Social Distancing: Killing Me Softly

COVID, COVID, go away!
Leave us all alone today
COVID, COVID, you just suck
This isn’t cool
Really, what the fuck?!?!?!?

The company that I work for announced last Friday, March 13th, that the office would be closed for at least a couple of weeks to reduce exposure to and the spread of COVID-19, so since Monday, March 16th, I have mainly been home, managing my job duties from the comfort of my home office. I usually work from my house on Fridays anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a shift for me, except it was a little weird not to end each day with a Friday happy hour.

I know, nothing was stopping me from having a happy hour every day, but I’m trying not to peak too soon.

Anyway, it really didn’t hit me how weird the shift to working from home everyday was until yesterday, Saturday, March 21st, hit, and I found that I really didn’t have much to do. Sure, I needed to clean my bathroom. I had some personal paper work to fill out. I have this blog in desperate need of attention, so it wasn’t like I was sitting on my couch, twiddling my thumbs, slowly going crazy, but throughout the entire day, there was only one thing on my mind. One thing that I really wanted to do:

Hang out at the coffee shop.

Oh, the third place. My happy place. You are so sorely missed. Grabbing a cappuccino and pastry via curbside pickup just isn’t the same as taking a break amongst the other coffee drinkers and baristas. Turning on some light tunes and pulling out a book to read in my own house just cannot compare to the music and chatter that surrounds me as I read at a sometimes dirty table in a coffee shop.

Adding to my sadness, it hurts me to hear that so many of my beloved coffee shops in Austin are having to lay off workers and shut down locations permanently. Those little places of peace to which I so often escaped during hectic days will no longer be there when all of this is said and done.

*sniff*

Yeah, I’m fucking crying. Why aren’t you?!?!?!?!

Ahem, anyway, considering how much the coffee industry is hurting right now, I wanted to take a moment to encourage all of you to do what you can to support those who work within the industry. Depending on how this pandemic has hit you, you may actually be in a similar boat, so don’t feel bad if you can’t, but if you are like me who is salaried and in a position to weather this storm, here are some options in helping out your local (Austin/Central Texas area) coffee shops:

  • For every gift card over $50, Houndstooth is giving half of the amount to their baristas. Check out more on their website. Go to the online store to purchase a gift card.
  • Medici has set up a virtual tip jar for the employees that they had to lay off. They are also still selling merchandise and whole bean coffee online. Check out their website for more information. The QR code for the tip jar is on their Instagram page. (BTW, I’m actually really sad about Medici right now as they have decided to permanently close their Austonian location, which I have written about as one of my favorite spots to go. Literally crying about that one.)
  • The Austin Coffee Collective has been sharing the QR codes for a lot of other coffee shops who have set up a virtual tip jar. Find them on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Many shops are still offering to-go or curbside pick-up during limited hours. If you have a local shop close to you, please check out what their offerings are and order from them! I just did this with Chaparral Coffee in Lockhart, and it was super easy!

For those of you who are not in the Austin/Central Texas area, Slow Pour Supply in Houston and Coffee at Large in Seattle collaborated to create a tip jar database for easy reference of shops that have one set up. Check out their Instagrams for the link (@slowpoursupply and @coffeeatlarge).

And of course, the number one thing that you can do right now to help those in the coffee industry? STAY THE FUCK HOME!!!!

Because if you aren’t willing to socially distance yourself now, then don’t be surprised when people decide to socially distance themselves from you for the rest of your life.

And on that note, stay safe and healthy, my friends!

The one and the only Pookachino

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