As we continue into another week of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have started to go a little stir crazy — well, except for introverts. If anyone can handle not going out into crowds, staying at home and minimizing social contact, the shyness-blessed among us can.
Entertainment these days presents special challenges. How many times can you rewatch the OA or Stranger Things on streaming video? You might think a gamer would be in heaven, but endless hours of Pong has to get boring. Of course, children who will soon be back in school — even if it’s virtual — should be doing their homework, reading books and studying workbooks, and when they’re not busy learning, helping out their family.
Health officials are telling us to minimize trips outside of the home. That big vacation to France got canceled long ago. Returning snowbirds might be tempted to find a wilderness retreat, but Dr. Anne Zink — who, by the way, has become a media superstar with her calm, smart daily updates — said the other night that refugee Alaskans should stay south for a bit. Even the usual weekend trip north to go shopping in Soldotna or Anchorage might not be a good idea.
You’re stuck on the lower Kenai Peninsula, Betster people. We’re in a trying-to-be brave new world where we have to invent all sorts of new things. How do you greet people now? Should you go with the elbow bump? The Betster likes the Vulcan greeting Mr. Spock used, middle and ring fingers spread apart. “Live long and prosper,” he said.
We’re going to have to get creative, and that doesn’t just mean bartering for toilet paper. Already we’re refining our internet social skills. As the Betster writes this, yours truly is communicating with others through email, texting and Google hangout. In a pinch we could even pick up the phone. In Italy and New York lonely people have come out to their balconies or windows and raised music to honor all the health care providers keeping them safe. Maybe we could do that: a community sing of the Alaska Flag Song or something.
But through it all, we’re lucky to have something our friends in the Lower 49 don’t have, most of them — awesome nature and wide open spaces. We’ll get through this, Homer, and we’ll figure out how to enjoy life, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST IT’S A WYNN BET: Here’s one event that’s open and also safe. The Wynn Nature Center Cabin at Mile 1.5 E. Skyline Drive is open from 1-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and open for the Sunday Wynn-ter Family Fun Day from 2-4 p.m. The Nature Center has snowshoes out on the cabin porch and available for free use. They will be wiped down with sanitizer after each use, and wipes will be available if desired prior to using them. Trail maps also will be available, along with handouts on scavenger hunts and various outdoor activities families can do outside of the cabin. Hand sanitizer will be available at the cabin and in the outhouses. Staff and visitors are recommended to honor the 6-foot recommended distance from others while enjoying the trails and outdoors.
BEST OUTDOORS INDOORS BET: The Center for Coastal Studies have self-guided activities for kids you can check out digitally on their website at www.akcoastalstudies.org. For those without internet access, some guides are available as print copies outside of the headquarters building at 708 Smokey Bay Way. You also can check out snowshoes for use not just at the Wynn. Call ahead at 235-6667 to make sure a staff person is available to check them out.
BEST VIRTUAL POETRY BET: Creative people are using the internet to share music, art and writing with the world. One of our best local poets, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, does a reading at 4 p.m. Saturday through the Zoom conferencing tool for a program called Seek Shelter out of Portland. Connect to the reading at https://zoom.us/join and type “584-693-1435.”
BEST TOGETHER WITH ART BET: While Bunnell Street Arts Center has closed the gallery, you can still make art. The gallery has put together a “To Go” plate painting kit for its Plate Project. It also is facilitating a Community Chalkboard to share ideas via Facebook, email, etc. To serve the community during the pandemic, it can offer online gathering spaces for conversation, studio visits and performances. Share ideas for opportunities by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BunnellArts/.