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March 23, 2020

Updated: May 28

What a difference one month makes…

Twenty-five days ago I was casually reflecting on the relatively infrequent times personal history appears in the fiction presented in And since then, well…

My first real glimpse into realizing this coronavirus pandemic was about to soar off into unknown territories was when the entire NBA season was suddenly put on hold. The previous week had produced almost casual musings about the possibility of playing games with no fans present, which I’d figured was preposterously unlikely. (In a way, in hindsight, I guess I was right…) To my initial shock, and seemingly without warning, the plug was soon pulled on the whole enterprise instead.

Then, here in New York City, all of Broadway went dark. Museums suddenly closed. Concerts and events were cancelled. I began to finally realize that we as a nation were in for some hard times.

I pondered the wisdom of going on a fourteen-day quarantine myself. Two months earlier, I’d been hit with some kind of sinus infection; perhaps a sudden leap into solitary confinement would be a responsible move on behalf of my Upper West Side neighbors. In fact, for all I knew my semi-diagnosed malady had been the coronavirus all along. I’d been spending some time in Chinatown, after all; my doctor’s location is in the bustling cluster of Mott Street, and the court house for a two-week round of jury duty was only a block or two away.

After reading about how even the non-symptomatic could be carriers of COVID-19, I asked for my doctor’s opinion on whether or not I should be tested, out of an abundance of caution - which was about three weeks before those words became a commonly-used phrase. Though my concerns were valid, the path towards getting a test was damn near impossible to navigate. My doctor and I decided to monitor my recovery on our own. The sorry state of our testing capabilities was evident to me right away.

The stock market soon joined me in recognizing trouble on the horizon. Schools began to close. The constant battering of televised updates became impossible to avoid.

But still - the concept of all bars and restaurants in New York City closing down seemed inconceivable to me as recently as two weeks ago. I myself was working on Mondays at a bar ten blocks away from my studio apartment. But then, on a quiet, seemingly-normal Sunday afternoon, I could sense a major decision was on the brink of being made. After the no-longer shocking announcement came, mine was the first Happy Hour shift at “Radio Amsterdam” to be canceled.

And now - here we are…

We are living real history in real time. The whole world is concerned. Hopefully we can all do our best to help, as they say, “flatten the curve” - another new phrase that has suddenly become commonly-used. Some are quarantining alone, others with family members and pets. Though it’s impossible at this point to determine how long this crisis will last, hopefully moments of levity and neighborly concern will arrive to lighten the journey we’re now facing. While isolation is bound to remain an unwelcome fact of life at the present time, personal tales of survival will one day become - hopefully - a shared experience.

We need to be safe and smart while holding fear and anxiety at bay. I’m thinking we’ll all somehow rise to the occasion.

We’ll see.

I’ll report back in one month!


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