for him. Wacky. I guess that’s what happens when the price of oil futures goes negative.
Possibly the biggest news, though, is that our governor (among many others, I hear) has finally reopened things, at least partially. Restaurants can now have people dine in, for instance. On the face of it, this seems like good news. But ...
We’ve always eaten out nearly every Friday: it’s our family night, and having a nice meal is typically part of that. Occasionally we’d cook something special, but often it was eating ou
Well, we didn’t necessarily want to let the virus stop us, though of course going somewhere to sit down and eat was obviously out. But I could still go out and pick up some food from somewhere: I have a mask (not a very good one, granted, but good enough), and I know how to wash my hands when I get home, and anyway the local restaurants could use the business, because they’re struggling just like everyone else. So we’ve been picking a different local spot every week and ordering a decent meal and sometimes we get it delivered, but usually I go get it. Mostly these haven’t been chain restaurants, but I don’t necessarily have anything against the chains, and franchise employees gotta eat too.
This Friday I decided I wanted a good Cobb salad, and one of the places that had a decent one on the menu was TGI Friday’s. And it just so happens that’s the one we picked. I haven’t been there in a long time, but, again: nothing against it. It’s slightly generic, but the food is often perfectly lovely. So we ordered, and I trekked out into the night, not even thinking about the fact that this was the first Frida
When I arrived there, the first red flag was that the parking lot was full. You don’t realize how fast you get used to everything being deserted all the time, but I sure noticed when it wasn’t, all of a sudden. Then I come up to the front door, and there are at least 16 (yes, I counted) people hanging around, waiting to get in. And I don’t mean hanging around in widely spaced groups: I mean, bunching up, two or three feet from the neighboring group, just chatting gaily. I actually heard one person high-five another and say “feels good to be out again!” The accompanying “woohoo!” that I’m hearing in my head is almost certainly a false memory, but that was the sentiment, for sure.
Inside, there were a few tables with signs reading “this space reserved for social distancing,” but I have to tell you: it still felt pretty packed. Outside, I didn’t see any tables marked off that way. All the employees had masks, but very few of the customers did: I saw perhaps 4 or 5 out of the dozens and dozens that were there. Most disturbingly, to get inside far enough to attract the attention of an employee, I had to pass through the little waiting area ... you know, the roughly 6 x 10 foot area with a bench on either side where, under normal circumstances, you cram in to sit and wait to be called to your table? Well, these were not normal circumstances as far as I was concerned, but this place was just as cramped as it would be on any Friday night before the pandemic: I counted at least eight people, no more than 2 masks, and additionally two infants, in car seats. And I could not help but think to myself, what sort of maniac takes their INFANT out into a crowded place during a time when a serious virus is out in the world? Sure, this virus is hitting children way less hard than most do, but, still ...
Look, I have spent a lot of these virus reports saying that I fear that we’ve gone too far with draconian measures and pointing out that, no, you’re not staying home because you may kill someone if you go ou
There has to be a middle ground here, people. I hope we find it soon.