Sunday, April 26, 2020

Immersed in Suburbia (Birthday Drive By Edition)

It still surprises me how quickly behavior catches on. Birthday parties come to a halt because of Coronavirus, but birthday celebrations get reinvented. I'm seeing a lot of caravans through neighborhoods with honking, signs, balloons, and hollering. It's a creative way to say Happy Birthday. I've participated in two of these so far. It's both nice and sad to me. Nice because you want a kid to have some feeling of a happy birthday, and sad because you know the kid would rather have a party and that a regular party with friends and family would be a thousand times more fun. But at least the kid gets to see friends and loved ones drive past their house with a show of love and support.

This birthday drive through phenomenon strikes me as hard to accomplish in a city. It's been years since I've lived in a city, but I imagine it's hard to pull off in a place with a lot of traffic, and without subdivisions. Here in suburbia it's easy to execute where car culture is king and big parking lots rule. You all gather in a parking lot until someone leads the way past the person's house to beep and yell out the window. It's been interesting to observe social interaction during the time that cars gather and wait for the procession to begin. A lot of people stay in their cars, windows up. Others are out in front of their cars chatting with other people. Sometimes it's with 6 feet distance, other times it appears to be fake social distancing where people aren't super close to each other but are clearly less than 6 feet apart. It sort of acknowledges the new norm of social distancing, yet skirts around the edges of it. It's a workaround.

Understandably, people are impatient and aren't enthusiastic about hunkering down. People want to talk and schmooze and laugh and be together. And if you've got a kid with a birthday you might like to get rowdy with your people for 30 minutes. When I'm driving around running errands, it's common now to see these caravans in progress. It's pretty easy to tell who the hosts are and you can see them wearing masks, being somewhat careful. On the other hand you can see people in close proximity to each other. In a way, it reminds me of a cheat day for someone who's dieting. "I've been watching what I eat most of the time, but on Sunday I'm going to have a sundae. That's my cheat day!" But there's a major difference. What you choose to eat can be a private issue, but when you take a day off from social distancing it becomes a public health matter.

People are craving social interaction. It's why a lot of people are practicing selective social distancing. It's hard to be away from each other, and I'm afraid it's not going to get easier. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Music Break: Chicano Batman - Color my life

The groove, the dance moves, the style.

Is the backwards jump onto the car real????

"With the feels I’m on, with the feels I’m on yeah,,,,,,"

Saturday, April 11, 2020

COVID-19 Sociological Readings

Links are in the article titles...

Who Has Enough Cash to Get Through the Coronavirus Crisis? (Alissa Quart and Yaryna Serkez)

How to reduce the racial gap in COVID-19 deaths (Rashawn Ray)

The US has a collective action problem that’s larger than the coronavirus crisis (Patrick Sharkey)

How our cities can reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic (Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo)

What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Black Americans (Uché Blackstock)

Food goes to waste amid coronavirus crisis (Adam Behsudi and Ryan McCrimmon)

Farmers Dump Milk, Break Eggs as Coronavirus Restaurant Closings Destroy Demand (Jesse Newman and Jacob Bunge)

Fast Foods Workers at 50 Restaurants Across California Are Going on Strike (Lauren Kaori Gurley)

Fear, Race and the “Yellow Peril” (Myron Strong)

Celebrity Culture Is Burning (Amanda Hess)

There’s No Such Thing As Unskilled Labor (Sarah Jones)

This Is Not a Recession. It’s an Ice Age. (Annie Lowrey)

We Need Social Solidarity, Not Just Social Distancing (Eric Klinenberg)

‘White-Collar Quarantine’ Over Virus Spotlights Class Divide (Noam Scheiber, Nelson D. Schwartz and Tiffany Hsu)

The Working Class and Service Industry Workers: The Front Lines of the COVID-19 Economy (Colby King)

Together, Alone in the COVID-19 Pandemic (Jonathan Wynn)

Ideology and the Grocery Store (Karen Sternheimer)

For domestic violence victims, stay-at-home orders do not offer safety (Grace Segers)

In the Horror Story, We Always Die First (Jamil Smith)

Official Counts Understate the U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll (Sarah Kliff and Julie Bosman)

When Asian-Americans Have to Prove We Belong (Jia Lynn Yang)

The Pandemic Will Cleave America in Two (Joe Pinsker)

There’s no equality in the Zoom home office (Kyle Chayka)

College Made Them Feel Equal. The Virus Exposed How Unequal Their Lives Are. (Nicholas Casey)

Keep the Parks Open (Zeynep Tufekci)

The Slur I Never Expected to Hear in 2020 (Cathy Park Hong)

The Coronavirus Class Divide: Space and Privacy (Jason DeParle)

How Pandemics Shape Society (interview of Alexandre White)

Poverty, pollution and neglect: How the Bronx became a coronavirus 'formula for disaster' (Evan Simon and Stephanie Ebbs)

‘I lost him because of that horrible place’: Smithfield worker dies from COVID-19 - Makenzie Huber

The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South - Vann R. Newkirk

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief - Scott Berinato

About Half of Lower-Income Americans Report Household Job or Wage Loss Due to COVID-19 - KIM PARKER, JULIANA MENASCE HOROWITZ AND ANNA BROWN

Special Report: A night on the New York subway - Homeless find shelter underground during pandemic (Maurice Tamman)

Inequities in COVID-19 are tragic but preventable (ELAINE HERNANDEZ, COURTNEY BOEN AND RICHARD M. CARPIANO)

‘My World Is Shattering’: Foreign Students Stranded by Coronavirus - Caitlin Dickerson

Parking Lots Have Become a Digital Lifeline - Cecilia Kang