Carnes: The good, the bad, and the coronapocolypse
When I began this column, Eagle County had the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Colorado.
Just when I was ready to shout, “We’re No. 1, we’re No. 1!” stupid Aspen had to once again try to one-up us here in Vail, and sure enough the little over-the-toppers succeeded. But on the plus side, the numbers are changing faster than events are being canceled and businesses are shutting down, so perhaps we’ll never know who’s actually in first.
But of course, COVID-19 infection rates are not a competition, yet everything else in this day and time seems to be, especially shopping.
I went the other day, and the aisles didn’t seem crowded at all, no more than normal on a Friday afternoon, but one thing stood out from the moment I walked in the front door.
No one was smiling.
And it’s not that every face was stuck in a frown, but none looked happy or the least bit cheerful, which normally most would.
They all, myself included I suppose, looked serious instead; seriously intent upon purchasing whatever they thought best fit their personal needs at that very moment.
Besides the obvious, but still weird, empty shelves of toilet paper, the only items I noticed lacking in volume were rice and pasta, and I went up and down every single aisle for that exact purpose.
The next day, everything changed yet again as Rob Katz announced the closing of all Vail Resorts mountains, and a few hours later, Gov. Jared Polis made it mandatory.
Who knows and who really cares at this point, as closed is closed. So in spite of the handful of remaining deniers on the Vail Daily website, the reality of our situation is this: the virus will hopefully play itself out in relatively short order, but the economic ramifications are just getting started.
And that’s where most of our concerns should be concentrated.
Around Happy Valley, we need to be proactive in helping small business owners and the thousands of hourly workers living paycheck to paycheck.
From dishwashers and hotel housekeepers to line cooks and bartenders to health club workers and retailers, all are going to suffer greatly over the next few weeks and probably even longer once the virus fears subside.
While most will adapt to quickly changing conditions and situations, know that some will respond with anger out of frustration over the entire mess, so just one more thing we’ll have to deal with.
And for those spouting on social media, “Why, if I were in government, I would …” just remember those sentiments next November, when you’re more than welcome to try and unseat those currently in charge so you can show us all how skillful you would be under such circumstances.
The Fed just threw jello on the economic wall to once again prove the pointlessness of the trickle-down theory, while most of us will be dealing with mortgage and rent payments, utility bills, school loans, car payments, food and medicine along with plenty of other expenses.
My wife says I’ve been social distancing for the last 20 years, but for completely different reasons, and thanks to social media memes, everyone is suddenly an expert epidemiologist.
Either way, we should all start planning now for how each of us is going to handle the economic fallout, as that’s when the hard part will really begin.
And smiling every once in a while never hurts.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.