There has been no dearth of literature on the situation we all find ourselves in. No one is unaffected. Wherever you are reading this, you are trying to figure out what next? Who should you believe? What’s your personal plan of action? How are you going to stay sane?
Fellow scribes of mine, blessed (or cursed) with the penchant to write, are at a loss. I know. I’ve woken up every day for a week wondering what to say. I have no obligation to create a column. My words will save no lives. They’re still delivering pizza and I just bought a new Roku for my old TV. I can binge-watch missed shows ’til doomsday. So on the eve of what is about to become darned near a nationwide “Hunker-in-place” mandate, I finally summonsed the muse out of hibernation. It’s been spring-like in New York and the images have been striking. Some have filled me with hope, others left me in tears.
I flew back to the city last Monday after a near solid month of travel encompassing 30,000 miles, 3 continents and 2 coasts. I said goodbye to my wife in Chicago, fully aware that we may not see each other for awhile. I stopped by my office in Manhattan to field a few calls and take a deep breath. The full scope of the crisis hit me as I rode home on the subway to Brooklyn. No chance I would be seeing NYC for a long time.
The first few days on the streets sported an almost carnival-like atmosphere. Music blared out of windows and people queued up to support local businesses, buying takeout Lobster mac & cheese and beer. Ohhh, we kept our distance, but we NYers occupy very small apartments and we don’t lie down to adversity easily.
As the news grew grimmer, however, reality set in. This was serious shit and no telling when it might end. My son was home and quarantined from his semester interruptus in Berlin. Suddenly you have two grownups figuring out how to co-exist in 700 square feet of railroad flat space. Days are long, nights even longer. Not a week in and I was already trying to mete out my whisky consumption. And after my daily latenight dose of obsessive Anderson & Rachel and (god love ‘im) Chris Cuomo, it’s amazing what suddenly looks good on TV.
As we soldier on, the only thing I’m sure of is everyone’s got their angle and no one knows a thing. Except that whatever alarm bells you go to bed with clanging in your head, they’re going to be different the next morn.
Late this afternoon the Park looked like the first day of spring. But as dusk settled in, an eerie quiet settled over Brooklyn. As if we were collectively holding our breath. Prognostication, in my humble opinion, is a losing proposition best left for the pundits holed up with their Skype. Me, I’m betting on the long game – a long time to get through it, but in the long run we will. For now, I’ll fire up that Roku and we’ve got plenty of dry pasta and wine. The rest is on us, all of us, to do the right thing.