Coco, Not Corona, Virus or Otherwise

Everyone is just about on lockdown. My work was mandated to shut down on St Patrick’s Day, of all things. I never thought I would see the day that bars in Wisconsin were made to lock it up. We get a lot of comments, looks, judgement for being a drunkier state than the others. But that is our jam, bars are places to gather, to socialize, watch the Pack, Brewers, Bucks, even bowling when the other sports have lulls in action. Now we have no sports, no bars, and a lot of people are feeling no hope.

How is everyone doing? I ask that for real, because I am worried about everyone. Isolation isn’t for everyone. We are really not that far into it, and I have had friends posting their fears about homeschooling, depression, lack of contact and a lot more. Some people are trying to hold everyone up with humor, myself included. Keep at it, we all need a giggle to get through the day. But are you doing ok? I hope so, please please please reach out if you need to. To me, to your neighbor, your family, your dog. Without knowing how long this will go on, people will get disheartened. Not everyone has their home set up for long term isolation, and even I am finding there are only so many Friends episodes a person can watch for days on end.

I have been out a little, but I felt like I was doing something wrong when I left my house yesterday. I had a haircut, so I got some human interaction, yay!! Then I went for a little drive, just to see. It was weird seeing the mall parking lot so empty. I drove from one end of town to Kimberly, and while there was some traffic, it wasn’t what you usually see in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. Downtown was sad to me, no hustle, not a lot of cars. Katsu Ya had a sign in the window, Stay Healthy Appleton! Indeed, stay healthy.

As a restaurant person I do want to say if you are able to afford it, and able to get out, support some of your local and favorite places during this time. Many are doing curbside pickup, you won’t have to leave your car. Every dollar you spend is helping keep someone employed for another day. And please, if you can, leave a tip. You have no idea how much a buck or two means when you don’t know where the next dollar might come from.

Although they haven’t yet, I won’t be surprised if they close hair salons, and massage places. ( the real ones, not the rub and tugs, they close those whenever they can!) If you have an appointment, and can keep it, remember to help out your stylist or masseuse with a couple of extra dollars if you can. They have had a lot of cancellations, and may be made to close as well.

A lot of retail places, particularly the groceries, will stay open. Someone has to work. Be as kind as you possibly can be to these people, and the folks inside shopping. It costs you nothing to smile, be friendly and polite. That is free all the time, virus or not. Kindness and being aware are going to go a long way to getting to the other side of all of this. Now is the time to remember we all are affected by what is happening.

There is a way through this, and it is together even if we are quarantined. We only get better as we help each other. Support each other, emotionally especially. There are a lot of lonely people right now. Isolation is always scary, but especially when there is no end date on the horizon. Send a text, make a phone call, video chat, drive by, honk and wave. And you always have me. I want to try to keep everyone happy, or at least give them a smile, whenever I can. I may not be able to serve you a margarita right now, but I can make you feel a little less lonely if you need it.

Hang in there. I promise, the light at the end of the tunnel will turn on eventually, and we can all head towards it together.

Love, Coco.

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