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CHRONICLES OF COVID, episode 1000

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I’ve been taking bigger and bigger walks in preparation for an appointment with my pain management doctor whose office is far.  I realize that sounds contradictory, but I’m still holding off on taking public transport and I want to be pain-free. I dragged my pup along on this practice walk. She gets to ride side saddle so we make faster time, and then I let her walk back home with her own four feet.

It was a gorgeous day. The city grimness disappeared in the glorious weather and fine architecture of the West Village. Not like other areas these days that could easily serve as locales for the next zombie film. No, the West Village was alive, like Liz Taylor in Cat on the Hot Tin Roof. The hungry, and horny crowds were dancing around the outdoor barkeeps, who with their rolled-up sleeves, beckoned the thirsty cave dwellers, looking for respite with a real first professionally poured drink.

I haven’t been much of a drinker since hitting my head on a metal toilet paper dispenser a year ago.  I passed on the hard stuff and instead opted for a d scone. I liked the place, especially as there were two chairs available in front and my shoulder needed a break from carrying the pooch.

Inside, a young woman barista encouraged me to have a latte because they also had a bathroom. This is an important detail when you’re practicing walking and indeed it would take a long time to get home. While she was foaming the milk, I remarked on how cool it was that she wrote her name on her mask. That way people could say. Hello…Hello, who, because I couldn’t quite make out the writing where her chin made a crease across the letters. “Bayona, I asked.

She looked at me with wide eyes, like I was an idiot. Breonna, she said, Breonna, it’s for Breonna. Yes, yes, I knew who Breonna Taylor, the 26-year old medical technician who was shot by the Louisville police was, and told her so immediately. I also shared that I march, too, and wasn’t the white privileged coffee drinker with a poodle she might have mistaken me as.  Of course, she wasn’t thinking those things, but I left her a large tip just in case. After all, I have a reputation.

It had been a hard week, so strolling and pretending it was just a normal Sunday seemed to be the right thing to do. But it wasn’t easy. Boarded up shops were as sad as many of the worn-down faces. Of course, there were some happy people, probably tourists. I say tourists because they wore no mask and were laughing like they were in a Prince’s “1999” music video.

Shutting them out, my thoughts went to B-Sister, a member of my writers’ group. Lately, the group was meeting in a garden after months of zooming our sessions. ‘ This would be the first time B was making it to our session, coming in from Brooklyn.

B is hard to describe…fiercely intelligent, big E extroverted and makes delicious fun of herself in her outrageous one woman shows. B- never enters quiet but on this day, she was explosive. She had taken the subway for the first time, and right before had gotten into a tossup with someone over how to make collard greens. That, on top of corona, teaching science on zoom, the BLM movement and her own fine knowledge of black history, was just too much for her soul.  She was pissed. After a bit and some sherry, her rage settled into tears and we reassured her that it was ok to release the pain.  Certainly, each of us could relate; we all had felt versions of persecution, but B is Black and that’s the story of right now. Hell, I didn’t even realize until she shared, that Black people from the Islands think they are superior (must be the British education) to American Blacks from the South. It’s a deep wound, but certainly with her talents, she’ll be able to mine the material and have a new show by the time we can all go to theatres again.  

Leaving the cafe, pooch and me headed home across Washington Square Park. There sitting on a bench sans mask was Elliot, my one-time co-star in a movie. He was offering free readings of special cards he had created and a fake 100-dollar bill to take home. I hadn’t seen him in years; he looked well and apparently has been doing protest art, wearing gigantic masks of political people. The cards laid out, I picked one. “Oh, the duck…that means you’ll be up to your neck in water, and enjoying hydration.” I told him it didn’t seem likely as I didn’t even have a bathtub. “Ah, well then, it’s the other message… you must be careful to duck or you’ll hit your head.” Now that was prophetic.  A year late but still.

Written by nancykoan

June 21, 2020 at 3:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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