May 18

I just got off the phone with the (federal) Small Business Association people, who’ve let me know that my request for aid has been denied because “1.Your economic injury is less than the amount you received from the EIDL.” Since I haven’t gotten ANY money from the EIDL, I’m not sure how that could be. They tell me that what I WILL be getting $1000. I’m not sure how they arrived at that number but I don’t need to tell you that it’s a drop in the bucket. Whatever. I never expected the government to help me one bit, so I’m not surprised. I was also on the phone with one of Yelp’s “customer success” representatives. I was accused of being “passive aggressive” after being asked when I will be able to open. I responded that perhaps the rep would like to speak with Governor Cuomo about that date. It’s bad enough being OUT OF WORK, with my business CLOSED by the government, but being given a hard time by some Yelp employee really added insult to injury. Anyway, that was my morning. I’m totally pumped for my afternoon.

Moments after those less than successful phone calls, I received a lovely email from an old friend and Lucky regular. Reading it made me burst into tears. I can’t tell you just how gratifying it is to hear how much people appreciate my little bar. It turned out EXACTLY the way I’d envisioned and the fact that other people “get it” is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my long and crazy life! His note:

“Growing up in NJ, my trips into Manhattan were for clubs, concerts and sporting events, so I never really had a neighborhood bar that I frequented in the city. I would go to a couple in Hells Kitchen BITD and the Blarney Stone around the corner from MSG before any event. I have literally gone to that bar before every game or concert at the Garden since I was 17 years old. They replaced the old Irish bartenders with young attractive females over the years, but who am I to stand in the way of progress? They still pour a nice drink. Being busy with work and school, as well as getting married and having the kids so young, cut down on bar life and when it was time to re-emerge in the late 80’s, it was for NYC club life. I guess the Mission Bar between A & B on 5th was the closest to a real bar as opposed to a nightclub. So, after the club years were past their heyday, we wound up frequenting the Beauty Bar and Double Down more than any other of the bars “downtown.” They were always fun, but could get to be a bit much at times. When you opened Lucky, that all changed. For me, you had the perfect spot: a small old school bar with no video screens. It was exciting watching it be born, nourished and grow into what it has become. I have met many wonderful, fun people at Lucky and run into many old acquaintances as well. And I love your bar staff. Pinky, Cara, Tracie, Zofia, Donovan, Zero, et al, have all treated Blair and me so well. It was always great to get out of midtown and head down to Lucky after a day in a place/neighborhood I didn’t want to be. It made the day and my mood so much better. 30 of my 63 Instagram posts are pics taken at Lucky. I miss it and I miss you. There’s still a retirement party to be had, as well as many more memorable times. Can’t wait to get back onto Avenue B. I don’t drink at home much. It took me two months to drink a 750ml bottle of vodka. One drink a week on Friday evening. I am now down to 25 unopened bottles of vodka. At the same rate I guess it’s about enough for four years. Hopefully, it will only be down to 24 the next time I can sit at your bar. I’m looking forward to that wonderful feeling, as well as seeing you.”

Thank you, Ivan! I miss you too!
Cheers to the day we can all toast together again!

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May 16

Sigh….Yesterday was sort of a repeat of the previous day: nice weather, long walk by the river. But I rewarded myself with one of my “life-changing sandwiches” from Sunny & Annie’s afterward. It was DEEEEEELICIOUS! Then I came home and, instead of spectating at the Scavenger Hunt Smackdown, I wound up being a participant! It was SO FUN! Nar and Linguini did SUCH a great job creating an entertaining, distracting game for us! I wasn’t the champ but we were ALL winners! Now, to move on to the political and controversial segment of my psyche:

I’m feeling distressed by all the scolding. One friend is concerned about her neighbor’s kids playing basketball. Another is worried about a bar crawl. Since I’m about to embark on a bar crawl of my own, with adult friends who are well-informed and who’ve been VERY careful, you can guess where my opinions lie on that topic. If something seems dangerous to you, don’t do it. And please don’t tell me about whose lives I’m endangering by ordering a to-go drink. I’m not coughing or breathing on anyone. And while I can’t be 100% certain, I am pretty fucking sure that I’m not an asymptomatic carrier. I will be comporting myself like a responsible citizen.

