I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Friday, March 13, 2020

Urban poetry

It's really stretching the definition of “urban” to apply it to Hawkes Bay, Newfoundland, but this empty road, construction ditch, and lunch buffet sign feels too appropriate today.

We are all sheltering in place as much as possible while COVID-19 rages through the world. People who can work from home are doing that; those who can't, or can't afford to, are doing the best they can. New York isn't exactly a ghost town. The streets in my neighborhood don't seem any less crowded than they are on the average weekday; it may be quite different in the business districts.

I had to go to the post office yesterday though, and that was scarily empty. No one in line, and only one other customer, in the middle of the day when there would usually be a line of 10-15 people ahead of me.

I'd forgotten a few things at the grocery store, so stopped in yesterday evening, and found all the people who were missing at the post office. I've seen pre-hurricane panic buying several times there, but I had never seen lines like this: easily a hundred people and maybe twice that, their carts piled high with a month's worth of food. I wisely decided that they weren't likely to run out of vinegar and I could come back today. It was still unusually crowded this morning, but I was able to buy bread and milk -- and vinegar! -- and now I don't have to leave the apartment for a week if I don't want to.

I was supposed to be going to a retreat in Santa Cruz, leaving Wednesday. It was cancelled yesterday, but we'd already decided not to go, and had cancelled our flights and hotels. Today it's incredible to me that at the beginning of this week we were still planning to go. Everything has changed so dramatically, so fast.

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