Summer is almost over, but COVID-19 is not. While those of us who didn't vote for Donald Trump's bigoted incompetence might deserve some last hoorah of fun in the sun (or even a first hoorah), we're not getting one. The summer of 2020 lies floating in a pool of murdered dreams like Jay Gatsby.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned last week that several states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, and even Illinois, which I like — are at risk of a coronavirus surge, and the rest of the country shouldn't let down its guard, either.

From CNBC:

FAUCI: We know from prior experience as you get into the holiday weekend, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, there's a tendency of people to be careless somewhat with regard to the public health measures.

I want to use this opportunity to almost have a plea to the people in this country to realize that we really still need to get our arms around this and to suppress these types of surges we've seen.

That's a figure of speech. Don't put your arms around anyone right now, even metaphorically.


Dr. Fauci advises that we keep on our masks, social distance, and spend more time outdoors than indoors. That all sounds great except for the outdoors part. I was at the beach Saturday with my family and I came back with three bug bites. That's what happens when you go outdoors. Also, there are people and children outdoors. This is the year to pretend that Labor Day was rained out. Stay inside, with as few potentially infectious people as possible.

As the weather starts to cool, I always think of New York, where I spent most of my 20s and 30s. Back then the greatest threat to my health was stop-and-frisk. This year, the nostalgia train took me to When Harry Met Sally, with all its gorgeous scenes of New York in the fall and people in restaurants and at parties. I've always preferred watching social gatherings in movies to attending them in person, and now my natural reclusiveness might just save my life.

Yes, Carrie Fisher's in When Harry Met Sally, and she's hilarious and wonderful and it just breaks your heart. She also carries a literal Rolodex because it's 1989.

I have a Meg Ryan problem. Once I start watching her movies, especially the ones written by Nora Ephron, I can't stop. Like most of my personal traits, this isn't one I can justify. I'll probably watch You've Got Mail again even though it's objectively awful.

Oh, look, Meg's at a party with Tom Hanks. It's indoors and they're breathing all over the buffet. She's even carving herself a slice of roasted turkey, because that's what happens when there are no people of color at a party. They break out a full turkey and some caviar.

Youve Got Mail (1998) - Caviar Garnish www.youtube.com

This year has sucked so badly that I'll probably even watch Addicted to Love, which is also not very good and promotes emotionally unhealthy stalkerish behavior. I actually paid money to see this in a theater and convinced a friend to smuggle in contraband Chinese food from a place across the street. She found me in the not-surprisingly empty theater and whispered, while patting her backpack, “I've got the goods." This was the climax in her life of crime.

Ryan was trying to stretch a bit and play a bad girl, which can you tell because she has spiky hair and raccoon eye shadow. That's the acting choice. As she starts to fall in love with Matthew Broderick — yeah, he's in this, too — the eye shadow fades away and her essential Meg Ryan-ess comes through. It's very thematic eye shadow.

Addicted to Love (1997) scene with Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick kiss, you can do better than that www.youtube.com

You don't have to watch all the movies I'm suggesting, but choose one, stay home and stay healthy. See you Tuesday.

[CNBC / Newsweek]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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