“Memorial Day is Monday,” I remarked to my husband the other day. “Should we do something?”
Ordinarily, this question is a no-brainer, as I hate to let three-day weekends go to waste.
But it’s tougher to answer now, in the time of social distancing, COVID-19 and the gradual reopening of the local economy that kicked off in the Capital Region this week.
Non-essential construction is starting back up, which means my husband is back at work. But restaurants remain closed, so no dining out to celebrate, though picking up food or having it delivered is still an option.
Walking and hiking are OK, but campgrounds are closed. Retail outlets are allowed to re-open, and I could use some new clothes. But phase one doesn’t permit browsing at stores — only delivery, curbside and in-store, pick-up are permitted.
The truth is, most of what I would consider the fun stuff isn’t allowed in Phase 1.
We won’t see restaurants open for patrons until Phase 3, while arts, entertainment and recreation — three of my favorite things — are part of Phase 4.
As it happens, I’m still not comfortable going to a movie theater or crowded concert venue, or a packed museum or gallery show. But it’s not like I could run out this weekend and do any of those things, even if I wanted to, because they’re not allowed.
I suspect many of us are mourning the loss of favorite pastimes, hobbies and warm-weather traditions, while the restrictions placed on businesses and venues that are reopening only serve to remind us of the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
It’s certainly easy to be depressed about this state of affairs, and dwell on what we’re missing.
Earlier this week, I asked a thoroughbred racing fan how he felt about horse racing without fans, since that’s the only kind of racing allowed at Saratoga Race Course this summer. He said he was sad, because he likes to go to the track and take pictures whenever he can, and shared some of his photographs of horses and jockeys.
The track is not my thing, but looking at the man’s beautiful photos helped me understand how racing fans might feel about racing without fans. It might be better than the alternative, but it’s not a carefree day at the track. It’s a stopgap measure, aimed at tiding racing fans over until it’s deemed safe to bring them together again.
Lately, I’ve found myself saddened by the ongoing cancellation of summer concerts — everything from the Bob Dylan show at Saratoga Performing Arts Center to SPAC’s 2020 classical season. I’m wondering when I’ll be able to go to a museum again, or take my son to the library.
Rather than focus on what we can’t do, I’d rather embrace what we can do.
Already, I’ve found myself studying drive-in movie schedules and wondering whether my 2-year-old son would behave if we brought him to see a movie. I’ve dusted off my running shoes and started jogging at the park. I’ve purchased a table for the backyard so that we can entertain the occasional friend outside.
These are simple pleasures, to be sure.
But with 20,000-plus New Yorkers dead from COVID-19, I’m not looking for too much more.
Reach Sara Foss at [email protected] Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.