Updated: May 25, 2020
Hopefully a few of you got that reference... Welcome to Quarantine, the while potentially not the very first digital social distancing site to exist (but definitely probably), it was designed to help make our quarantine time and social distancing efforts more bearable. What is social distancing exactly? Social distancing is the non-medical proactive measure to stop the spread of the corona virus, as opposed to a reactive measure using medication to treat an illness that has already been contracted. It is believed that by severely limiting the opportunities for the virus to transfer from an infected person to a non-infected person, the spread will slow down and get under control. Then we can all go back to making or excuses of why we shouldn't go out side every day, like normal. Check out this more in-depth definition from the CDC in the U.S., even if only to enjoy the on-trend flat human vector illustrations that make me a bit uncomfortable. But kudos to the CDC for staying up-to-date!
Perhaps it's the intensity of his disapproving look? Plus I may be the first person in history to actually include the attribution to the site for the free download so I feel good about that. G
WHAT CAN YOU DO DURING A QUARANTINE?
Find a hobby: I'm a huge supporter of picking up where you left off, or starting a new hobby.
Learn a new language: Learning a new language would be fantastic. Let me know if you'd like to hook up with some interpreters for some on-line lessons!
Get online: The LA Times recently posted an article with a amazing list of things to do.
Relax: There's tons of yoga online for free, as well as a bunch of podcasts. I'm pretty picky about my yoga, and even I can find classes I love.
Reconnect: Find an old friend that you've been meaning to catch up with.
Learn to juggle: It always looks impressive.
Learn to cook: I mean, obviously. That's what I do here...
Catch up: Tackle that long list of things you've been meaning to do but keep putting off. It feels great to feel accomplished.
Nothing: Sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need to do.
WELCOME TO QUARANTIME
I was thinking recently that aside from being the same species, this may be the first event that the entire modern world has shared shared since Hands Across the World tried to unite us in 1986 but stopped just at the US coastal borders for some reason and ended up calling it "Hands Across America"* to save face.(It wasn't even all of America, just the USA.)
Oh and I guess without these guys it's impossible for it to be "all" (technically). And them. So there's actually a lot of people living outside of the "Bills and BS" system, as a very wise man once coined on the spot as he was flailing around a blog entry one day recently. I didn't realize there were so many. Well lucky them because they'll come out of this epidemic unscathed and one day will be the ones to repopulate the earth. (Sorry, the meek! Except the meek that are also uncontacted...) See y'all? They were playing the long game all along.
As I returned from running to the restroom just now (I caught myself chewing a pen and went to sterilize my mouth and just realized it's the pen from my Wacom tablet. False alarm.) I realized that I have never heard this many sirens since I lived in the East Village. Are they designed to mimic cries of the injured? That's what I get from it.
Sweet and to the point, the made-up word Quarantime has already been used by a bazillion people around the world.
I imagine the self-satisfaction that came from believing that you were indeed the first to think of it, occurring to each of us just ahead of the wave of forced prisonhome time, the same way it did me, days before having to actually do it and only then realizing that oh sh¡t you have to do it?, while also thinking "I bet I'm the only person who's ever thought of this..." which was just plain dumb on all of our parts. Let's forget the name for now.
The concept of this site is something that I had been thinking about for some time as a way to keep giving cooking classes to alumni who were both enthusiastic and couldn't say enough nice things to me, and so what better time to start than when the entire world is literally your captive audience? I give cooking classes, food tours, private dinners, market tours, and all things food related for a living (again I'm the only one...). The two most difficult things about the current situation are;
1) The deadly-ish virus that has forced everyone indoors, as well as
2) the lack of anyone willing to travel to where I am to go to an open-market and pick out the ingredients that we'll then cook and—as a group of international strangers who've just met and have been traveling all over the world—eat together outdoors, exposed to the elements, again alongside strangers. I feel like those two things in particular are what's really holding me back right now, and perhaps for a while after this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So! As I watched the appointments for the rest of my week/s/month/year(?) disappearing on my calendar, I reached out to those scardypant wussies* and offered to do the same class for them but online so that they didn't have to miss their entire trip, and also so I had something to do because I get bored reeeeeeal easy and end up buying endless domain names based on iterations of an unoriginal word morph that I should have googled before spending 5 no-joke sleepless nights building a website based on it because I felt pressure to get it up and running before this pandemic is over. Good news, kinda!
I made it!
