My year of austerity has come to an abrupt end. How can I compete with the likes of COVID-19? It’s a tsunami. In truth, I bailed before the virus made its dramatic entrance.
No-Coffee-January was easier than I thought. I missed it, but I didn’t pine for it. This was surprising. On the first day of February, I successfully circumvented sugar, but quickly spiraled out of control after that. The more I thought about avoiding it, the more it seemed to appear, and even worse, the more I sought it out. I suppose this is the definition of a true addict. I knew I liked sugar, I just didn’t realize we were more than friends. March was supposed to be alcohol-free, but the pandemic squelched the mission. The evening martini helps sooth my nerves.
(This is about the only thing the government and I agree on: Liquor is essential.)
The last ten days has really rocked me. As Russ said in response to my angst, “It’s a good thing we’re not on the Titanic!” [because of my hysteria]. I shot back, “How do you know we’re not?!”
DC is a ghost town. When I run, I don’t stop at road crossings, regardless of whether the light is green or red. There’s no traffic, car or pedestrian. A runner’s paradise, the silver lining to a cataclysm.
Only the construction workers lend a thread of normalcy to a city otherwise closed for business. I’m sure they are grateful for the continuity of their livelihood. It’s the current juxtaposition between choosing wealth over health, or not. They have the option. A lot of people don’t. I’m trying to support locally what is “open”, such as South Block, A Baked Joint, and Karma Modern Indian, which isn’t open, but offers gift cards as a way to support them. Small business needs our loyalty and support, two antiquated qualities in short supply.
I know of a few businesses personally, all different sizes, who are taking care of their employees during this crisis. Just announced, transport company J.B. Hunt, will award $13-14 million in bonuses to roughly 23,000 employees, to support the drivers moving freight.
But more businesses won’t then will. Big Biz mavericks, Marriott and MGM Resorts, have furloughed tens of thousands of employees. Airlines have fired contract workers, who provide services such as baggage handling and security for their organization. Sadly, Compass Coffee, started and based in DC with many locations, laid off 80% of its staff, a total of 150 of its 189 members. Those are the ones big enough to make the news. It doesn’t account for all of the others, who have let people go, and who are most likely not to survive when the shutdown lifts.
Big business will ultimately be fine. They are resuscitated by the recent $2 trillion stimulus plan. That’s the biggest federal slush-fund handed out on record. But profit margins roll down hill, just like shit, getting thinner as it nears street level. Small businesses will be hit hard, and the individual will be hit even harder.
I’m working from home as of this week. My company asked me if I had a laptop I could use. I said I did, but it was so old, I didn’t trust it from malware and other security breaches. My laptop was used-to-me, back in 2011, when I got it. I estimate its age at fourteen years.
It’s gotten crankier the last couple years. It freezes up and the cursor jumps around like a hungry flea on a hound dog, but it limps along dutifully. As of January fourteenth, my laptop alerts me every day that support for Windows 7 has ended. Troubled by inevitable security risks and viruses, it suggests I invest in an upgrade.
Sick of the nagging reminder, I cracked and threw a martini in its face last night. Scowling, my cocktail soaking between the keys like surf retreating from rocks at low tide, I said, “If you want to go, then fine, just leave I tell you!”
After nine years together, my laptop sucked its last breath, and succumbed not to a virus, but to a martini.
My temporary laptop arrived just in time.
It’s possible I accidentally spilled my martini, because it moonlighted as a coaster in the evenings. Not only that, it served as a charging station also, strategically placed in the middle of the coffee table. There is also a chance I was handing my cell phone to Russ, to check out the reading glasses I just ordered, when the cord unceremoniously clothes-lined the short tumbler, sending it skidding across the keys.
There are a few takeaways here. First, I finally need reading glasses. Like Old Ironsides (my clunky, old laptop), I held out for as long as I could, which was pretty long. Secondly, it’s worth noting I really got my money’s worth, and then some, from that laptop (not unlike my first used Honda that miraculously kept running, despite getting an oil change once a year). Third, they’re Burberry, so they’re pretty! I didn’t know this would be important, but it is.
And now you know…the rest of the story.