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The COVID chronicles - March 21 - a calm duck and a bustling food market

I didn’t get to sleep until 3 AM last night, I was wired and excited about doing my first online live art journal class.  But then I was up again at 6 AM.  A whole 3 hours of sleep.  

Morning was time on my phone, messaging my friend in LA and a phone call with my BFF here.  Ideas brewing, support, reaching out.   

Another round of tears from my daughter, but we brainstormed on ways to have socially distant interactions with local friends - an outdoor movie projector against our tiny garage door with chairs apart from each other.  Scooter rides at a distance in the park, I will give extra hugs to make up for what she is missing.  I need to make new canvas covers for the chairs from some fabric that has been sitting around for years.  I can honestly say it will get done.  

I’ve barely been eating, but am thankful for the big container of grits that a friend brought over from the states before the madness ensued.  

I get Bonnie-Blue organized with a virtual play date with her friend and take my time getting out the door.  The dog needs a walk and the river path out the front door has plenty of people who need fresh air.  I’ve never seen so many people jogging.  Pretty soon I’m going to start giving air high fives to this crew.  But that’s another project.  

And then I see this duck.  A symbol of strength and Mother Nature and life.  I send a copy to my mom who I know will paint it beautifully.  

I set up the hammock in the backyard to get her fresh air.  Screen time restrictions are out the window right now. 

My bike is my new friend and I get organized to go over to Dalston to the produce market.  The guy at my favorite stall now calls me hon.  Since there were only apples at the CO-OP yesterday, I need to stock up.  I’ve been juicing regularly and go through the produce quickly.  So I get going.

I’m still new to the biking on the streets and wear my crazy bright vest.  Ideas of doing a fringed fluorescent vest for music festivals used to seem like a good idea.  Now I want to create a neon something something for biking on the the streets of London.  

I roll out of the house and past the Mayflower Pub, where the ship set sail.  Flowers outside, I think it will endure the restaurant closure order that hit yesterday.  People at the park on the hill.  Some in clusters, some socially distant.  Then I start to navigate the busier roads.  To stay to the right of a bus when it stops?  Is it OK to go in the wrong direction on a one way street?  #askingforafriend.  

I just follow the cool bikers who seem to know what’s going on.  The people on the rented Santander bikes seem more like they’re out for a stroll.  I’m looking for pro tips instead, I stick with the people who look like they’ve been doing this bike routine for awhile.  I call it “Follow the Leader.”  

I head over to London Bridge and muse about making this bike ride thing a regular part of my commute to Dalston.  It will be for now.  When things return to a semblance of normalcy, who knows.  Hmmmm.  Past the Shard, over London Bridge, thankful for my obnoxious vest that screams out - middle aged mom on a bike.  Beware.

Past the empty Dicken’s-esque cobblestone streets of the City of London, consulting my Citymapper App along the way.  Socially distant is working just fine now.  I start to see the hipsters in Shoreditch who are embracing face masks just fine.  Past Great Art, my favorite art supply shop.  Still open?  I love them, but I have a year’s worth of art supplies and I want them all to go home.  Still going, and noticing the homeless who seem more visible now.  They seem more desperate.  Who is taking care of them?  Time for a bit of cash - I sanitize my hands after I touch the machine.  I feel like the whole world has cooties.  I’ve never been this person.  The only time I was like this was when my daughter got pink eye.  Then I got it.  

To the market.  Social distance isn’t even considered.  I move quickly, make space as I can and make a note that next time I’m wearing my NO SNOGGING face mask and gloves.  I will arrive right when it opens.  Where are the protocols to keep the crowds from getting too close?  Apples, oranges, strawberries, avocados, pears and limes.  Some fresh herbs.  I hand my fruit guy a card with my phone number on it and tell him that I biked all the way to see him from across town.  Please call me if you close down, I will take deliveries.  Or I’ll bike over and do a box of a pickup.  

Back on the bike with a heavy load.  I have replaced my big noise canceling headphones with smaller earbuds that still allow for the sound of traffic, the soundtrack to provide a sense of normalcy to what’s going on.  A note at the Vietnamese restaurant in Hoxton brings me back to reality - takeout only.  

And then the song “This is the Day” by The The comes up on my playlist. An understatement.

I‘m almost home and run into another mom, a friend from school.  We have a socially distant chat and finally get home.  Dave washes all of the produce and I take a shower.  I’m now considering where / how to put my coat and outerwear when I get home.  I have the time to set this all up now.  As the world pivots, my mindset shifts.  One part of my mind feels in the here and now, another feeling in a different dimension.  

A two hour nap to recover from all of this and my daughter needs some quality time.  I catch a glimpse of her dancing with Dave through the open door.  He’s playing “Colours” by Beck and playing along on the piano.  

I read her a few pages of a Francesca Lia Block short story that brings me back to LA and the 80’s, I love it.  We watch “NO GOOD NICK,” just the two of us.  Dave joins us for our new favorite, “THE HEALING POWERS OF DUDE.”  We pause the show when I hear the name of my friend Rachel Weisberg being referred to as a girl’s favorite designer.  The show is over and the credits roll.  My mind starts to do the math - this is the show that Rachel’s brother and wife wrote.  This is the show where she went to Vancouver to help them out while filming.  This is the show that is making my little family all laugh and snuggle.  Life works in magical ways for sure, delivering a gift of laughter mysteriously but in a familiar way, though a friend.  Then I hear the line - “SANITY IS PLANETARY.” Way before this crisis, but oh so appropriate.  

Bonnie-Blue goes to sleep, Dave as well.  I head downstairs to write this and take a break to chat with my friend Angela.

 

Two weeks ago we were shopping at Liberty’s and strolling leisurely in Shoreditch.  14 days later it’s a whole different world.  It’s time to publish this and rest.  Mother’s Day is tomorrow.  Maybe Dave will make me pancakes and fresh juice and I will get breakfast in bed.  

 

 


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