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The New Normal

Is it safe to come out yet? These last several months have been a whirlwind of uncertainty and confusion. We have all felt a massive impact from this pandemic.

So, what the hell happened? Something about the Chinese and their affinity for bats. Panic. Reactionary governments. News outlets selling clicks. I don’t know, I am just fat guy in West Michigan that likes beer. I can only tell you what I know. At first it seemed like vacation. Sleeping in, eating, drinking, lounging around; time had no meaning. Then it started to sink in. I started to see the fear, and anger in so many people through my internet connection (Since I couldn’t go anywhere). The open nature of the internet is terrible for finding honest, credible, and neutral news. I am generally a pretty even temperament individual. I am not prone to panic, or deep sadness. Anger, I can do that sometimes.

I saw A LOT of people getting very angry. I also saw A LOT of people letting crippling fear seep into every aspect of their life. When you are angry or fearful, you act irrationally. Losing you ability to think rationally and apply logic impairs even the most basic of human behavior. There was a lot of this in every level of our society. I applied the English mantra from WWII; “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Before anyone discounts my views for whatever reason, know this. I live in a home with my son, a recovering leukemia kid. I maintain a very close relationship with my elderly parents who run a very public facing “essential” business. I have many dear friends and family on the “frontlines” in the healthcare field, as well as those that are in the high-risk category. I am fortunate that my wife continued to work from home, and my business can make do with very little face to face interaction, much like many people I know.

I am willing to allow a lot of grace to those that lost their shit in this. If you freaked out and went either angry, or scared, that’s OK. Everyone deals with hardship differently. There is nothing wrong with feeling anything. Feeling is what makes us human. It becomes a problem when you let it cloud your judgement and rule your life. Rational thought is also what makes us human. We all lose it sometimes, that is why I offer all the grace I can muster.

I offer respect to everyone that does what they need to do. People that did their jobs happily and to the fullest. We have people that everyday, accept risk on our behalf as their chosen career. Those people have acted admirably in their capacity. Are they heroes? No more than anyone else that does their job happily and to the fullest, but they are wonderful human beings. The heroes are the people that went above and beyond their normal duty to be sure that other people are safe and secure.

All people deserve some level of basic respect, and some deserve far more. I find it very difficult to offer respect to anyone that cannot give every person at least that basic level of respect as a human being. Before you agree with that statement or disagree, please ask yourself if you have always offered grace and respect to those that you encounter. Those that bother you. Those that disagree with you. Those that disrespect you. Everyone, please please be cool. End Rant.

What will the new world look like? I could speculate for days on this. What is the future of education? The workplace? Retail shopping? Travel? Social gatherings? Nobody knows. I do know this; the world will never be the same. We will see lasting reverberations from this pandemic. Eventually, it will come back to the new normal. We will figure it out and carry on with our lives.

To bring it back on track, our beloved beer industry has been in the fight of their lives. First told to close, then found they could offer to-go sales and delivery. Many of our sponsors and friends will make it, some may not. I think the community did a fine job supporting our local restaurants and breweries. That time is not over. With the new guidelines allowing them to open at half capacity, with PPE for employees, requiring patrons to stay 6ft apart and wear masks when not seated at a table, things will still be difficult. Some may decide that these restrictions still will not warrant them opening. There are many expenses associated with operating a dining service. No one has had to work in these conditions. Patrons and establishments will need to figure it out as they go. Please remember to offer grace and that same level of basic respect to everyone. Everybody be cool.

How will the club function in this new world? Well, in a word, carefully. While the stay at home order has been lifted, we are still required to act responsibly and observe the “Social Distancing” we have gotten used to. I hate the term “Social Distancing”. We don’t need to be socially distant; we need to physically distance

ourselves when socializing. Being social is always important.

To start, we will conduct meetings with a “members only” requirement, and in private, preferably outdoor, venues. With the restrictions on our brewery friends, we cannot tie up their entire capacity with a PTB meeting. “Social Distancing” requires that we stay 6ft apart as much as possible. WASH YOUR HANDS. Please, cover your face when in enclosed spaces. Currently on the calendar is a June meeting in John Eberly’s driveway. Looking to July, maybe we can observe our Thursdy Thirstday at Founder’s. I am looking for a place to host the July meeting, and I think I will host a brewday at Thunderhome. Keep your eyes on the calendar. We are taking this a day at a time.

I do ask that for ALL in-person club functions we exercise care and respect. I don’t care if you think this is all BS, or if you think everyone should be wrapped up in a body condom. These are the rules, and we will observe them for as long as they exist. If you are unwilling to do so and cannot and be respectful of those that are following the rules, I respectfully ask that you not attend any in-person meetings. There are many members that even with the stay at home order lifted and “social distancing” followed to the letter, are either uncomfortable attending, or feel it unwise to attend in person. I understand and look forward to the day when we can share a beer in person again. I will even buy you a drink. Seriously, hit me up when you are loose again.

All that said, let's get this club started again. We shall define the new normal. Michigan Homebrew Festival is still on in August. The monthly competition schedule has started again with Belgian Pales (24B) at the Eberlys’ this month. We rearranged a couple things for the remainder of the year. Find it on the webpage. The officers decided to make the Rubber Chicken a quarterly thing, but I still would like to see regular posts on the webpage for your reading pleasure. If you have something you want to write about, let me know. Things like discussions on a style, process, piece of equipment, recipe formulation, event, or history is always welcome. I would love to see more involvement from our talented membership. Keep your eyes on the --DT

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