Happy Hour during Coronavirus, Los Angeles social distancing

Happy Hour comes early after three weeks of sheltering in place at home

By David DeVoss

Los Angeles isn’t such a bad place to be when it comes to social distancing. April’s warm sunshine has replaced the rainy weeks of March. Grocery stores are open and relatively well stocked. There’s no sense of panic despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Rarely do you hear the wail of an ambulance.

We’re supposed to stay at home so that’s what we do. People with kids home school them. Others, like me, read, deep clean the house, take long walks, and wonder aloud why we didn’t invest in Zoom a year ago.

To kill time I take virtual tours of the Getty and Huntington Museums. Go ahead and ask me a question about the legacy of ancient Palmyra or the restoration of Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy. Sometimes I sign up for webinars on topics for which I’m largely ambivalent. Last week I got so lonely that I signed up for a virtual cocktail party with celebrity hairstylist Chloe Francke, a self-styled “artist with a blow dryer,” who in this time of viral uncertainty advises the “Pretty Bitches” (her term not mine) of Beverly Hills to “keep calm and don’t box dye your hair.”

I’m supposed to go to Charleston, SC in two weeks to commemorate the city’s 350th anniversary in a story that notes its founding fathers were not London aristocrats but dissolute sugar planters from Barbados. Now I’m not sure there will even be a celebration.

After days of wandering about the Internet in search of jokes, trivia and trending memes, my efforts at wasting time finally are recognized

While waiting for formal cancellation I return to my established time wasters, Word Genius and Travel Trivia, both of which arrive unbidden in my morning email. Today’s question is how many states have names that start and end with the same letter. Well, that’s easy: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Ohio. My diligence for doing nothing immediately is rewarded when I receive the new rank of Wanderer.

Yes, I have cable and Amazon Prime. Hulu, too. But I’m ve-r-r-ry bored. It’s time for Dodger Baseball! But the stadium is closed along with all the bars and restaurants. Even Mexican restaurants. Personally, I think Mexican food is basic to modern American life, but in California alcohol and cannabis are deemed essential.

Fortunately, I have a marijuana pharmacy, the Higher Path, within walking distance of my house. It’s still open but because of social distancing I no longer have discussions with the budtenders over the efficacy of CBD, a non-buzzy cannabis derivative that’s said to have a calming effect on people experiencing pain.

According to Ed Donnelly, CEO of Amour CBD in Chicago, CBD has 30 times the anti-inflammatory power of Ibuprofen and reduces anxiety of people forced to shelter at home with loved ones. “We’ve experienced a 25% increase in sales over the past 10 days,” he says, adding that his product is registered with the FDA.

I’m sure Amour CBD is great, but Hey! What’s this? An ad in the mail from Sipsy, an LA startup that promises “No fee alcohol delivery in 30 minutes.” A bottle of Tito’s certainly will mellow the mood, especially when it comes with a 10% off coupon.

Testing for Coronavirus, Los Angeles social distancing

Paramedics take Los Angeles resident to the hospital to test for Coronavirus. Photo by David DeVoss

Parameters shrink when you’re forced to stay at home and the main diversion is watching families carefully keeping their distance walk up and down the street. But this week the reality of contemporary American life intruded when two hook & ladder trucks followed by a Paramedic Wagon pulled up to the house across the street. As the firemen pulled on their hazmat suits it seemed like a scene from Italy or Korea. But when they carried a neighbor out on a gurney the reality of the coronavirus pandemic finally hit home.