Things I Love and Hate About Coronavirus in New Haven

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Love and Hate

Oh, hey.

Yes, I know. It’s been awhile. I’ve been slacking. We’ve all been slacking. I hope.

Three months ago I was all, “This will be an unparalleled moment of creativity and output for me!”

Now I realize most of my output is in World of Warcraft. And that’s okay. As my therapist says, self-acceptance is important. Not every day is gonna be a good day. But if you can forgive yourselves the bad days, well, then, you’re onto something.

So this is the new normal. How do you write about a city when half of the places are closed? When you can’t really try out new bars in any appreciable way? When hugging is the forbidden fruit?

Corona virus has changed life in New Haven. Maybe forever. Some of it good. Quite a lot of it bad. And I’m gonna talk about it. Cause that’s what I do. Eventually.

Love: CT Wearing Masks, Lowering Transmission of Virus

Connecticut remains one of the very best states in the US at managing the transmission of COVID-19. our RT (transmission rate) remains below 1, meaning for each person who gets infected, they infect <1 person. So the overall rate declines.

RT.live CT as of 7/16
Captured from rt.live

Most places I go, people are wearing masks. Sure, you see a few selfish idiots out there who don’t seem to care, but for the most part, Connecticutians (ugh) have been considerate and smart. I appreciate you.

Hate: COVID Conspiracy Theorists

“They only want you to wear a mask as a sign of submission.”

I cannot put into words how enraged this kind of attitude makes me. Most of us are being considerate adults and you think there’s some kind of global conspiracy to make you look silly in a mask.

The number of Facebook arguments I got into about this nonsense got so ridiculous I ended up leaving Facebook. (Also cause Facebook is evil. But I’ll be back. I am sure.)

Love: People Enjoying Nature

I live in Edgewood and I often run or bike in Edgewood Park and it’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying parks and hikes in the Greater New Haven area.

Whether it’s a beach day, or a hike or just having a picnic in the park, people are really taking advantage of Connecticut’s outdoor beauty, and I am proud that we’ve found a way to enjoy ourselves and gather in safe-ish ways.

West Rock from base

Granted, if you want to go to a popular beach like Hammonassett, you better get there before noon, but for those of us who enjoy riding our bikes to Lighthouse Point Park, there’s never a bad time for a quick dip.

Hate: Fireworks, Dirtbikes, etc.

Time to go all old man on you.

Old man shakes fist at cloud
Pictured: Me, almost 40 years old

I don’t really give a shit about the dirt bikes in terms of safety, etc. If you wanna risk your teenage brain to impress me doing wheelies, great. Definitely worth it.

But do they have to be so gosh darn loud??? Some of us are trying to play Last of Us 2 (available now for PlayStation 4!) and I can’t hear the dialog when you’re riding by.

The fireworks were also a nightmare, but I’ll say that they have slowed down post-July 4th. So maybe it’s not a secret cops-driven psyops operation?

Either way, could we all try playing a game called who can sit quietly the longest.

Love: Staying Inside Playing Video Games

Listen, corona virus isn’t all bad. There’s a lot of Josh Time. And that means Josh gets to play as many video games as he wants. And it turns out the amount I want is quite a lot.

I told my therapist that during a normal time, I would consider my current World of Warcraft playing to be problematic. But since these are not normal times, I am being non-judgmental towards myself and my ability to squander my limited time on this Earth.

Plus you gotta see how cool this sword looks.

World of Warcraft Screenshot
Worth it.

Hate: Places Going out of Business

Two casualties so far of the corona virus pandemic are Beer Collective and Duc’s Place, both of which are downtown Court and Orange Street.

Beer Collective was a popular beer bar which didn’t cater exclusively to IPA’s, and also had a mean veggie burger (I mean it was good, not that it bullied me emotionally). Though they did make fun of me once for trying to order a non-alcoholic beer and I definitely never let that go.

Beer Collective
Photo courtesy New Haven Independent

The owners were great dudes and I am very sorry to see them close.

Duc’s Place was a Vietnamese Bahn Mi shop run by my buddy Duc (pronounced Duke). They catered to the lunchtime office crowd, which, you know… not workin particularly well.

Restaurants and bars operate at razor-thin margins. Being forced to go into debt with the PPP is not gonna work for everyone. We’ll miss them and wish them all luck with future endeavors.

There is nothing worse than dropping everything to pursue a dream, only to see it fall apart. But the good news, is dream chasing is a pretty good quality. I am sure they’ll all land on their feet, like adorable cats.

Love: (Mostly) Peaceful BLM Protests

Following the death of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and Stephon Clark, and … ), New Haven, being an incredibly diverse city, came out and protested in huge numbers (for Connecticut).

It was great to see so many faces from so many different backgrounds come together and march or something important. And to do it in a mostly peaceful way.

BLM New Haven Protest
Photo courtesy the New Haven Independent

Sure, a few rabble rousers thought it was a good idea to “lawfully” enter the police station to “talk” and that ended predictably with people getting pepper sprayed, but still, overall, not bad at all.

Will it lead to long term change? We can only hope and keep pushing.

Hate: New Haven Not Taking Advantage of Downtime

While other cities have closed streets permanently to traffic or added bike lanes, New Haven seems content to simply… stand still. This would be a perfect opportunity to close College Street to motor vehicle traffic, but nah. We gotta let cars be cars, you know?

It apparently doesn’t matter how many drivers kill pedestrians. This is Connecticut and the first rule if Connecticut is that you have to do whatever people in the suburbs want.

Love: Everyone Rides Bikes Now

Both Devil’s Gear and Bradley Street Bicycle Co-Op have been absolutely swamped or months now. I went to Target a month ago and they didn’t have a single bicycle in stock.

People are outside, riding bikes, enjoying the weather. Enjoying the ability to get around on a bike.

Bike 2 Work

It makes me so happy to see people taking advantage of this opportunity. And with any luck, maybe after even more people are riding bikes in New Haven, I will finally, finally get my Edgewood Bike Lane, right Doug? Right Doug?!

Hate: Rise in Gun Violence

While many commenters on the New Haven Independent attribute a rise in gun violence to anti-police sentiment, that is pretty absurd.

The truth is there are strong correlations between economic despair and gun violence. And also a total lack of things for people to do. It’s a perfectly deadly combination.

I am sure the anti-police sentiment is probably not helping. After all, if you hear gunshots in your neighborhood, are you more or less inclined to call the police than you were six months ago? More or less likely to cooperate?

Chief Reyes
Photo courtesy the New Haven Independent

But ultimately, the sources of gun violence stretch back from way before the shots are fired.

It is disappointing to see New Haven struggle with violence and homicide again. But it is my hope that it is a temporary downturn, rather than a permanent trend.

Love: You’re Doing Great.

How’s your day going? Good? Bad? Are you frustrated? Confused? Anxious? Scared? Content?

It’s okay. You are living in unprecedented times. Nobody has a blueprint for you. Nobody can tell you how to cope.

Maybe you’re drinking too much or smoking too much or eating too many Doritos. That’s okay. You’re just a person. You’re gonna fuck up.

But you’re gonna keep trying. You’re gonna get through the bad days, and good days will come again, and you’ll be able to reach out and connect with someone and not worry about a face mask and reach out and hug them.

Just, y’know. Not me, please.

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