avenue flashes

Places are opening up, but it’s far from normal

Column by John Akal
Posted 7/7/20

It’s been a really strange weekend for me. As everyone knows, things have started to open up around town and people are finally getting out of the house and happy to have a few things returning …

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avenue flashes

Places are opening up, but it’s far from normal

Posted

It’s been a really strange weekend for me. As everyone knows, things have started to open up around town and people are finally getting out of the house and happy to have a few things returning back to normal. I say back to normal but that’s not exactly what’s really going on. Things may be back, but let me tell you, they are far from normal. It’s like a weird twilight zone with a mixture of people trying to do some things in a most unnatural way.

Here’s what I’m talking about. This past weekend was the first time in three months that one of the bands I play with was able to get back to performing again. We play a lot of places that are basically considered a bar and grill that serve food, so they have been trying to get things rolling for a few weeks. Now they have brought back their live music. So, we were at these places both working and observing what all was going on and let me tell you, people just don’t really know what they are supposed to be doing.

See, it’s not as simple as opening up a place with fewer tables spaced farther apart and expecting people to just sit glued to their seats wearing masks. That just isn’t going to happen. I know these restrictions are well intentioned, but they are totally unrealistic and fail to take so many circumstances into consideration, that they are doomed from the start.

First off, we now have loads of people who are getting out of the house for the first time in months, going to a place with a few friends or family members for dinner and some entertainment. There’s your group. But they are going to places where they are likely to run into a whole bunch of other people in their little groups that are friends of theirs that they haven’t seen in months. Of course they are going to approach each other and start a conversation, which then leads to introductions of other people in the groups and now it’s a chain reaction of throwing social distancing right out the window.

Then add to the mix the fact that the staff at these places is running a bit short handed right now and have their hands full trying to get the orders out and dealing with just doing their regular jobs. There is no way they can police the entire establishment and scold people for not following the rules. They also have no way of knowing who belongs with whom nor do they have an inclination to make the entire customer base furious.

Next throw in the fact that wearing masks, especially in the heat, is really uncomfortable. After a while people get tired of trying to talk and breathe through them, let alone put them up and down for every bite of food or to sip a drink and there’s a limit to how often you are willing to clear the fog off your glasses. After about a half an hour of trying that, the masks are gone. It’s really strange watching people try their best to figure out what to do and finally just giving up and going back to acting normal again.

After eight hours of watching people and seeing what happens, it became abundantly clear that whoever came up with these restrictions never tried to implement them before they were put in place. They just aren’t practical in real world applications. So, that’s my word of warning. If you go out, don’t expect everyone to be vigilant about social distancing protocol. It’s very hard to sustain that in a social setting for several hours. Especially when someone comes up in your lead singer’s face and yells “Freebird!”

Now, on to what I would usually be writing about for the 4th of July. Events that are happening. Well, all the usual big ones, including fireworks, have been canceled. But, our own Golden VFW Post 4171 has come to the rescue with one special event that’s still running which the whole family can enjoy on the 4th of July.

It’s their Annual Very Fine Wheels Car Show that will be happening rain or shine from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will feature classic and custom cars on display as well as drawings for various prizes. They will also have food and refreshments for sale, so plan on having lunch there. Proceeds will go to support the Post’s Relief Fund for veterans and their families. They are located at 15625 10th Ave. in Golden. For more information, you can go to www.vfwpost4171.com. So go check that out and have a safe and happy 4th of July.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com

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