Of course, we have no timeline yet. But…we are actively dreaming about reopening. Actually, we have been dreaming about it since the day we closed on March 16. Which will be two months ago tomorrow. And that is really, really hard to believe…
I desperately want to be back open again. But I only want to do this once – not reopen only to have to close again at some point. Also, I want to make sure that the people in my community, and our broader society, are safe. And, from here on out, I think that our society includes the world. All of it. Not just Pilesgrove Township or Salem County or the Mid-Atlantic or the good ol’ U.S. of A.
And when will it be safe for us to start reopening? I hope tomorrow! (No, actually, the Enoteca is a literal mess right now…so let’s hope for next weekend!) However, I have degrees in both literature and law and an ongoing perpetual apprenticeship in the fields of entrepreneurship and winemaking. All of that qualifies me not at all as a scientist or a virus specialist or a public health specialist. And there is literally a world full of really smart ones trying to figure this out. I have enough humility that I’ll leave it to them. And hope for the best…
And, of course, I do understand that there is risk in all of this. The days after we closed, I spent a good deal of time calculating a countdown to bankruptcy, that is, how long we could stay closed before we got to actual zero. Not just the company going out of business but of Jules and me actually running out of money. This was made a little more complicated by the fact that even though the Enoteca was closed, we still had a winery in full operation and a vineyard on the verge of waking up for the season.
But, clearly, I am not alone in doing this kind of grim math. I expect people all over the world have been doing some version of that same calculation. What surprised me, however, was how matter of fact it felt. I wasn’t particularly sad or scared. It just felt real. Really, really real.
I suppose, in part, I took a little comfort in knowing I’d been to zero before. When I graduated law school, literally every material possession I owned fit in the back of my white Dodge Aries K car. (My friends all referred to it as “the Special K.” I paid $200 for it and it was worth far less than that – no heat, no AC, rattled when taken over 45 mph and the back end was held together with an eclectic collection of bumper stickers .)
I figured if Jules and I ultimately ran out of time and ran out of money, there was always a path back to the days of the Special K. We could sell the farm which would (hopefully) pay off the company’s debts – getting us back to zero. And, on the plus side, rather than the death machine that was the Special K, I now have a reasonably spry hyper green Jeep – and it’s fully paid for! Since I would have Jules in the front seat with me this time (thank the stars!), I would only have half the back seat for my worldly possessions so she could have the other half.
I actually did make a list of what I would put in my half of the back seat. To my surprise, it was not very long:
- I wear the same crap all the time anyway so that would not change much. A few pairs of jeans, my genuine Cowtown Outfitters cowboy boots (so comfortable!), a few t-shirts, my blue scarf, my beat-up black wayfarers, my black Auburn Road baseball cap (the one faded by the sun I wore working in the vineyard – allowing myself a little nostalgia), my thin grey pullover and my grey zip-up sweater and my brown leather jacket. Oh yeah, and maybe an extra pair of socks and underwear.
- My guitar. I am not particularly good and I have not been particularly diligent – ever – about trying to get better. But I have been strumming something since I was 16 and it is a whole lot cheaper than a therapist. And since we will have just gone to zero, I might need some cheap therapy…
- A few books that have been with me for a long time. I will not be so pretentious as to name them – everyone has different things that speak to them – but they have always been sources of insight and solace. And they are small so they will not take up much space. And, no, none of them is the Bible…
- My yoga mat. Wow, I am a hippie. (In my half-hearted defense, though, I could sleep on it to if need be).
- My bicycle. For a little cardio at the end of the world. And only if we could put it on a bike rack on the back of the Jeep.
- My laptop and my iPhone. The laptop so I can communicate with the outside world from anyplace with a little wi-fi. And my iPhone because, despite my best efforts to resist, I am its bitch and it ordered me to.
- And there would be no room in the car for any animals.
And that’s it.
But here we are, two months in, and we are still here. So far. Dreaming about reopening. There are a lot of people to thank for that (and, trust me, I will do exactly that on this same channel someday soon)! Right now, the gang is working hard so that we are ready to open when the time comes, in whatever form that takes. And when that time does come – and we enter that space between here and “normal” – it’s gonna be weird. Really, really weird. But I can hardly wait. I don’t care how weird it is.
Hopefully, we will see everyone soon. But in the meanwhile…
Be safe and be well.
*Authors note: Before I published this, I gave it to Jules to edit as I always do and she decided to add her list of what would go in her side of the back seat…
- A box or two of photos of the kids. (I told her she could just scan them to the cloud. She asked if there would be time and I responded that this is bankruptcy, not nuclear war.)
- Her Italian espresso percolator (and her Amazon account so that Lavazza coffee could be delivered to her at whatever address we wound up at.)
- Her battery operated milk frother.
- One dog and one cat and all of their stuff. (*Sigh*)
- And her bidet. (No idea how we would get that in the car…)