My kids always seem to choose Benihana. The flaming onion, much to my chagrin, never gets old to them! And we always go the same beloved bakery, Susie’s, for our cakes. At some point, I’ll usually get a little “me” time to play tennis or go for a hike.
None of those things happened this year, but in the midst of so much suffering and hardship, I know I should just be grateful to have had one.
The emails came flying. “Get your shot back up asap. We need you for the top of Cuomo.”
As Chris Cuomo and I digested the news on live TV, I rhetorically asked, “What’s that going to do to the state’s economy?”
“It’s going to tank it,” he shot back.
“If I have to attribute it to one thing, it has to be (San Francisco) Mayor London Breed’s foresight in calling state of emergency early, getting people to shelter in place early, and really just wonderful messaging of social distancing,” said Dr. Jahan Fahimi, an emergency room physician at UCSF.
Speaking by FaceTime, as is now customary for interviews, Fahimi said he believed the city has flattened the curve, though city officials say it’s still too early to know for sure.
Though nothing seems routine anymore, our house seems to have settled into one.
My kids, ages 13, 10 and 8, are getting comfortable with their respective schools’ online curriculum. Each has found a little corner of our home — whether it’s the kitchen or dining room — to fire up their devices and do Zoom video classes.
While I continue my reporting, my wife moves from child to child, overseeing their daily online classes and workload. Like many parents across the country, she’s had to become a homeschool teacher on top of all the other demands that come with being a mom.
Being a homeschool teacher, I quickly determined, is a much more difficult role than mine. My daughter completed a math assignment and needed to upload a picture of her work to her Google classroom page. “How do I this?” she asked.
Hmmm. It seems we’re all trying to problem solve — all the time.
Seeing their teachers and friends on video, I believe, has been a huge source of comfort for all of them.
The proverbial “we’re all in this together” has never been more true.
There has been the occasional mishap around the house. With their extra free time, my kids used some bungee cord to create a sling shot with a sled and accidentally put some big holes in our basement wall.
And my wife, unable to go to the salon, tried to color her hair and was horrified by the result. Jet black.
If that’s the worst of it, we’re in really good shape!
I must say getting around town is a pleasure these days. No traffic. The question is where do you go? It’s heartbreaking to see the boarded-up shops and shuttered restaurants. For those that are offering take-out service, lonely staff stand outside of their eateries to let passersby know they’re open for business, as I noticed the other day on Chestnut Street, one of the city’s most popular destinations.
Going to the neighborhood Target also proved to be a surreal experience. The frozen food section was practically bare and of course, no paper towels or toilet paper. A woman who appeared to be in her 70s seemed to be having a nervous breakdown in the checkout line when the credit card machine malfunctioned. “I just can’t stay in here much longer,” she said, her voice breaking.
The clerk assured her she would be on her way momentarily.
When it comes to running errands, I’ve usually been the one to go. My wife is much more hesitant to venture out and has become super cautious when taking our dog or children out on walks. When she sees someone nearby, she will dart in whichever direction to make sure there is much more than 6 feet of social distancing. I know she’s not alone, but it makes me wonder how long it will take people to relinquish this habit once the “stay-at-home orders” are lifted.
She’s definitely the cop.
“I’d wear your mask,” she’ll say referring to one of my leftovers from covering years of California wildfires. “Have you washed your hands?”
Truth is I’m grateful she’s following things to the letter of the law.
We all look for silver linings in a crisis. For me, it’s been spending additional time with family. We do common chores, go outside for walks and have our meals together. I hope the extra spirit of cohesion and togetherness sticks long after the crisis.
As for my birthday, my daughter baked me a cake. It had tons of rainbow sprinkles and M&Ms. It was delicious!