The Virus Diary

 The Virus Diary

Or how one Dayton Magazine writer survived the pandemic … so far

First, what on earth happened to April and May? Was I conscious? It’s still a bit difficult to figure out what day it is. But things seem to be getting back to normal—whatever that is.

Our country just stopped. I don’t have to tell you businesses shuttered—schools, too—and gas prices dropped to their lowest in decades.

Like many of you, I’m a gig worker, a one-man band. No employees other than myself. Well, an occasional daughter assisting with some photography, but that’s it.

My business is in marketing and promotion. Trouble is, nothing was open to promote.

Now what do I do?

In the early part of March, I started being proactive.

I called the mortgage company and told them I just sent in March’s payment, but I wasn’t sure what to do about April and quite possibly May.

They said, “No problem, we have a low interest loan you can take out to cover.”

Wait, you want me to apply for a loan to pay a loan?

Help me here, does that make any sense?

Basically, I told them that if my hunch is correct, the next few months payments will be a tad bit late. Either go with that, or where do you want the house keys dropped off?

Then it’s onto auto and house insurance. They were awesome. Just took the monthly payment and spread it out over the coming year.

Whew, dodged that one.

Next, life insurance. Again, they were so helpful. Offered to take loans out on our daughter’s policies to make payments over the next few months.

Score!

That should take care of all the big stuff. Thankfully my 2009 van is paid off even though it’s needing repairs. That must wait.

I publicly need to thank a good friend and former colleague who dropped off cash at my home and took up a collection. Things were not dire yet but I will be forever grateful. You know who you are.

There are tons of stories like mine. There is hope for our world.

I about started drinking again when it was announced that the unemployment website was not set up to handle gig workers and that a new built-from-scratch system would be up and running not in weeks but rather months.

I’m torn. My dad always said to work, no handouts, but I was caught between a rock and a COVID place.

It eventually worked out and just in the nick of time, too.

Present day, I’m listening to the experts—wearing a mask not for me, but to protect others.

As restaurants began to open, I found it sort of funny that statements were sent out proclaiming, “Our establishment is safe. We are wiping down tables and all employees are washing their hands.”

My question is, what were they doing beforehand?

It’s also a bit weird being an outgoing person (imagine that?) who, while visiting the grocery store, people are now avoiding like the plague. (Bad word choice?)

One time I was pointed at with some snickers. I felt very strange, shamed and embarrassed, until I got to my car and noticed my fly was down. I now am my father.

Recently, at one of our family’s favorite eateries, George’s Family Restaurant on North Dixie Drive (try the awesome breakfasts), I noticed that they are COVID-19 covered and at quite an additional expense, with plexiglass partitions between each booth and reduced seating. Biz was pretty good and carry-out even better.

One has to wonder how the gang at George’s, like many other restaurants that operate on a thin profit margin already, will make a go of it. Good food and great folks. If you haven’t been, check them out. Support local!

My buddy Steve Tieber, co-owner of the Dublin Pub in the Oregon District, was a few weeks away from his annual St. Patrick’s Day bash, which of course was promptly canceled when quarantine began. Have you ever seen a grown man cry? No not him—me. I love emceeing the day there. One of the highlights of the year.

Steve stayed open for carry-out but was overwhelmed. He closed the doors but as I’m writing this he’s up and running. Not with the same seating arrangements of course, but still awesome food—oh, and a shot of Jameson is always good.

So, I guess St. Patrick’s Day is moved to August, Halloween to December and Christmas is cancelled. Just kidding there.

I don’t have all the answers, maybe none at all, but these are the cards we’re dealt.

I’m playing my hand cautiously and carefully.

In the meantime, wishing you all the best. We will persevere. We have in the past and it will continue in the future.

At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Now, someone pass the hand sanitizer.

Cheers and be well!

Buch