First Walk During the Pandemic

I went to the Post Office today, the first day I’ve been out in ten days. I was wearing a mask and was aware of my own breathing because it was totally quiet—all the construction that has been going on everywhere has stopped—so not only could I hear my breath, I could see it steaming up my glasses with each exhalation. I could hardly see.

My compost drop off site is closed. The sign said go to the corner, but when I did, there was nothing there but the sanitation trash can where I did throw the compost in thinking it will biodegrade wherever it goes, so that was a little bit of optimism.

At the Post Office I had to fill out a customs form, but my mask definitely was putting my glasses in a fog, so I just kept cleaning them only to have them steam right up again as soon as I put them back on. But it got done. There was only one line and feet were painted on the floor to help folks keep their distance. One lady who wanted to pick up her mail because of a broken mail box was going to make a fuss because the regular line for that was not there, but just as she was about to—and she did look a little crazy—everybody looking at her was wearing (so was she) a mask, so she thought better of it, and instead of making the fuss she was about to make, she went to the end of the one line in peace.

At CVS everything was covered in plastic like somebody was getting ready to paint the walls and ceiling. I got a high blood pressure pill, a generic Lotrel. I do take a water pill too, and a baby aspirin, and at night half an Ibuprofen PM—but actually at the age of 70 I really would only need to take the Lotrel, but who wants swollen ankles, so I do take the water pill too. And the baby aspirin is for just in case, and the half Ibuprofen is to help me sleep.

I stopped to take a picture of Third Avenue looking north—no traffic coming at me, and there was no traffic coming behind me either; so I could simply stand there; it was really kind of only me. When I got to my final destination, the Farmers Market at Union Square, on a Wednesday it would have been packed with people sliding by people with dogs and baby carriages to put up with, but not today. It was open I was glad to see, though there was no compost drop off there either, and when I went to look at a bag of apples, a man hollered, “Don’t touch! Don’t touch!” I had to point to the two bags I wanted. He left them on the counter way off to the left and I handed him the exact amount which he happily took warily.

All the fruit and vegetable street vendors are gone, sad to say because I like to get tomatoes, cucumbers and figs when they are in season from a particular vendor at 1st Avenue and 6th Street. I want my vendor! And the Bengali Spice Store across the street from him, much to my surprise, was closed as well. Oh no! I had wanted to get ingredients to make a raisin walnut bread. “They are open,” Akram told me when I got home, “but after 11.” Akram was teaching his class on Zoom so I didn’t want to disturb him. The bread will have to wait.

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