I responded to my bar-crawl-concerned friend’s post: “There already are bar crawls. Since we aren’t allowed to sit on the curb six feet from each other and drink our now-legal to-go drinks, because they’re supposed to be taken home, people have to keep moving. I’ve seen super drunk 20-something girls weaving down Avenue B. But I suppose it’s better than being packed into a crowded bar. I dunno. I’m getting exhausted trying to decide, from one moment to another, what I’m willing to tolerate, what is pissing me off, and what could actually kill me. It’s a situation I never expected. If bombs were falling I’d be in a bomb shelter. This menace is far more stealth.”

When I considered those last few lines, specifically the incredibly stressful LABOR of having to decide, every day, what might KILL ME, I wanted to cry. Yesterday I asked what levels of danger you, my friends, are experiencing. Turns out, most of you — or at least those wiling to respond publicly — are VERY afraid. You have limited your behavior –and exposure — to an extreme degree. Many of you have real reason to be afraid. But do ALL of you? Do you truly, TRULY, believe that a trip to the grocery store MIGHT kill you? Because if you do, we are doomed. All our hunkering down will not defeat this virus. It is still out there. Are you willing to be doing what you’re doing a full year from now, if that’s what it takes? I know one friend absolutely is. I’m not. I’m just not.

Okay. I’m sure people are gonna have a LOT to say about this one. Me? I’m heading out to buy to-go drinks from a couple local watering holes. Hopefully I won’t get into trouble! But if you don’t hear from me tomorrow, it’ll be because I’m in jail, where it will be FAR less safe! Hmmm….

Photos from last night’s hilarity!

May 17

Okay! So yesterday didn’t wind up being the bar crawl I’d anticipated. We more or less stayed put (see panorama by Amy Shapiro). It is SO GREAT to see friends, to hang out and talk, to NOT be sitting on my couch. It’s great to see some sky, sit outdoors and feel almost normal. Stacie Joy stopped by to capture a new “masked Abby” (see my profile photo) and chat about local businesses. All in all, a truly wonderful day. Now to spend the next two weeks trying not to worry.

Today being Sunday, you’re invited to the Mighty Daring Lucky Virtual Happy Hour, starring Sandy and Joe! We open the virtual bar at 5 and hang out till at least 7. Join us!
Meeting ID: 832 4239 6978
Password: 696008

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May 15

Oh dear…I have finally slipped down the “deep cleaning” rabbit hole. While doing my “exercises” on my apartment floor, I have involuntarily become one with some of my…uh, more long-standing filth. I am a “collector,” which is really just a nicer word for “curated hoarder.” Much of what I “collect” is ephemera, added, layer upon layer, to my shelves. So they never get dusted. I am moving said ephemera, along with their accompanying dust, and attempting a minor purge. Aaaahhhhchoooo! It’s going to be a long process, because even tackling one small shelf requires a crap-ton of energy. I’m about halfway through one “set” of shelves. Thoughts and prayers?
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Yesterday was another long walk, but this time back by the water. I’ve felt buoyed enough by other recent forays to not require the emotional nourishment of seeing businesses up and running. Apparently MANY of you have not ventured out for anything beyond necessities. And even those trips have been speedy, well-protected and panic-stricken. So my question for you all, dear readers, is: How far have YOU traveled? Yes, we’ve seen the “how brave are you” scale of 0 to 5. And we’ve also seen the cell phone tracking maps that show that, each day, people are leaving their homes and traveling more and further afield. Tell me where you’ve been and how safe you felt. Just the grocery store, as necessary, and terrified? Valid. Everywhere, all the time, and not scared at all? Also valid. I’m sure most of you will fall somewhere in the middle. Please let me know where you LIVE so I have an idea of what you actually have access to. (Suburbia? Car? Big box stores? Or in a city? Not even a bicycle? A dozen bodegas and coffee shops but not much more besides grocery stores?) I’m genuinely curious because I think it more accurately answers the question, “How ready ARE people to actually “reopen?”
 
No Virtual Lucky Happy Hour today, folks. I’m gonna try and get outside again and then attend the Scavenger Hunt Smackdown my friends are producing. Have a lovely Friday! Yes, Friday!

May 14

OHMIGOD! SO MUCH NOISE!

No, I don’t want to join your group. I’m already in a million other ridiculous groups. I can’t keep up with them all. I am most especially not interested in any cooking groups. Because I don’t cook. I also don’t sew… Please don’t take it personally.

WHY am I wasting my time arguing with people on the interwebz? It is SUCH an energy suck. I know…we have nothing else to do…

Masks? Yes, masks. But you can be sure that there will be people out there who are very much, “No, no masks.” For any one of a million reasons. It doesn’t matter how wrong they are. There is NO shortage of stupidity out there, friends. Do what you need to do to maintain your health and your sanity. Trying to convince a stranger that they should be doing what you’re doing is probably not gonna help you with either.

