March 2020

The Plague

Who’d have thought that a nasty little Chinese bat could have wrought such havoc!

It was only a week and a half ago that Mayor Breed’s shutdown order took effect; and, I suppose like many others, I’m still in a state of shock as I adjust to it and fret over coming events.

When I do go out, it’s like dystopian fiction with mostly empty streets. I saw a stunning photo the other day taken from a point high above the Golden Gate Bridge looking directly down at the entire roadbed….with one car visible on the whole span.

And then there’s continually gentrifying, throbbingly popular Valencia Street whose crowded bike lanes are my conduit to many of my merchants that are now closed unlike my main grocery store and my second-favorite farmers’ market that aren’t.

The effect of the shutdown is dramatic. On lower Valencia increasing numbers of businesses have boarded up their windows. The street and sidewalks are largely deserted since the only places still open are the restaurants clinging desperately to life by doing takeout.

Well, except for Clooney’s bar at 25th Street that’s of course like all bars closed in accordance with the edict, but it turns out that the owner is resourceful and has managed to keep some revenue flowing in while simultaneously delighting passers-by and providing work and a paycheck for some employees. His painted-over window onto Valencia? He’s reworked it so that it opens, and through it he’s selling food items and non-alcoholic beverages. Alas, lasted only one day before the humorless, jackbooted, ABC thugs nailed the window shut.

I’m coping just fine with the shutdown since all the food and meds I need are readily available, at least so far. More importantly, all my friends are in this fabulous frenzy of communication and well wishing, so I’m spending half my day typing responses and initiating queries.

The only downside is that I’m now so occupied with reading/listening to all these new things that I’m not preserving produce that is sitting in the refrigerator waiting, some of it more patiently than the rest.

I look into the future and foresee an accessory that many of us will be wearing for our own protection – a thermometer on a chain around our neck so that we can, on demand, prove that we don’t have a temperature.

Meanwhile, one of my more interesting doorways, this one formerly nondescript but now vibrant off Valencia on 18th Street.

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