If They Open It, Will You Come?
today at 4:38 pm
The lockdown is growing longer. We are tired of masks and disinfectants and waving through car windows. We are horrified by stories of massive unemployment, lines at food pantries (they used to call those lines breadlines,) and inadequate government response. We want it all to stop. We all want to get into Doc’s DeLorean, ride to the past, and make sure none of this happens. But that ain’t it.
I understand the cineplex owners, the sports moguls, and the restauranteurs who are saying enough is enough, let’s open our doors and go for it. Their livelihoods and the survival of their employees are at stake, all through no fault of their own. I can understand how overwhelming the situation is when the Tribune reports that even Chicago restaurant titans R. J. Melman and Rick Bayless are worried about paying the rent. I want their Leña Bravas and Di Pescaras to survive. I want the Mexican place down the block and the movie palace in the next town to survive too.
So I get the push to open things up, to assume the curve has flattened, and to think we are all on the verge of being safe. But while I get it, the real question is whether or not I believe it. Will Barb and I be willing to go for a Saturday night date at the AMC, made safer with online ticket purchase, alternate seat placement, and scrubbed down armrests, or will we say “nah, let’s catch that flick when it shows up on HBO in a couple of months.”
Will we be brave and celebrate our next anniversary at one of last year’s 5-star restaurants, keeping our masks on except to sip our Martinis and devour the spicy gulf prawns, or will we feel safer with a romantic dinner at our kitchen table as Alexa serenades us with Billy Joel and Neil Diamond? And how long will it be before I am ready to brave the sweaty fitness center when I can just go to the basement to pound away the extra carbs that are part of my COVID diet?
My decisions won’t all be rational. And you may make different choices. How strange it is that your decisions and mine may be decided by the color of the Kool-Aid you and I drink and which cable station we watch–which way you balance the health vs. economy scales.
But no matter how you tip those scales, the question of the summer is bound to be “if they open it, will you come?”
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