Taking the idea a bit further, I wanted to create a site that gives anyone the chance to share the things that they always swore they would eventually 'leave the day job to do full time" and give 'em a go at it. But it's also for the people that just know how to do cool stuff and need some income while it's not possible to interact with our fellow humankind. It's also for musicians and entertainers, linguists, teachers, jugglers I guess, flea circuses, therapists (especially for couples and families;), burlesque performers, and the rest of that vague, long list of things people do and others enjoy.
That was a very subtle open call for people who do stuff like this. In the meantime, food, wellness, exercise and nutrition will be the focus as we all need to keep our spirits and immunities up until this moving target stops moving. It'll work like this for now:
1. Someone submits their idea for a listing via the Application Page to become a, uh... "QT" for now because it's the first that came to mind. They apply.
2. [some time passes] They are either accepted or I never received their application, I swear. I never received it twice?? technology...
3. They set up their own parameters, dates, times, fees, guest capacity, guidelines etc and it goes up on the Calendar.
4. The rest of the world checks it out and buys a ticket or they "must not have received that email," either.
5. Then they, or, you, let's say, will then receive a digital ticket with instructions on how to join.
6. You join and you love it or you don't say otherwise (or to me in a private message).
7. You tell a few (hundred) other people and we canonize you as Patron Saint of Pandemic Patrons.
It's a fool-proof Social Distancing plan, straight from yours truly, the Director of Social Distancing.
What I'm planning for the future is a sliding-scale type payment systems, where the organizers set a limit after which every ticket is then discounted, but not until that point. It's what's lacking in other platforms similar to this;)
Lastly, I don't want to make a lot of rules unless they're totally necessary. I hope they're not necessary. But here are a few:
1. DON'T BE A "D"
It's easy because it's not doing something, so you have to do less. Keep it kind and respectful in here, but no pearl clutching. Nobody needs a nanny or a tattletale right now, so in the end I'll secretly side with whatever I think is funny, and publicly side with no one or acknowledge whatever it is because adults can figure their own stuff out like adults, or giant children mimicking adults.
2. KEEP IT COKE
That's also and off-the-cuffer that I like except for I can't stand the Coke brand or the brothers or what any of them do or make and I encourage everyone to ditch it immediately, but what I mean is MAINTAIN THE HARMONY. Like the commercial. Everybody knows that one. Threats, racism, phobias etc: zero tolerance.
3. KEEP IT REAL
Please also don't spread bogus information, like vaccines made of Smurf effluvia or whippits from the sun's actual corona. Please do feel free to send that all that hilarious BS to me so I can list it here so future generations can see how dumb they'll look in posterity someday, as well.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE
If something looks interesting, buy a spot and enjoy it. If someone wants to charge you to watch them belly-gaze after an over-microdose, you have a pretty good idea of what you're buying into. If you don't love it, move on with your life. This is a way for people to make a living in a crisis. There are no refunds. Ain't nobody (me) got time for that. If the organizer (I can't even bring myself to use "QT" again. I hate corporate speak. R.I.P. QT") is a no-show or has an emergency, we'll find another session you can jump in on in the future.
5. LEAVE THE LITIGATION ON THE GROCERY FLOOR
I'm not hiring lawyers for this. I've already been locked out of my country while we wait this out, during which my visa will expire so I'm already in trouble. (Know of any hot single dudes looking to marry?) So if need be I'll just go deep into the wild. That would be a waste of your money and of my precious presence amongst the population. But should you have the teeniest tiniest inclination at some point, keep in mind that everything happens on-screen in your own home. Because of this, there's no "food poisoning," unwanted advances or anything physical, for that matteR, thievery even remotely possible. If you're offended by something, turn off the screen. If something truly disturbing happens on the other end with an unwilling participant, call the authorities before you leave a review. If your better judgement still says later that I should know about it, tell me. I also don't support any claims of anything whatsoever put forth by the organizers. That's not to say I don't believe them, that's just to say na na na na boo boo, you can't sue me.
We're still in phase 1 here at the time this was written, so there's time to run out for some bubbly to celebrate some milestones. Spread the word, send in a submission, or join one of the sessions. Check out the Resources page for information and things to keep the 'ol gourd from gettin' bored, and and please send suggestions for my Apocalyptic Playlist on Spotify which I'll share with everyone soon!
Your Social Distancing Director,
*In case just the mention of the decade leaves you wanting more, you're welcome:
** just kidding: