Reopening Updates (part 1)

It looks as though things are getting a little back to normal again, although I don’t think it’s going to be a very normal kind of normal. I mean, yeah, businesses are opening up and stuff like that, but there’ll be all kinds of new rules to make it possible to keep up social distancing…so don’t expect it to be like it was for a long time still. They still haven’t settled when the baseball season’s going to start, and, while I’m dying to watch a real game, I’m not sure I like the idea of the teams having to play in empty stadiums. It’s not the same playing without an audience…but putting 55,000 people into Dodger Stadium would also be irresponsible and certainly isn’t going to be happening soon. I reckon we’ll be able to watch the games on the TV and all that, but you need the noise of the crowd to make a baseball game exciting. I’ve played in nearly empty stadiums: it’s not fun.

The reopening news I’m most interested is, of course, hotels. Both me and Joyce have done some research, and it appears that they’ve given hotels the green light to reopen, with all kinds of precautions as to sterilizing rooms and keeping masks and gloves on all members of hotel staff.

The only thing they need now is guests, although, I suppose that, if there are going to be guests, they have to make room for them…even if it means shit like removing the really cool reusable boxes of bath salts and stuff that they have in the bathrooms at the L******. (According to my and Joyce’s research, anything reusable is going to have to be removed from the rooms. I guess that makes some sense…although I wonder if that’s supposed to include telephones and lamps…) Thing is, it’s not going to be until there are guests that the hotel is going to need its full staff. At least that’s what Mr. Balsam told me when I talked to him on the phone on Monday. Still, he told me not to worry, that I still have a job, and that I just need to be patient for a little while longer.

That’s easy for him to say, but I’m kinda chomping at the bit. Since I hope it won’t be long now, I’ve decided against trying to get a job with Amazon. Joyce worries too much about it, and maybe it wouldn’t be such a great idea for me and Keaton to live next to each other and work for the same company…although, if I got a job driving like he’s got, we’d obviously not be working together. So I’m going to hold out for my new/old job at the L******. I’ve been managing on unemployment, and, while it sucks not having a lot of money left over for shit like food after I’ve paid all my bills, I’m keeping my head mostly above water, although it’s helped thus far that there’s not a whole lot of entertainment to spend money on. Since there’s no baseball I even downgraded my cable this month, since I’ve pretty much seen everything they rerun on the Dodgers channel…and 20 bucks a month is 20 bucks a month, especially at this point in my life.

To avoid writing about how fucked up everything is, I’ve been writing about my past lately. I’ve enjoyed that (I hope y’all have too), but Lucas asked when was I gonna start writing about him again lol. He’s probably got the biggest news of all my friends, since he graduated from high school last week. From how he described it, it was a totally weirdass drive-through graduation (literally…you drove the car past a stand and they handed you your diploma that way), but he says it was better than nothing. Then he did a thing where he sat out on the lawn in front of the house and his friends drove by and honked their horns at him. That included me, so I got to participate in my star pupil’s graduation.

The drive-by with the horns honking is an idea that Lucas got from Eric. I don’t know how many rich Pasadena boys got to have the drive-by thing, but, from what I understand, they do it a lot where Eric lives, and, yeah, I got in the shitbox and drove down to Alhambra and participated in Eric’s little honking parade too. It seemed a little more in place down there; maybe that’s because latinos like to show emotion. It’s a big deal for Chuy and Aracely that Eric graduated from high school. He’s a good kid and a good student, and it’s not like he was getting into trouble with the wrong kind of kids and getting into gangs or shit like that (his best friend’s a Pasadena rich boy, remember), but, still, I don’t think everyone down in Alhambra graduates as automatically as they do in Pasadena.

There was even a bonus for Eric’s little parade. From what I could make out, fireworks are legal in Alhambra, so, while we were driving past, Abel and Abelito were in the backyard setting off fireworks. We made the parade at twilight, so we could kinda see them, and it was actually pretty dang fun. Nobody set off fireworks when I graduated from Maryville High, although, when I graduated, I was way more concerned with our winning at state championship than in fireworks in the backyard. Still, it made the honking parade a little more festive…and I think Lucas was jealous that he lived in Pasadena where they don’t shoot off fireworks in backyards. (I’m not sure, but I think the shooting off of fireworks is a latino thing culturally. Chuy told me that they do it all the time leading up to July 4th. I can only imagine what it’s like there on July 4th itself.)

Lucas is off to college in Ohio in August, or at least that’s the plan. Who knows what kind of school year he’s getting into…and I can’t imagine that he’ll travel all that way and get settled in his dorm if all his classes are gonna be online. Last he heard from Denison, they said they didn’t know what they were going to do, so Lucas is stuck waiting to know what’s gonna happen to him. That sucks, and it’s making him super anxious, but anyone can get that. I’m still working with him twice a week…and the great news is that, since the car wash is open, Chuy’s letting us use the batting cages again. Lucas is momentarily back into his bad habit of swinging for the fences, but he’s not been able to swing a bat at a proper pitch in three months. He’ll simmer down. I know him pretty well by now.

So Chuy’s back in business, which is super good news for him, although car washes have been open for a couple weeks already. He’s had a hard time of it, having to have the business closed for months, but he says they’ve been super busy since reopening, since everyone in the LA area has a dirty car…and hair that looks like shit lol. That’s awesome for him, since I know they were feeling the pinch pretty bad (like with Adam and Allan, there’s no unemployment if you own your own business)…but he says they’re gonna be ok now that things are open again.

The taco truck’s been open all along, though, and that brought in some income. (Chuy and Abel are both half-partners in the car wash and the truck.) Some people would rather use the pizza ATM at Little Caesar’s than get food from a taco truck, but I headed down there once a week. Guadalupe showed me all the precautions they take, with plenty of hand sanitizer and a fresh pair of gloves for every new customer. She says the only thing they don’t do is spray bleach on the food. (Y’all may not have heard it on the TV, but the government actually had to warn people not to drink bleach or use it to sanitize food as a means of preventing COVID-19.)

I’m still working with Cody and Noah once a week, and that’s going pretty well. Cody’s great to have as a pupil: he loves doing anything baseball-related, kinda like I was at his age. (Ok, kinda like I am still now that I’m 27 lol.) He’s also a great learner and just fun to be with. If we ever get a baseball season with games we can go to, I’m definitely taking Cody to one.

The real surprise is Noah. Maybe he’s come round because I’m the only person he got to see outside of his family during the quarantine, and y’all may remember that Noah’s dad didn’t seem too dialed into what his kid wanted when he hired me. Noah’s not a star pupil yet, but at least he’s moving around a lot more than when we first started working together. Best of all he’s ditched the attitude. Sometimes he doesn’t really feel like working, but it’s way more ok when he says it than when he looks at me with his headphones on like I’m bothering him or something. He doesn’t like making super-athletic catches like Noah and especially Lucas like to make (maybe he just likes keeping his clothes clean…I’ve seen kids like that), but he’s got a good throwing arm. I think that’s his best asset. I’d like to work on hitting with everyone a lot more, so I’m dang glad that the batting cages are open for business again. I’ve always loved fielding (what shortstop doesn’t?), but I know that batting is what makes or breaks you as a player, and I wouldn’t be doing my job as a tutor if I didn’t try and make my pupils better hitters.

I reckon y’all can call that the Kid Report (although I don’t know how much Lucas and Eric would appreciate being called kids now that they’ve graduated high school.) I’ll bring you up to date on the grown-ups in my next post.

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