David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 4th Week Of July
In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA. Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.) Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs. I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis. I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips. Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time. In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help. My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog. I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.
As a kid born and raised in Brooklyn, I’ve never felt “proud” of living in New Jersey. Yes, I was and am happy with my decision to move here and raise a family – as the neighborhood I live in resembles the Brooklyn I grew up in nearly six decades ago – but I’ve never been “proud” to be here. That is of course till now. Our Governor has made the tough decisions throughout this pandemic (along with the Governors of nearby New York and Connecticut) to keep us safe and do what’s right – even when those decisions hurt. See the map below from https://covidactnow.org .
Or, to put that another way, I’ll share this anonymous posting that’s been circulating on social media for the last few days:
I live in a part of the country that was once the epicenter of the coronavirus. To stem the spread, we sheltered in place for three months. We didn’t go anywhere. At all. We wore masks, bandanas, neck gaiters, anything we had on hand to keep each other safe. We sewed homemade masks, held bake sales and fundraisers to buy others, and donated our own supply — because there weren’t enough for our healthcare workers and EMTs, Firefighters and police officers. We wore gardening gloves to the supermarket when we ran out of latex ones.
We crossed the street to avoid each other and kept a six foot distance. We washed our hands constantly, opened door knobs with our elbows and closed car doors with our toes, made homemade hand sanitizer, wiped down everything with Clorox and Lysol and bleach.
We isolated ourselves from each other, even though it cost us companionship and intimacy and socialization and the comfort of touch and hugs and kisses, and quite possibly, our sanity.
We stayed put because you were afraid that we would bring the virus to other states. We were terrified, and acted like we weren’t for the sake of our children.
We stayed at
home even though we were furloughed, lost our jobs, had to close down
businesses, and went bankrupt.
We taught our kids at home while trying to be productive as we worked from home – often in the same room, and at the same table.
Our friends and family, coworkers, neighbors and front-line workers died in staggering numbers. We couldn’t gather together to bury them, or to mourn.
We missed weddings, funerals, births, bar mitzvahs, 50th anniversary parties and babies’ first birthdays, graduations, Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We cancelled the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City for the first time in its 150-year existence. We watched Broadway go dark, Times Square sit empty, Fifth Avenue go silent. We closed down all sporting events, missed spring training and a day at the ballpark with our dads and our kids.
We put up
caution tape around neighborhood playgrounds.
We had to visit our 95 year-old mothers and fathers in nursing homes with a cold, hard pane of tempered glass between us.
We didn’t sleep for days. We cried, raged and bargained into our pillows at 3 a.m. We developed headaches, muscle tension, anxiety and depression.
We made wills, wrote down funeral plans. We couldn’t be with our loved ones when they died alone in hospitals. We asked nurses and doctors to bend down towards their hallowed ears and whisper our children’s names and our pet names for our spouses and our everlasting love and our thankfulness that it had been them and that they had chosen us and our steadfast promises that we would be alright and that they would never be forgotten and that it was ok to let go even though it wasn’t ok at all.
We did this while you said it was just like the flu and that we were overreacting. We did this while you mocked our precautions and said it wasn’t that bad. We did this while you drank shoulder-to-shoulder in bars, swam in crowded pools, ignored data and doctors and science for a beer and a burger. We did this while you disputed our infection numbers and death tolls, as hazmatted men wheeled body after body into refrigerated white trucks discreetly hidden from sight in hospital parking lots. We did this while you protested about your right to get a mani-pedi and a haircut. We did this while you booked cruise vacations en masse, and boarded planes to take advantage of cheap fares. We did this while you criticized our governors for their “overaggressive” approach.
We did this while you sent death threats to Dr. Fauci and others in the medical field, skilled professionals who have literally taken an oath to do no harm, and who have made it their life’s work.
We did this while you coughed and spit on Starbucks and Home Depot workers getting paid by the hour. We did this while you banged on shopping mall doors, screamed at its workers, and demanded that they open for you. Because you need to shop.
And all you had to do was wear a mask.
– NY, NJ, CT
Speaking of New Jersey, I received the following email from one of the Atlantic City casinos I’ve visited in the last year or two:
“Book your midweek Safe-Cation” indeed. I still don’t think that it’s a “Safe-Cation” but it is a damn sight safer than Las Vegas is nowadays. Atlantic City casinos require masks on property at all times, do not serve food or beverages on the casino floor, only allow restaurants with outdoor seating (or room service) and limit patrons to a small percentage of capacity. Maybe “safer-cation” would have been more accurate, but that’s only until out of state visitors from new hotspots begin coming. Not all of Atlantic City is open, as the Borgata – arguably the best destination there – which is off the boardwalk – is remaining closed until the governor believes it is safe for indoor restaurants again. Who knows when that will be? Let me tell you – if I had to attend a convention today I’d be a lot more likely to drive to a close venue than risk flying to a state like Nevada where the casinos (and everything else) opened way too early. If things stay like they are today this might represent an opportunity for AC to have a bit of a resurgence.
Finally, as I promised last week, here are more videos of past things I wished I could do this summer. This one is Billy Joel from Madison Square Garden this past February – one month before all performances in NY (and everywhere else) would be shut down. Mr. Joel is New York’s resident act – and puts on an awesome show (which I hope will come back when things reopen.)
As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.) Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive. We’re going to be in this for a long while.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.