America right now feels a lot like Cuba did on a trip I took there last year: People are standing in long lines waiting to get into stores where they are rationing meat and I have to figure out how to use bathrooms with no toilet paper. But thank God for my bottle of precious hand sanitizer (until it’s all gone). I do miss having musicians playing in the streets everywhere, but so far I’ve managed to avoid rallies full of the bandoliered gunmen who believe everything El Presidente says in his daily three hour tirade.
Perhaps we will need to adapt to the new normal. I understand that some concert promoters are trying to figure out how to do drive-in concerts. Instead of everybody parking and coming into the arena for the show they’ll set up the stage in the parking lot and fans can stay in their cars and roll down the windows to hear the music. They’ll still have to figure out the problem of bathrooms, though. Maybe they could do what we used to do on long road trips with Dad, who refused to stop for bathroom breaks (unless he was the one who needed to go). We just had to learn to pee in a bottle. Or maybe someone can figure out a way to have drive-in portapotties. This could be the opportunity for the new start up “Chamber Pots ’R Us” to help out.
The same model could be used for religious services. In fact I think there are some drive-in Churches operating in the South that pre-date the pandemic. Instead of passing the plate for your offering they could set up a kind of toll booth basket to throw your money into when you leave the parking lot. Catholics could have a drive-thru confessional and maybe hand out little bags of communion wafers at the same time.
This was the season when all the high school seniors graduated and had their proms. Of course most in-person ceremonies and dances were cancelled. I guess some schools still tried to have the “walk” across the stage where the graduates were handed their diplomas in front of an empty auditorium, but live-streamed so all their loved ones could see their proud moment. “Wait, is that Justin? No, Justin is the one wearing the Lone Ranger mask; the one wearing the Darth Vader mask is Trent.”
This is also a time when seniors find out if they’ve been accepted to the colleges they’ve applied to. “Oh my God, Mom! I got into Harvard! That means I get to spend next year on Zoom in my bedroom taking classes from Harvard! Won’t Trent be jealous? He’ll be stuck in his bedroom going to Ohio State.”
Schools will need to come up with new ways to make students feel as though they are getting a full college experience. I think they should assign everyone the roommate that they would have had if they were actually on campus and force them to “live” with each other by having their live-feed constantly on when they are both in their bedroom at the same time. This will be especially realistic and transformative when you are forced to try to sleep while your roommate is having a phone sex party with his girlfriend, or invites a bunch of his other buddies to do online gaming all night long. Also maybe the schools can send each student regular packages of cafeteria meals to make them feel uncared for.
Carnival Cruise lines has announced that they are going to resume sailing in August. To entice leery travelers to risk their lives for the Float-and-Bloat buffets, shuffleboard, and Frank Sinatra look-alike entertainers, some of the cruise packages may start at only $28 a day. Here’s an idea on how taxpayers could save a boatload of money: Why not send the homeless on a Caribbean vacation? It currently costs governments over $100 a day each to house and feed these poor folks, and with over 36 million newly unemployed and soon to run out of money to pay their rent, the situation is only going to get worse.
Perhaps some good can come out of this crisis. The Republican National Convention this summer is likely to resemble a Jim Jones Revival meeting. Trump is sure to want his unmasked cult-followers there, packed together and chanting “Lock Her Up!” Meanwhile, the Democratic mayor of Charlotte and the governor of North Carolina are likely to be terrified by the prospect of 50,000 rabid followers spreading their disease to everyone else in town. Why not put the whole shebang out in a flotilla of those empty cruise ships? They can go out into international waters, where gambling, prostitution, and tax avoidance schemes are all perfectly unregulated. And the bonus is that once the convention is over and there are the sure-to-be cases of COvid-19 on board, no state or country in the world will let any of these ships dock. The conventioneers can just stay out at sea forever, carousing, making deals, and stabbing each other in the back.