American life screeched to a halt with the onslaught of coronavirus. Locally, as opposed to nationally, the government has done a fair job of protecting citizens. I was overcome with pride when Chicago earned an “A” for social distancing. Then the first sunny spring day arrived. The lakefront path filled with joggers and the 606 trail jammed up with exercise nuts. Mayor Lori Lightfoot wasn’t fucking around – she shut ’em both down and banned contact sports in the city. We all got the alert on our phone Thursday.
She stationed police at parks to keep folks from congregating. She’s been solid, as has Governor Pritzker. It’s a security blanket, living in a state and city that comprehend what is occurring. Although denier states will affect us all in some way or form.
Socializing is a basic human need. Zoom and Google Hang fill the gap nicely. My friends Matt and Kellene O’Connell hosted a few Google hangs last week to get the ball rolling. I felt like I’d walked into O’Connell’s Pub. From the comfort of my couch, I drank and bullshitted with buddies from LaGrange, Denver, Los Angeles and beyond. My sister Meg set up a Zoom for the family. It was good to touch base with my niece & nephew and my sisters and brother-in-law. Last night a smaller group of the fellas Zoomed for an hour and shared a few beers, laughs and opinions about “Tiger King” (the Netflix phenomenon) and recently acquired Bears quarterback Nick Foles.
I’ve been ordering delivery frequently. Salmon and fried chicken dinners from Quality Crab and Oyster Bah on Halsted in Lincoln Park. Delicious.
I want to support the struggling restaurant industry. It does add up quickly, however. Especially since I feel excessive 30% tips are in order for those braving the streets to bring me food. I’ll have to strike a balance between the frozen pizzas in my freezer and my delivery orders as the indoor life continues for the foreseeable future.
Right now I’m choosing to be thankful for a few select blessings amidst this crisis: clean water, outside time (however brief) and the fact that pets aren’t transmitters. Can you imagine the awfulness if people starting abandoning animals out of fear? My dog is a treasure during these times. Good company, plus a terrific reason to go on a socially-distanced walk on the side streets and through the alleys. There is an element of comedy when walking. If you see someone else coming on your side of the street, you instinctively make an abrupt, unplanned turn like Pac-Man avoiding Pinky and Blinky. Walking the dog has become one of the highlights of each day. Hank is wiped out from all the excessive exercise.
For entertainment – besides Tiger King – I’ve been enjoying the classic Bulls and Cubs games on NBC Sports Chicago and Marquee, respectively. The Cubs 2016 World Series run is a joy to relive. I was at the Miguel Montero game and never heard Wrigley so loud. Cool to see it from the TV viewer perspective. I might not rewatch Game 7 of the World Series. I kind of want to remember it the way it exists in my brain. The ’96 Bulls are just so insanely good. Speaking of things we take for granted, I can’t believe I got to watch Michael Jordan do those spectacular things for my entire childhood. Lucky me.
Rodman, Kukoc, Longley…what a blast to see them beat up on the Heat and Knicks in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs. Even Oprah and Gene Siskel were wowed:
Scottie Pippen was an unstoppable force. Don’t ever let someone tell you he rode MJ’s coattails. Obviously, he was the sidekick – but what a sidekick. The new season of Ozark is available on Netflix as of today. That should keep everyone happy for awhile. Now, if ESPN would just give in and release the 10-part series on the Jordan Bulls originally set to air in June. Even LeBron went on the record yesterday pleading with the network to fill the sports void with a much-anticipated docu-series. Maybe in April? We’ll see.