“This is a good place,” he said.
“There’s a lot of liquor,” I agreed. ~ Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
It was a good day. The official “lockdown” of New York City begins on Sunday, March 22, so kind of as a last hurrah, I accompanied a friend into midtown. She had to drive another friend who is a cleaning maid for one of the buildings in the city. She had time to kill while she waited for her friend to finish her work, so I took the opportunity to go to my office to pick up a few files.
The city was empty. Not deserted, but empty for its usual standards. According to Wikipedia, “approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days.” As we passed by it yesterday, there were less than fifty people there, and this is a generous count.
My building was also empty, with the exception of the armed police in the front, and the man at the security desk. I took the elevator upstairs to my floor, and when I stepped out of the elevator, I was assaulted by the antiseptic smell and blinded by the brilliance of the shining floor and light fixtures. I don’t want to say that they went overboard with the cleaning, but well, they really did go overboard. It smelled like a hospital, and the extreme brightness of the lights gave me an eerie feeling of a mental institution, or what I would imagine a mental institution would be like.
I went into my office and picked up a few files and folders to take home. I felt sad when I was leaving and wondered to myself as to when I would be back again.
After her friend was finished with work, we thought to brave the grocery stores. We drove to about five different stores and all of them had long lines wrapped around the corner. To the crowd’s credit, they all practiced social distancing and everyone stood a few feet apart from each other.
We didn’t feel like waiting in the long lines, so we decided to just go into a Walgreen’s. I had already done my necessary shopping earlier this week, so I only ended up buying some plastic ice cube trays and a bag of chips. Our next stop before heading home was a little Vietnamese sandwich shop where we were allowed to enter only one person at a time. I ordered a pork belly sandwich to go. Next door was a wine shop where again, we we were only allowed to enter one person at a time. I bought two bottles of Prosecco and then went home.
No exercise for me today. I opted instead to catch up with my cousin in Chicago and went to bed early. I’m saving the Prosecco for a rainy day.