April 20, 2020: Self portrait with a large aubergine, a surgical mask, and an awkward moment.
I went out on Tuesday evening to purchase an eggplant from the veggie market on the corner. It normally takes roughly 8 minutes, my-door to my-door, and $1.75 to collect a sizable eggplant from the Lydig Pick-n-Pack.
When I got home, the Amazon delivery guy - smaller than me and certainly no older than 19 - was struggling with a massive, heavy dolly, which was stacked as high as it could go. I don’t know who’s sick around here and who isn’t, as there are 60-some apartments in this building and this is a mind-your-own-business kind of a town anyway, but I do know that some folks are getting all their essentials delivered so they never have to go outside at all. Which is good.
I could have held the door for him, like I normally would, or helped pick up the packages when they alllll fell off the dolly, twice, but in order to do either of those things I’d have had to squeeze past him with zero inches to spare.
I did try to smile at him sympathetically from my post outside on the sidewalk, but with the better part of my face covered by the mask and my glasses all fogged up from my breathing wetly into said mask, I’m not sure it translated.
A few of the shops are starting to open up again around here, which is encouraging. We have a lot of small business on our main drag and I know they’ll have been hard hit, and there are a few gems I’d hate to see suffer.
I always think that times of crisis are likely times when populations redistribute themselves, geographically or otherwise - people leave town temporarily and never come back, people realize they can’t bear the thought of returning to their daily routine and….don’t. At the moment, the sketchy-looking people in the park by the subway station have left and the regular-looking people, who’ve been inside for months, have reclaimed it, along with an exuberant patch of daffodils (though frankly, they're a little much).
And I was pleased to notice yesterday that the tamale vendors have returned to their post beneath the subway stairs, although they seem to be involved in a tense stand off with the facemask hawker who claimed the spot in their absence. As a staunch and unwavering supporter of Sofia’s Tamales, I RATHER POINTEDLY purchased some salty snacks (duros? I think they’re called duros) from them to make my allegiances clear.
In any event, this week I drew a sliver of our neighborhood, largely still closed. And animated it lightly.
May 3, 2020: I went outside yesterday for the longest I’ve been out in weeks. There’s a small park across the street that we never really use, I suppose because it’s near the subway station and provides a shortcut between that and two bus stops, and as patches of grass go, it’s normally not the greenest. But I sat there yesterday, in the sun, in the grass, for a whole couple of hours, talking on the phone and eyeing passers-by with suspicion from behind my mask, because passers-by were eyeing ME with suspicion, also from behind their masks, so it seemed like the thing to do. It’s possible that that little park was always lovely and I just never bothered to notice the blooming trees and the little tulip garden in the beforetimes, or maybe it’s grown lovely from disuse (unfortunately the same cannot be said of me).
The first warm day of spring always reminds me of the last warm day of the previous summer - roughly anyway - so this week I drew the scene I found in my hallway one afternoon late last summer, on one of those hot, quiet, and spooky days, when I left my apartment to head downtown for a gig at the Dead Rabbit. It was very definitely not my birthday, there was no one around, and there were no audible parties in the building. I prefer to think that it just escaped for all the same reasons any of us would like to escape. It wasn’t there when I got home late that night, so I can only assume that it found what it was looking for.