California Dreaming

A group of housebound friends share what they plan to do when quarantine restrictions lift…


Janet, wife & mother of two, human resources manager:

“We are going to California as a family when all this is over. My husband and I are both fortunate and blessed to still be working. I work from home and he is an essential employee in the healthcare field. So we are specifically contributing extra funds into our credit union savings account for the express purpose of going to Disneyland, if it still exists, which I’m sure it will. We will be loading up the SUV and driving, first to San Diego because we are going to lay in the sun at the beach until our skin cries out, “Enough!” And we will be going to both zoos in San Diego – the regular one and that wild animal safari park. After that, Anaheim here we come. 

“One of my children was supposed to go on a school trip to L.A. the week that everything really went haywire, and she has been devastated. She’s a high school freshman. They were going to do some sort of choir thing, see the sights, and go to Disneyland for a day. Well, now she gets to go to Disneyland for a week.

“After that, we’ll probably go to the beach again, somewhere in one of those delicious Orange County beach cities like Dana Point or Newport Beach. That’s assuming they’ll have us midwesterners in their fancy city! But we are so excited about this vacation idea. It gets us through the frustration of being stuck at home.”

Ally, restaurant worker:

“I suppose what I’ll probably be doing is going back to work, if the place where I worked before this happened opens back up again. For the moment they’re optimistic about it. It’s weird – it’s like having a vacation I never asked for, and I can’t even go out for drinks or hang out at the beach. I guess one day it will end, and then I’ll be working again, and I’ll want a real vacation. 

“Vacations are hard to come by in the restaurant industry. If you’re a full-time employee, it’s hard for them to cover your shifts if you want to take two weeks off. Sometimes they just say, well, we have to hire somebody else, so you won’t be able to have all of your shifts when you come back. So usually I just quit when I want to take a vacation and then find a new restaurant to work at when I come back. It sounds worse than it is. It’s actually a fairly common practice.

“But… dream scenario? I want to go to London. I’m very romantic about London.”

Jim, single parent, used bookstore owner

“Honestly, I’m just taking this one day at a time. I’m lucky because the property where my bookstore sits isn’t super-desirable to any real estate developers for the moment. My landlord is a bibliophile – also, he’s in the position of owning the building free and clear – so he told me, and I get choked up about this… he told me not to worry about paying rent until I can open for business again.

“I do some sales through Amazon in the meanwhile. My landlord knows that, and he told me to take care of my kids with it.

“Regardless of how everything ends up with the business, I might go back to teaching – at least part-time. And then the first summer vacation we all have off together, we’d pick a town in Europe and go live there for a month or two. We’d just rent a house and live there, and eat at the local cafes and shop at the market. That’s my real dream!”

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