It’s been about two months since we first learned that the words “social distancing” applied not only to wallflowers at the junior high dance but to all of us. The onset seemed especially cruel, arriving in conjunction with the spring equinox. For My Beautiful Wife and me, it meant no weekend brunch with Jeff the dog at Garden Table or Patachou, no dinner at Tinker Street or Bluebeard or Chatham Tap, no ginger latte at Provider. No biking to the office or walking to the library or the grocery store. No going to the grocery store at all without a mask, and definitely no popping in for just a thing or two. Spring was busting out all over, and we were stuck at home.
Having just written all that, I’m about ready to gag.
I am lucky—damn lucky—and I know it. I live a privileged life. I can work at home, and I have work to do. It’s comfortable here. My best friend is working just upstairs, using her Zoom voice. We have plenty of coffee. I love to cook. How terrible can it be?
But most of the world—most of our city—is not as fortunate as we are. Most of those people at all those restaurants we’re not enjoying are out of work. The clubs that host Tonic Ball every year are idle, as are the musicians upon whose talents and selflessness we depend to raise money to feed our hungriest neighbors. At this writing, the U.S. unemployment rate is 20 percent. That’s a lot of people staying home and worrying about more than where their next expensive meal is coming from. Not to mention: People who are homeless can’t shelter at home.
Perhaps we’ve arrived at a crossroad. Perhaps it’s time for us to look outside our boxes and work, as a nation, to make some fundamental changes.
But right now, it’s time to give.
Gov. Holcomb has announced his Back on Track Indiana plan to gradually loosen social distancing guidelines and fully reopen the state. But that won’t undo all the damage COVID-19 has already done.
So give, right now. All the traditional sources of good works in the world—the nonprofits and churches and civic organizations helping others—still need your support. The new efforts to help service workers and club owners and artists need your support.
You can order dinner—or brunch—from scores of local restaurants still serving. You can tip your delivery driver 30, 40 percent.
You can ask your neighbors if they’re okay. You can make lasagna and bring it to a friend who’s lost her job.
You can find ways to support our first responders and doctors and hospitals. They’ve been risking their lives caring for people with COVID-19, and the fight is far from over. You might be itching to get this quarantine thing over with, but they’re still receiving new patients with the virus every day—while mobilizing to find ways to safely deal with all the other health issues that didn’t disappear just because the coronavirus came to town.
Look: If you’re weary of video chat and frozen pizza and prestige TV drama and concerned about the state of your investments but are otherwise okay, now is the time to find ways to give. If you truly believe we’re all in this together, maybe this is your chance to use your privilege to do something great in the world. Pick your passion, and give generously.