Y’all, I’ve been feeling really good lately. Between new meds and feeling truly settled into (what I hope will be my last) rental home, I’m really looking forward to the summer. I want to be an ethical ho and drink well crafted cocktails while I crash pools with my besties. I wanna make out, goddamnit. I deserve it! With the recent warm weather and sunshine, I felt a very ho-ish summer coming on for most of us in Athens, single or not. (Yes, you can be a ho in a monogamous relationship. It’s a mood, not a set of behaviors.) Midriffs were out and dance party season was kicking off right when the first cases of COVID-19 started popping up in the U.S. And now look at us.
As of this writing, we have been under a local state of emergency for two days. I have full confidence that this will still be in effect when this is published; if not, the national state of emergency will certainly still be in effect. These words will still be relevant months from now, since the CDC is recommending a full eight weeks of social distancing to slow the spread of this virus. Some locals thumbed their noses at this idea and partied HARD last weekend. I don’t blame any of you who decided that a rager was the best way to start a quarantine. I was visiting my parents a couple of states over, but I freely admit that I would have been right in the thick of it if I’d been in town.
I think it’s normal to crave a last shout before becoming a quarantined shut-in, but I want to urge you all to take this as seriously as you can. Maybe you’re a twentysomething in great health, but you could potentially carry the virus to someone whose immune system isn’t nearly as poppin’ as yours. Sure, quarantining and social distancing are personal inconveniences, but this isn’t just about you. It’s about us, all of us, and that “us” includes you, too.
It’s easy to wave off this news as panic or even a conspiracy, but the death tolls in China and Italy should be enough to convince you otherwise. Do you think this is a man-made globalist scheme to exert control over the public? OK, fine, whatever—exchange all your money for gold and go live in the woods with your unregistered guns and sister-wife. I literally don’t care. But when you come back into town, please wash your hands, cover your cough, and don’t touch my parents. I only have one dad, and I don’t want his health destroyed by some dipshit “infowarrior.”
On Mar. 16, the Athens-Clarke County Commission voted to ban gatherings of over 10 people in all bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and public property. It went even further Mar. 19, telling everyone to stay home unless you’re doing something essential, like going to work or getting food. While I think this will achieve our goal of “flattening the curve” and reducing new cases popping up locally, I am definitely concerned about the effect this will have on the service industry in town. I know bartenders who have purchased homes with the fruits of their labor, and they need those tips to keep paying that mortgage. The service industry is a big job sector in our college town, and we need to do what we can to keep it as robust as possible during these hard times. Please check out Hillary Brown’s Grub Notes blog to find out which local spots are offering curbside pickup and delivery options, and please tip well. Flip back to p. 6 for a list of educational, health and financial resources, as well as volunteer opportunities. Your favorite server or bartender might also have a Venmo or Paypal account set up.
Hey dude, we only have each other, and there are many small ways that you can step up and help your fellow Athenian. I don’t know what else to tell you. These are weird, uncertain times. Write to me so we can freak out together.
Need advice? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, use the anonymous form at flagpole.com/getadvice, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.