I really don’t want to believe this is actually our new normal. Normal can’t be a life without outside contact, secluded from neighbors and friends, without businesses, movie theaters, relaxing wine bars, and luxurious restaurant dining events. But, like every American (well, except for the governor of Mississippi that seems to think social distancing isn’t necessary, and this is a Democratic hoax for some IDIOTIC reason) we are adjusting to a mandatory stay at home order from our governor.
Gary and I filed for unemployment this week. We have been furloughed from our positions at Lahaina Galleries, where Gary is full-time and I am part-time. As we have been told, it is far better to be furloughed, as we will be hired back when the world is working again, thankfully. And, in the meantime, we have the opportunity to file unemployment. The process has been long, with multiple resubmissions and we are still waiting to see if the last one went through.
And, it has been difficult. I am someone who has never filed for unemployment, always feeling very proud for the fact that I haven’t ever been fired from a job, or released due to cutbacks or layoffs. I have found strength in this. My freelance gigs are in question, our speaking events are on hold, hopefully, someday we will start flying again, and I will make it back to Dallas to share some of my love for wine with the viewers of Channel 5, NBC DFW. But, for today, I am like millions of other Americans trying to get through the next few months in a healthy, safe, financially stable way.
So how do you get through?
For us, we are exercising, we play cards, we clean the house, scrub the car, bing watch everything on Netfilx and HBO, and try desperately not to start the daily cocktail hour before five.
I admit I am hit a little harder with all of this than Gary. The feeling of isolation is weird, an eerie calmness throughout the island makes the air feel heavy, the weight that much more intense, maybe a little island fever setting in.
Tourism year to year for Hawaii is down 87%. Yes, I understand it is because we are in the midst of a pandemic. But, we are a chain of islands that survives, not just thrives but survives on tourism. Our little pocket of the world at Mauna Lani has had to deal with a false atomic bomb scare, an erupting volcano, a major hotel closure and remodel, and now a pandemic. We are so thankful to be here, in this beautiful place, but gosh…we could use a little break. We are ready to see smiling faces of friends from the mainland coming for a visit, families vacationing, engagements and elopements taking place at sunset. Instead, we have big red “beach closed” signs, parks gated, and resort closures.
I am thankful we have space, and sunshine, and clean air to breathe, and wine to drink. My heart goes out to the thousands who are stuck in small apartments right now. Again, it’s good to try to keep cocktail hour to a normal happy hour time, not noon.
My heart goes out to America’s restauranteurs, especially my sisters who are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Impressive women who have dedicated themselves to the hospitality industry, and the advancement of women within our trade. Once you are a part of the industry, you are in it. Even if you go on to do other things in your life, you have gained an appreciation and an understanding that those who have never waited tables or flipped a burger or opened a bottle have. You get that it isn’t glamourous, but you also build a family unit within the four walls of the establishment.
So many restaurants, bars, diners, and pubs across the country are hurting. If you have the means, support one in your neighborhood tonight. I can almost guarantee they are trying to do take out for their guests.
Support your favorite wineries. So many are giving discounts and shipping deals as their tasting rooms have closed for the time being. Many of these smaller mom and pop owned wineries sell the majority of their wine through their tasting rooms. Now is the time to help them out.
And, love each other. Be kind to each other.
Hopefully, we will all come out on the other side a little stronger, healthy, still in love with our spouses and our kids, and all very thankful.