We feel blessed to be in the kind of community that this Toluca Lake–Burbank area is. Considering we’re in the most populated state in the country, there’s still a small-town feel. We’re literally in the shadow of Universal Studios and Warner Bros., yet it’s still a small community in many ways, and that’s been a blessing.
We’re doing our best to stay healthy and entertained during this time. The fact that my wife is such a good cook — for many years she had a restaurant, Taste Chicago, in Burbank — has been an opportunity. We try to help the local restaurants by getting takeout when we can, but this situation also forces you to be imaginative and self-sufficient and realize that unexpected things can happen. We’re all in this together, and yet you have to count on yourself and take care of yourself. There are a lot of people out there who are going to be in dire need of public services, whether it’s police, fire department or medical, so it’s important to keep yourself healthy and together and be cautious so you can free up those resources for others. It forces you to be more thoughtful and realize that how you take care of yourself doesn’t just impact you now, it impacts everybody. The more demanding you are, the more it takes away from somebody who has a greater need than you do. We’re all turning into Boy Scouts, you know — be prepared.
We all have to do what we can do to help. Many of us from the cast of Criminal Minds recently did one of those things where everybody gets on a screen together, as part of a fundraiser for the World Health Organization. That’s something I was able to do on a global scale because of the line of work I’m in, but on the other hand, it can be as simple as just helping your neighbor by going to the store or sharing something that you have. The community can be as big as the world or it can be the person right next door. It’s just being aware of that, and any help you can offer. Right now people seem extra polite and understanding of what people are going through at a time like this, and it would be nice if we learned from that and maintained that when all this is over.
Thank God we’re in a time when it’s easier to stay connected. When I was a kid, it would have been a lot trickier — we would have been yelling over the fence to each other. These days of cellphones and FaceTime and Zoom and Skype, we have at least a way of seeing another person’s face virtually, even across the globe, which is such a blessing when travel is restricted and just getting out of the house becomes an adventure. I’m a big believer in technology, in terms of the evolution of people. We started with cavemen, and look where we are today! To me, that’s part of a belief in something greater than us — why do we evolve? There seems to be some sort of plan there. Right now, we’re caught in a very tough situation, and you can compare it to what happened in 1918 with the Spanish flu, but back then they didn’t have anywhere near the capabilities, knowledge and wherewithal that we have today. Hopefully we’ve learned things from that time to today, and hopefully we’ll learn things from this moving forward.
I think this event is going to change not just Toluca Lake, but every town around the world. It’s forced us all to be a little introspective and put everything on hold, like freeze-framing a movie. We have to take a pause, readjust, maybe reset, but it won’t be exactly the way it was. If we can take the good from that, whatever that may be, and apply it in the future, maybe we won’t be so cavalier about how comfortable things are and take things for granted. I think we’ve lost a lot and continue to lose a lot right now, but as we slowly get back to whatever that new normal will be, hopefully we’ll be a little better for it, in the midst of what obviously will have caused a great deal of pain and tragedy.
Like everybody’s saying, stay strong, stay safe, wash your hands, this too shall pass. I believe people get it, and we should all be grateful that we live in a community that makes it a little easier. Even though we can’t do it literally, we can virtually throw our arms around each other and be grateful that we live in this community. There are obviously many communities like this spread out across the world, and I’m just glad I’m a part of this one. This is the one I know, it’s the one I’m a part of and that my family’s a part of, and I would like to think that all of us collectively will be able to push forward and enjoy the benefits of living in a really nice environment like this.
Return to The State of the Village.