Are you ready to get back out there? Economists are calling the opening-up boom “revenge shopping” as well as “revenge travel.” People are vaxed, demasked (outside anyway), and raring to get the hell out.
Stiletto and luxury handbag shopping is huge. Dresses are outselling skinny jeans. And while elastic waistbands are on the rise, we also have “waist trainer” shapewear (made famous by the Kardashians) from Columbia and Brazil cinching women’s torsos into an hourglass making a huge mark. Go figure! If you can still breathe.
The urge to “Get Out” and “Go Do” is on. One friend has tickets to go to Dubai and the Maldives in July. Another is off to London in June, not to mention an African Safari by November.
Some feel they are way past FOMO (fear of missing out). We are now optimistically YOLO (you only live once). Also throw in Carpe Diem and you have a “Back to the Future” lifestyle about to explode. Watch for “June is busting out all over” replacing the Biden promised “July 4th cook-out-free-for-all.” Supposedly we are almost there!
On July 1s, New York City opens, and one wonders how it will look exactly. After all, Broadway and theatre performances are down but will go outdoors in the parks. Outdoor dining has already become the new theatre and entertainment. One pal sobbed when he first dined out, going down on one knee to the waiter in gratitude for serving him as he has become sick of serving himself in his one-room apartment desk.
There will always be New York City tourist attractions like the Empire State Building, the Circle Line, and trips to Coney Island. But what about hotels? Many have closed. Airbnb’s seem to be the most popular with guests having total control. Less “service,” but also no public spaces like lobbies, elevators and hallways to deal with.
There are already bustling pockets of New York City like the Upper West Side and East Side, Brooklyn, and SoHo. But Midtown is still an empty bowling alley with office buildings ghosted. And let’s not forget crime is on the rise. It’s a lopsided situation. But hey, “I ❤ NY” 2021 has to start somewhere (where is art director Milton Glaser when you need him since he originated the 1977 beloved campaign).
New York City is all about human connection and conversation – more so than even theatre and food. So, let’s all head to the cities to be with people again. We’re Covidly “single and ready to mingle” (isn’t that what Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked of last year about his newfound bachelorhood — and look where it got him?).
All this break-out sounds hectic and promising.
But wait a minute …
Aren’t we still not quite out of the woods? Our nation is split on all this. Nobody seems to know for sure as the data keeps shifting. If we have the vaccine, can we give it to a non-vaxer? Can they give us a new variant? Should we throw caution and masks to the wind and live out our own lives? Never mind vax passports, what about daily vax etiquette? Is it polite to ask your dinner table mates who has had the vax? Will the “not haves” lie? And what about dating? Is that now a prerequisite? There is a movement for “Must Get Jabs at Jobs.” But can an employer get sued for insisting on a vax with employees? Will restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and escort services have to post their vaccine certificate at the door? You see where this is going? We are still up for grabs.
Personally, I am sick of double masking (I don’t) and “smiling with my eyes.” And though we’ve been “told” that once vaccinated you could get Covid (but not die on a ventilator in a hospital), who wants to get Covid?!
Many of my friends have broken the spell and are out flying around the country. They tell me airports are packed. TSA lines are long because employees haven’t returned from their lay-off’s — if they ever will. Planes are still sitting at gates with diminished air conditioning systems pre-takeoff (airlines have to stop talking up how safe their inflight circulation is as planes are still petri dishes — small spaces that don’t get sanitized as much as they originally promised). The idea of sitting shoulder to shoulder (middle seats are back) with “the public” is still an uncomfortable predicament for many. Face it, traveling is tricky for at least another year.
Comebacks started with many of us seeing our doctors, dentists, and Botox injectors in safety. Now we can go into a Pilates studio with eight masked people (gyms are open), and sanitized nail and hair salons are happening. Plastic shields are disappearing. Stores stopped taking temperatures at the door and limits on the number of people allowed are gone.
Will we really see a giant return to offices? Will kids finally get back to in class sessions? Will Palm Beach head back to NYC for the summer or just head out to Connecticut and The Hamptons to maintain their pricey established bubbles?
I am not sure I see the actual light at the end of this tunnel yet — maybe a flicker. Yes, we are better off than a year ago. And yet …
As Robin Williams said, “Spring is nature saying LET’S PARTY!” Sure! That’s what spring break is all about and we seemed to have gotten through that without a surge. But “coming out” has to be done responsibly. You can’t just sing “Happy Days are Here Again” and throw your mask to the winds. Not yet, anyway! Otherwise, we might be left with Caitlyn Jenner making her coming out run for California Governor.
And surely, we deserve more than that.