Cabin Fever Overcame Me This Morning
Last night I slept well, had nice dreams. but I was feeling a bit anxious when I awoke. I’d been in for 5 days straight. So I did a meditation, went back to sleep. Awoke again, still feeling antsy. I decided today would be the day to escape the apartment for that exercise walk that the guv’nor allows. I bagged the garbage to bring downstairs and suited up. I grabbed my authentic N-95 mask today, a neck scarf, hat, and sunglasses. I wore my gloves, loaded my shopping cart, filled my pockets with baggies of disinfectant wipes. After dumping the trash I pushed my old-lady shopping cart across the street into the park. It was a gray and overcast day, so not as many people were in the park as yesterday. Yesterday the sun came out and no lie, I felt like Joe Bataan singing, “What good is a playground full of love beneath your windowpane… ” I felt like a prisoner watching folks enjoying the park. I also was alarmed that so many folks were enjoying the park. I wanted to scream, go home. But all day long there was a steady stream of kids playing, falling in the dirt, having picnics with their parents in tow. Aye. There are not enough people in the city taking this seriously. I never thought I’d be one to advocate stomping all over our inalienable rights and dictator us into complying. But just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, I’m trying to strike the right balance between liberty and death.
If You Had Enough Pandemic Facts Pass Over This Part
Right now New York City is the epicenter of the pandemic. I live in Harlem, a historic neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan. There has been an explosion of positive Covid19 cases here. So far today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the five boroughs of New York City, there are approximately 15,000 people who have tested positive. The thing is there are not enough tests and there are reports of people at home who are sick and untested. The 15,000 in New York City breaks down today to 3800 in Queens, 3700 in Brooklyn, 2600 in Manhattan, (I don’t know the specific number of cases for Harlem), 1900 in da Boogie Down Bronx and 877 in Staten Island.
New York, New York, the Big Apple—so nice they named it twice. We get more of everything, right? Well, it’s no fun being in the epicenter of a pandemic, unless of course we have more resources and handle it better which could be a silver lining. But the United States sucks in being prepared. We are reacting rather than being proactive. Fish smells from the head so we can attribute or blame it on the resident-in-chief of the White House. But I digress. We need a whole entire blog on that alone. Right now, in NYC, we are in something stupidly called a “Pause” because Cuomo (our governor) and DeBlasio (our mayor) fight like boys on the playground who like the same girl. DeBlasio had called for a “Sheltering in Place” first. Since DeB beat him to the punch, Cuomo insisted we were not going to do that, until we did and he chose another name to call it hence: “Pause.” He didn’t have to tell me to pause. I’ve been pausing for at least two weeks. I’ve been vigilant about keeping safe. Y’all saw my ninja T-shirt masks I made a week ago. if not, see Pandemic Blog Post 2.
Perfect Gray Day to Walk the Park
No sun shone in the park today. Nevertheless, It was perfect for social-distancing—pandemic lingo for keeping 6 feet away from anyone else, based on the distance the virus can be sprayed from someone’s mouth. Now we all know folks who spit when they speak. Hell, my teeth have me spitting on folks all the time. After having to say sorry and back up too often, I’ve learned to distance, whether I knew the term for it or. not. Plus I don’t like people all up in my face anyway. phThe daffodils on the hill were bright yellow and white and there were lilac and pink hyacinth too. I only took a few photos cause I’m already hoarding toilet paper, I don’t need to hoard photos of daffodils too; plus my gloves were not cooperating despite the raised bumps that claim they are tech tactile. Seeing the loyal daffodils that return each Spring no matter the harshness of the winter was comforting to me. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the universe is unfolding as it should. I walked past the pond and there was the white Cormorant-like bird that stands in proud solitude on its banks preying on unsuspecting fish swimming close by. More proof that the only thing out of order was the pandemic. I walked on around the baseball field, newly greened, and encountered only a few people—an unmasked couple pushing an unmasked toddler in a stroller; a jogger who whisked past without alerting me; a young woman, unmasked and ungloved, taking pictures of her dog rolling about with a stick on the hillside, and an odd unmasked man who stopped to admire the frolicking dog and the unmasked young woman.
I stopped often to allow passers-by their 6 to10 feet. You go ahead, I can wait, I demonstrated with my hands. I had to stop and wait and let the family of three get themselves out of the playground—yes the toddler was sliding on the playground equipment. They were about 20 feet ahead of me when I decided to stop and put more distance between myself and the playground dust that trailed them—telltale signs of an imprudent frolic. While standing back off the walkway to allow the family’s dust to settle, I looked up in time to catch a pair of hawks soaring from their home in the eaves of St. John’s Cathedral to a rooftop half a block away. The hawks wingspan, half as long as I am tall, made for a seamless flight in the gray skies. Contentedly lost in the blessing of soaring hawks in an overcast sky, I continued on my way along the narrow path circumscribing the ball field. A Parkie with a huge broom pushing water to the edge of the ball field was headed my way. I stopped in my tracks about 15 feet away because it looked like he wasn’t going to. He stopped within 10 feet of me and beckoned me to come. Cool, I felt he knew the rules, even though he too was unmasked and ungloved. As I began to pass him, I nodded a thank you. Can you believe that fool opened his mouth and sent pleasantries my way? Something to the effect of, “You’re welcome Ma’am, have a nice day.” WTF? What’s wrong with people. Doesn’t he know this is a pandemic and nobody wants his damn pleasantries if they arrive on the aerosol from his mouth? Beneath my mask, scarf, glasses, and hat, I held my breath until I was about to pass out and hauled ass away from that fool. When I cleared his area I looked back and he had the nerve to be shaking his head. I made a beeline toward home, but not before waving to a neighbor riding his bicycle. He didn’t know who I was, I didn’t realize I looked so strange until I took that photo on the way out of the park. He started towards me, “Saying who’s that?” I yelled out, “No, don’t come near me, stay there. ” Lol. I cracked my own self up all the way home with that foolishness. The neighbor looked bewildered but pretended to know who I was. After I saw the picture I knew there was no way in hell he recognized me in that getup. I didn’t even know myself. I got into the building with no other encounters. No one was in the lobby-good!. The elevator doors opened just as someone was coming through the lobby door. I pressed the close door button so fast and this time the door obeyed. It closed right in front of the person’s face. I was not sorry. No manners in a pandemic. Standing dead center of the elevator I gloated on that feat all the way to my floor. Otherwise, I was prepared to give my neighbor the whole- damn elevator. I won’t be going out again for a while. I got more exercise from my avoidance hijinks than from the walk itself. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay In, If you can. Peace and Love.