Matte’s Blog

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 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 more patiently than others.

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 at about 23rd Street.

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  1. ckm3
    Posted 7 December 2013 at 09:18 | Permalink

    For most people, what stays in Las Vegas is the money.

    Most excellent turning of the phrase

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 7 December 2013 at 14:26 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  2. Chimpus_Dorkus
    Posted 21 December 2013 at 19:59 | Permalink

    Ouch. Poor bb, here’s hoping you have some good holidays etc to cheer you up and a speedy recovery.
    Be careful, will ya?!?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 21 December 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

      The holidays are most definitely cheerful, the recovery is progressing apace, and the caution level has been dramatically increased.

  3. Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Thank you for remembering Barry. And for loving him, as I did. I am glad he got to see a loving face before he died. You are right, he wanted to go out on his terms and it was never going to be pretty. Barry, even though he’d be cleaned up, was always disappointed after falling or having a heart attack, being picked up by ambulance, treated and then dumped right back onto the streets… He gave up hope for a place indoors after realizing that even that level of frailty was not enough to deserve housing in this city. he did admit to me he would have preferred to live inside. As you said, he was not crazy. 🙂 Again, thanks for the love and kindness you and others showed him. I know he appreciated it.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:26 | Permalink

      Since i wrote that account i’ve been back to the makeshift shrine several times and have talked with folks who knew him longer than i, people who were also there the afternoon before he died and to whom he also expressed very clearly that he did not want to go to the hospital. Some of the people who knew him better are organizing a little wake for him on the 1st of February, and i’ll post more details here as i learn them. Meanwhile, a useful resource is, with an article on 22 Jan that has extensive comments.

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