Posted on Facebook in mid-March, as the virus began to ramp up but communities reactions were varied.
Hide & Seek
It’s impossible to say what the outcome will be, from a health perspective: how many will be infected, how many will die. But it’s already clear that, from a social and economic perspective the virus is wreaking havoc.
Imagine how the folks from the Plymouth 400 feel. Nearly a decade of planning and then, this.
Imagine the potential effect on restaurants and bars, businesses that have played a key role in the resurgence of downtown Plymouth over the last decade.
We run an Airbnb, three suites in our downtown waterfront home. In less than a week we have had close to $2,000 in cancellations.
And yet I feel, if not exactly optimistic, confident.
I know we have what it takes to do more than survive: to move forward, even as we are ‘hunkering down.’
No one can do it alone, of course. Government needs to support us. Neighbors need to have our backs. Community members need to fight through the isolation and see that they can win at a game of hide and seek: hide from the virus but seek out ways to support their community.
Hitch, an honorary member of Plymouth’s imaginary musical hall of fame, inspired me here.
I recently read a post of his noting, first, how he had lost work (no restaurants or bars, no musical entertainment) and secondly, how he had yet to hear of one friend (personal, Facebook, Instagram or other) that had died from the virus.
He was honestly expressing his confusion, and frustration, and my first response was to rationalize the decisions that have been made closing down venues and prohibiting gatherings. But later I thought, the time has passed for arguing (or even discussing) the science or the statistics.
This the time to do whatever we can to mitigate the effects on our daily lives.
Easier said than done of course, but I believe we have the imagination, will and commitment to work our way out of this fix we are in.
The Chamber of Commerce should – might already be – working to devise ways to support those restaurants that have to close their doors tomorrow. What can they do? I’m not an expert, but perhaps delivery trucks might be mobilized to allow a greater number of establishments to carry on with take-out service. Perhaps two or three restaurants could be highlighted every night?
Musicians like Hitch? They have no place to play but, perhaps, they could play… everywhere.
I’d love to see Hitch and his guitar on my doorstep, serenading me with a few songs, then moving to the next house and the next. I’d gladly add to his tip jar. Maybe PACTV could have live broadcasts of musicians for an hour or so every night – donations appreciated.
I offer “insider Tours” of the downtown and, though walking tours are not particularly popular during the colder months, the few I had for this month have already cancelled. Okay, so how about free tours for any Plymouth residents (small family groups or close friends, 6 or less at a time) just to get out of the house.
Just before the restrictions were put in place our environmental group had scheduled a talk by a local historian on ‘The Rock’ and the abuse it has taken for decades. We had 30 tickets ‘sold” (they were free) and then we had to cancel the gathering. Instead, we rescheduled for April 5 and will put the presentation online.
If you have a book group, why not hold your meeting live on Facebook, or use a conference software like Zoom.
We have to stay connected. We have to fight against the isolation.
Here’s another self-serving idea. I am responsible for CommuniTREE, the decoration of the town’s Christmas Tree with oversized ornaments representing the hundreds of community non-profits that are especially important at this historic moment. If you have a favorite local non-profit consider sponsoring (or making) an ornament that represents that organization.
Take a walk in the woods. As we near spring I am sure that there are dozens of volunteers from the dozens of environmental non-profits in town that would gladly lead small groups through Myles Standish or down Town Brook or into Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary or…
Hide and seek! Hide from the virus but actively seek out ways to continue to support the individuals, organizations and small businesses that represent the backbone of this community.