I ask myself: Were I still in the workplace, how would I cope? I would be horrified. I would be shaken to the core, humbled — wondering if I too would lose my job, and then how would I make my way through a decimated landscape? I think of all the people suddenly without a pay check, especially those with children.
This more intimate fear came to me from an aerial view on the nightly news of long long, evenly spaced lines in Dallas – well dressed people waiting patiently for hours for a box of food — a box of food — bringing dry tears to my eyes. Millions of proud, hard-working Ameriacans thrown into chaos and disarray.
Perhaps the one single factor that joins the nation is a shared preoccupation with “the curve.” When will it really flatten and stay flat? And when will it slide down? What I see is a line near a crest, stubbornly refusing to cooperate.
I am defaulting into food by delivery. Safeway came yesterday morning. And for lunch, I finally tried Door Dash, and ordered a Turkey meal from Boston Market. Delivery a clean efficient pleasure.
Nobody knows how long it will take for this lonely plague to pass, or how long it may take for the nation to fully recover. (The roaring twenties followed the 19l8 Spanish flu epidemic) The most promising news is that scientists are starting to find that far more people than originally assumed have already had the virus. This means, thus, that a much much smaller percent of those who die from Corona may only equal the annual flu rate, at around 0.1%.
But then, the media hysteria can’t let go, (gleefully?) reporting that Corona will likely return come fall, and with greater vengeance. Can you see them licking their chops over every new dark detail spelling more of the same? ABC’s David Muir, who has always struck me if to be riding a galloping horse while breathlessly delivering the news, must be deliriously charged.
Strangely, right and left wing are joining forces, louder and louder, behind one issue: We won’t take it anymore! Even here, in blue blue Oakland, I see people out on the sidewalks not wearing the now mandated mask. Particularly dog owners and their dogs. Can you blame anyone for wanting to get back to normal and to work? I can’t. They, too, must be respected.
To better understand a degree of the fear driving the anger, yesterday while walking to Piedmont Grocery, which I skipped -- the lines too long -- I ambled up the avenue, crossed the street to pass a comforting landmark founded in the 1970s, Gaylord’s, A funky coffee house that caters to students and creative types, at easy prices. I spent many nights there in younger years, either with pen and paper or laptop. Hold on ...
Ominously Dark. Ominously Empty. All the furniture gone. The inside, a gloomy shell of a great place thriving only weeks ago. It can’t be. This can’t have happened! Not a single sign in the window. The walls blank. Nothing there. For a time, they had been offering front of the store take out. I called their number, and got a recording --- the voice of the owner, I assumed:
Gaylord's has closed it doors. Thanks to everyone who has walked through the doors throughout the years.
These are the kind of small businesses having a hell of a time getting some of the money congress passed with fanfare, supposedly to help them through.. Remember Mom & Pop, you DC scoundrels? Too much, if not most, of your fake compassion ended up, in stead, in the coffers of regional and national chains. So am I to take it that “small” means anybody who is not a Facebook or a Google?
Yes, I can better understand — and appreciate — the rising anger of Americans aching for the status quo, demanding an end to shelter-in. The lives of millions are at stake. I now have a better idea of how it feels to be regulated into a mind set of caution and restraint, and how it it can turn you afraid of your own shadow. How it might be under a totally different form of government. Have they gone to far? Or am I?
The still-functioning Piedmont Café, years ago good an old-fashioned American restaurant with wood booths, still — without the wood separators — offers the same sizzling fare --- bacon and eggs and toast leading the parade. Ironically, it’s been owned for many years by a lovely group of Vietnamese. Sunday mornings can rock with crowds lined up for a sit down at this non-glamorous but cozy space. It bubbles. And they are still hanging on, it would appear, for take out. I went in this morning to take out a large croissant, and I handed the woman a bigger bill to keep, telling her how glad I was they were still there. Her smile was bigger than her mask.
The loss of Gaylord's is a blow to Piedmont avenue, as would be the loss of the Piedmont Café and so many other homed-grown stores — another blow to the binding social fabric of locally owned, served, understood, affirmed.
No human contact required.