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Keep These COVID Changes, Ditch the Rest 

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JON WILCOX
  • JON WILCOX

Keep

Dressing for Yourself

Zoom meetings and remote teleconferencing may be inferior to in-person communication in innumerable ways, but one manner in which it has been a damn blessing is when it comes to our wardrobes. Suddenly all of the rules for sartorial success were thrown out the window, and comfort became the only law of the land. As the old saying goes, "No one knows you're naked on a conference call," [EDITOR'S NOTE: IS THAT A SAYING?] and boy have we proven that timeless adage to be true again and again over the last twelve months. [WHAT?!] Working from home in nothing but a towel, coming up with new and exciting parts of the body to pull socks over, learning that a long-sleeve shirt can function just as well covering the lower half of your body as the top (better in some bathroom-related ways, even) — it's been a wild, wild ride. Heading into post-pandemic life, we should definitely keep that energy up. I mean, who knew it was possible to go a full year without wearing pants? [CALL ME WHEN YOU SEE THIS, DANIEL, WE NEED TO TALK.]

— Daniel Hill

Keep

Wearing Masks If We Might Be Sick

Flu numbers were way down this season, and that's because most of the country was keeping their ugly, germy faces covered. The best way to cut down on cooties of any kind is to strap some cloth to your face hole. Now that we all have masks, if you have to go out in public in the future while you have the sniffles, do everyone a favor and slap a mask on that thing.

—Jaime Lees

Leave Behind

Squeezing and Pressing the Flesh of Your Hands with the Flesh of Other People's Hands

Picture this: You walk into a job interview, nerves are high and you begin to feel self-conscious about the weird way you set down your briefcase next to your chair. You lean over the desk to greet your interviewer, arm jolting out from your side to meet theirs. Here comes the most pivotal moment of the interview: a firm handshake with your potential employer, the handshake that will determine whether you deserve $50,000 a year plus health coverage and dental.

Your palms slap together, and you clench your hand around theirs tightly. You feel confident in your grip until that devastating moment arrives: The warm juices of your nervous inner palm are transferred to theirs. You meet their gaze with fear in your eyes, as they look in horror at their hand, now covered in the profuse secretions of your anxiety. You can kiss your hopes and dreams of casual Fridays and taco Tuesdays in the office goodbye. You will wake up in a cold sweat thinking about this moment for years to come.

Smacking the flesh of our hands against a stranger's hand is weird, no matter what illness is ravaging our society. The pandemic has fundamentally changed us all. I pray that it has changed our post-pandemic greetings in the same way. Let's leave our germy handshakes to the clueless versions of ourselves from 2020.

—Riley Mack

Keep

To-Go Cocktails (It's a Start)

To-go alcoholic beverages came to St. Louis at just the right time. Granted, we'd have been happy to see them come along at any point since it's been legal for us to drink — but right at the start of a global pandemic? We were really damn thirsty, and that timing was perfect. As COVID-19 begins to fade from our lives and things settle back down, why don't we take our new love of alcohol on the go to the next level? It's time for this city to embrace the NOLA concept of walkaround drinks. Imagine bar-hopping in the Grove or on Cherokee Street with full rein to bring your beverages with you from place to place. Imagine hitting the Loop for an afternoon of shopping, grabbing a cocktail from Three Kings and marching gleefully down the street with it. We at RFT have been saying for a while now that the one thing that could save the Loop Trolley would be to convert it into a rolling bar and phone-charging station — why don't we seize the day and finally make this a reality? The time is now. If not now, then when?

—Daniel Hill

Leave Behind

Tongue Kissing

Ew. Absolutely abhorrent. "Tongue?!" everyone should be saying. "No thank you. I learned my lesson about germs during that pandemic."

I'm not certain of the number of bacteria transmitted every year through French kissing, but I'm sure it's a lot. Think about all of the other ways you can tell someone you like them: a nice card, a pat on the back, an affirming smile at just the right moment. And none of those things makes someone whose girlfriend recently broke up with them uncomfortable if they're sitting behind you on the bus while you perform them.

Yes, French kissing is really unsafe and we should get rid of it. It will be like wearing a bike helmet, except it involves the lack of doing an activity — all the easier to achieve!

And if said person on the bus taps your shoulder and says, very softly, kindly, "Excuse me, could you not do that? I'm going through a hard time right now because my girlfriend just broke up with me and it's really been tough," well, you should also turn your attention to this grieving soul and comfort them, not rudely glare before re-starting your aggressive germ exchange. And then maybe when that person gets up and sits somewhere else on the bus, don't throw gum in his hair, because he's self-conscious about his hair and that makes him think you don't like it.

It's a public health crisis!

—Jack Killeen

Keep

Expanding Sidewalks, Devoting Less Space to Cars

It was two years ago on the sidewalks of Paris, as I lolloped along with a crepe in hand, that I realized the structural malpractice besetting our nation: Our roads are too big, and our sidewalks are too small (Paris seems to have found an equilibrium between the two).

I think of this problem especially in commercial districts. Take the Delmar Loop. Parking spots line nearly every section of road from Kingsbury to Skinker. Cars dispute with jaywalking pedestrians over the right of way. Restaurants reach the end of their sidewalk after a few tables and chairs.

With the pandemic, we've had a break from this. As anyone who's been to the Loop in the past year has seen, restaurants like Salt + Smoke have been allowed to advance their dining tables into the street, behind barriers, for the sake of safer dining. And it's really nice. Sitting there with a pint and a mask, things seem more committed to being rather than going.

The discussion of city planning and cars can continue ad nauseam (cars, cars, cars, cars), and while it deserves a thorough examination — especially in St. Louis, where public transit is laughable and the sight of Manchester Road, with its sprawling asphalt, endless cars and tree-less horizon, incites a tenacious depression — this is not the time or place. For now, let's hope that what's happened in the Loop shows the benefits of prioritizing pedestrians over traffic. After all, it doesn't take much math to realize that the economic gain from giving a restaurant two parking spots' worth of sidewalk outweighs that of reserving the space for cars. And, like I said, it's nice.

—Jack Killeen

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