#wehoDinnerConnect: Let’s Get Together and Still Keep Our Distance During COVID-19

Mayor John D’Amico and his husband Keith Rand socializing virtually with friends.

Life during the coronavirus crisis sure is complicated. I know. And I’ve been lucky: I’ve been able to attend to my health while still working because I am safe at home with Keith. And I’m connected to technology.

But what I’m not connected to enough is my friends. And my family. I miss them, I miss hanging out and high-fiving, telling stories and laughing too hard and talking about the world. It’s one of the worst things about the #SaferAtHome directive we’re all living under – being disconnected from my friends, my neighbors, the city around us. Especially since so much of what makes West Hollywood a dynamic, exciting place is the time we spend with each other, making community.

I know that there are lots of us that are feeling lonely and little disconnected from our regular way of life, our regular friends, even our regular food and restaurants. Many of you have been in touch telling me stories of your loneliness and boredom and discomfort. And many more are simply letting us know on line that life is a little harder than normal. Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. you can see everyone reaching out for a little bit of community.

This might last for a while, it may be another month or two or longer before we can hang out like we used to, so we all need to be creative about how we cope with our loneliness and our boredom. We can’t live without a little connection and some good-old-fashioned friends making us laugh. Keith and I have check-in time with our friends John, Tom and Mille regularly. I chatted while our friend Kali made dinner the other night. And we’re planning Sunday dinner with some friends. Checking-in is always a highlight of our day.

So I’m offering that we need to start today with inviting our friends over for dinner, real friends to our digital dinner tables. We need to start hanging out together, start talking again, start seeing each other, start laughing too hard. Start reconnecting in West Hollywood. So, why not plan a #wehoDinnerConnect this Saturday at 8 p.m.? Or Sunday at 7 p.m.? Or even just 15 minutes of screen-to-screen gossip. It’s easy. Just text over an invite and send the connection details. And then prop up your handheld or iPhone or your laptop or even your regular landline and start eating and talking and seeing and hearing each other. And let’s start bringing our community back together.

And you don’t have to cook a thing…many of our local restaurants have prepared meals and menus tailored to take away choices, they’re ready to send it over to your house or make arrangements for you to pick it up.

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has assembled a list of over 60 restaurants and the list is growing.  You can find it on the WeHo Chamber website, and there’s a link to information on the City of West Hollywood’s coronavirus information page at weho.org (click on the woman with red hair) and every one of them can bring you the perfect meal. And don’t forget the gelato.

Don’t be alone if you don’t have to be, if you can, take advantage of the technology out there and invite a friend to Zoom on over for some ziti or share some farfalle over Facetime. You’ll remember how easy it was to hang out with your friends and how much it means to you. And of course you can always cook at home – even if you’re not a great cook – everything is better with a friend. And since you’re dining at home – no one gets stuck with bill. Bonus.

So plan to hang out with a friend or two – heck, host a dinner party for eight – tag your selfies (and your screenies) with #wehoDinnerConnect.

Whether you’re cheering on our healthcare workers or howling at the moon or writing emails to your elected officials about ways to make this all end as soon as possible, you still need some eye contact with your friends – talk about it over dinner. And remember that gossip isn’t going to spread itself.

Let’s all continue to remain calm. There are many different resources available at City Hall to help you during this crisis. You can check at weho.org or call (323) 848-6400. Take care of yourselves and each other. Wash your hands. Stay safe and be well. And as always if I can assist you with anything from the city you can reach me at (310) 498-5783 on my mobile or at jdamico@weho.org.

#wehoSTRONG. #wehoDinnerConnect

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Vigilant
Vigilant
5 months ago

Unfortunately this appears emblematic of West Hollywood….”party on” under any circumstances. This individual, the mayor, had many unique opportunities to engage with the community on serious aspects of this life changing event, particularly as it affected him physically and exponentially, and the community he presumably leads. Did he is only a question you can answer.

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
5 months ago

To The Three “J’s” you all rock what great ideas – and it does get pretty lonely and I am also thankful that John & Keith have come through this nightmare! Hopefully, we will all be back healthy and involved with our families, friends and communities as soon as it’s safe. Let’s focus on the positive and not slam those that may want to share an idea or suggestion, this isn’t the time for more negativity. Be well, be safe!!

Observer
Observer
5 months ago

I’ve been Skyping with friends for the last few weeks. I even use a form of Skype for my weekly therapy sessions. It’s great to see these people from close by to the other side of the country. Do it !

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
5 months ago

You aren’t FDR….so lets skip the personal sharing. You were elected to do a job, so do it. We don’t care what you do at home……that’s your business.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
5 months ago

Thanks John! This has motivated me to organize a Zoom dinner party with family members spread across the West Coast. And if it turns into family bickering that is bound to happen 45 minutes into any family meal….whoops! Forgot to upgrade my free Zoom account and gotta go! Love you all, good-bye! 🙂

Jimmy Palmieri
Jimmy Palmieri
5 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

dear josh….it’s nice to share…..dinner…not the conversation…. 🙂

Jimmy Palmieri
Jimmy Palmieri
5 months ago

Thanks for this John. Firstly, I am glad you and Keith are well. It must have been scary, but you made it through. I keep in contact with friends from my 12 step groups with zoom. I do at least two meetings a day. The greatest time is fellowship after the meeting. There is always about 10-15 minutes left to just chat. Or just listen. It is very difficult to continually be indoors for me when I am usually, never home. It is a bit of a culture shock. As you are doing, I have meals either on the phone… Read more »