Keep your distance but stick together: a six-foot block party

Many of us are sequestered alone indoors all day. We’re not used to it. And we don’t like it.

Writing is generally a solitary occupation but journalism is not. We generally work cheek-by-jowl in a too-small office because cheap real estate is rarer than writers, at least owners of publications seem to think so. And we are yakking all the time—testing out ideas, ledes, angles; howling over other people’s mistakes and moaning over our own; verbally editing and amending.

Truth be told, we’re all probably producing more WPM than usual. But we’re quip-starved.

Here’s an idea how to get some relief that’s better than drinking by yourself.

My brilliant neighbor, Heidi Belka, came up with an idea for brief relief: the six-foot-apart cocktail party. We live on a short block in The Marmalade where the front yards (and mostly the back yards and the houses) are small. We can converse with our neighbors without leaving our property. So a few nights ago, we all gathered, drink of choice in hand, for a socially distant cocktail party.

It was great. Heidi’s husband Josh, on hiatus from Ballet West, spent most of it on his door-side bench, drinking watered-down wine.

Michael Aaron, owner of Q Salt Lake, came into the street in his purple bathrobe and holding what he called an “earthquake martini: Bailey’s, vodka and a splash of Gran Marnier. “Shaken, not stirred,” duh.

I met neighbors I never knew, neighbors I knew but couldn’t remember the names of and neighbors whose shoulders I have cried on. No touching at this gathering—we were all strictly six feet apart or more.

It was a small group. It’s a small block. It wasn’t a long party, but it did give us a chance to see smiling faces but keep our isolation intact. Because that’s what we all must do.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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