Okay! On to better and brighter things! Firstly, I went out yesterday and it was glorious! The sky was a vivid blue and the sun was warm, as it is again today. There was more traffic, more “bustle,” and there seemed to be more places opening, bars and bodegas that weren’t open before appeared to be testing the waters. Overall it felt like people are gearing up for SOME sort of relaxation. SAFELY! YES SAFELY!

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I went to the bank and the tellers were so happy to see me! I was just as happy to see them! I spent over an hour safely socializing with a friend. It almost felt like a normal day, whatever that means. I had a conversation with our Nightlife Mayor that gave me some much-needed hope. (Stay tuned for more on that soon.) And did any of you see who popped into my little Facebook world last night? I don’t want to mention his name again because I’ll sound like a crazy fangirl, but check the responses to my Tuesday night post about a certain channel 7 news anchor and his hair! Squee! So yesterday was a good day.

Now to make today a good one as well! One way it will be fun is Pinky’s weekly Virtual Lucky Happy Hour. Join us at 6pm for the gigglefest. It goes till at least 8pm and likely longer.
Meeting ID: 827 5643 9503
Password: 747772
Cheers!

May 13

Hello and Happy Wednesday! It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day here in NYC! If you can tolerate the maskless, get out and feel the sun on your face. Well, half of it. I’ve been shooting for hour long walks and each time I venture out, I seem to care a smidge less about who is and who isn’t “respecting my health.” Yesterday I went to Key Food without a mile long list and the sense of panic I shopped with last time. I have a feeling that, with time, I will return to my “shopping day of, buying what I need in the moment” style of procurement. I only needed one regular bag to shlep my groceries across the street. And there wasn’t a line! Despite the sunshine.

What this means to me is that, yes, this is a process. Things haven’t gotten any less dangerous. Our numbers may be down but that doesn’t mean the virus has been weakened. We’re gonna be living with this for a long time to come. Once we accept that, our behavior is likely to change. With the exception of those most at risk — and I know plenty — we will begin to weigh the dangers against our day to day. I’ve been curious why it’s safe to shop for groceries (as well as flowers, bubble tea and other items that have been somewhat inexplicably deemed “essential”) why would it be unsafe to shop for other things? My plant purchasing foray last week wasn’t ideal in a “totally safe” way, but I was actually okay with that. Last night the news showed a car dealership and all they were doing to make buying a car as safe as possible. BUYING A CAR! I mean, really… Guess why they were allowed to open? Because they lobbied. Anyway…

It’s been a few days since I’ve hosted a Virtual Lucky Happy Hour and today isn’t the day. Wednesdays are the Burning Man Happy Hour, so I usually “attend” that Zoom gathering. But tune in tomorrow for Pinky’s weekly Thursday cyber get-together starting at 6pm. See ya then!

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May 12

I recently began blogging again, mostly because these Pandemic Posts were starting to feel more like my blog and less like Facebook. One of the hottest topics was Dating. A decade ago I went out with a man whose profile said that he would “change my life forever.” His vocation is reading peoples’ Life Blueprint and he offered to read mine. You can read about the experience here.
 
In late February, as I was gearing up for Bar #2, I reached out to him, asking if he could give me an update, of sorts, and that update happened yesterday. He reminded me that my “spiritual self is The Warrior,” reassuring me that I am uniquely suited to power through even the toughest of times. In my career area, I am the “Rebel,” which means I not only prefer but have a better chance of success doing things in radically unconventional ways.
 
So what am I doing now? I’m crafting the web site for my next project. No, I haven’t signed a lease. And no, I’m not sure I have the sufficient funding to make it all happen. But I’m forging on ahead anyway.
 
And in creating this new web site, I’m using Lucky’s site as the template, so I’m editing that. It is taking me on a little trip down memory lane, especially with all the Events. The hits: Kink ‘n’ Draw, Figment Meet & Greets, clothing swaps, art shows, and any event with the NYC Gay Craft Beer Lovers. The misses: Baby Stroller Happy Hour? It has also reminded me of everyone who has shown up for Lucky over the years. I am truly blessed with an incredibly supportive extended community. Most obviously, it takes me back to four years ago, when I was in the throes of opening a new business. It was a terrifying and blindly optimistic time! So, to honor both the Warrior AND the Rebel in me AND to give myself a future to look forward to, I’ve decided to work toward this new business. It is the right decision. Stay tuned!
 
And thank you, Gandharva, for the kick in the ass!