Oh, the places you’ll go after moving to a city with so many stores within walking distance. And so many firsts. And not just the Firsts of the day program I attended, such as visiting a fire department and a police department, or the Firsts of the new residence, such as the first snowstorm, or first long power outage.
Or first frozen hard-boiled egg because I put a salad too far back in the fridge; or other more trivial things like first nosebleed, or first ant; it was no April Fools joke to see that a-hole ant in my room the first of this month.
But firsts like restaurants I’ve never visited before, from greasy burger joints (sometimes those hit the spot), to a Chinese buffet of many types of food, to a native-Spanish-speaking Mexican restaurant. My mother and I had gone out less and less over time until it was rare that we ever did, but ever since I moved out, we’ve gone out twice a week, for lunch or a movie. I’ve now had more pizza and lasagna in months than I had in years. And on one part of my desk sits a pile of tickets. 🙂
Often, we’d walk thru the Mall, and eat at the food court, even if the food we got didn’t come from the court.
And… then the economic struggles hit home. Across the country, stores and whole malls have been struggling for years.
But never would we guess what would come next.
The coronavirus SARS-2 pandemic was the second punch that shuttered the rest and a great deal of U.S. commerce in general. At first, you could get takeout at a few places at the food court, with the seats up/unavailable to comply with the takeout-only-for-restaurants order from the state government. And now the Maine Mall is just plain closed, save “essentials” like Best Buy.
And then there’s stay-at-home orders for all residents, with a 5pm curfew where you could get fined a thousand bucks if you’re out for no good reason, and yellow tape around the nearby school jungle gym. The tape has since been removed; kids have climbed it anyway… 😔
Some younger folk use the school/city sports fields despite the signs. At their own risk, of course.
One thing is for certain, though: the risks of not exercising are worse. All muscles atrophy; if you don’t use your heart muscle, it’ll atrophy too. And that’s just something one of the people who work at Pizza Plus in South Portland said, basically. That store really does more than pizza…
Businesses and schools may have temporarily closed or spaced out their waiting lines—or made lines where there were none before. But life hasn’t slowed; it can’t.
And I’m not talking just the need for food or toilet paper. Or beer or hair care products. (Hair dyes had their own panic buyouts.)
…Case in point, of said waiting lines…
…also standing all the way out at the sidewalk of the road, I noticed that the parking lot to Back Cove Trail is closed. People have found a way to walk there anyway.
It’s nature. Nature doesn’t stop for us. Nor can we stop because business as usual was put on pause.
During all of this came the finished disappearance of the winter snow, followed by the blooming of spring.
Just a day or so passed, and these plants blossomed cherries.
Nature flourishes some way regardless of us, and flourishes stronger without our pollution.
There is a silver lining after all.
Then again, it’s hard to measure how many pollutants are in the air now given fewer enforced regulations under today’s “leadership” versus fewer active cars and planes, etc.
Certain construction in the city is underway still, face masks or not.
Sure, there are plants and animals that depend on us. But overall, we revolve around nature, not man-made cash or materials forged from—what else—materials we got from the Earth. Maybe the Earth is trying to shake us off. 😉
But seriously. The crisis is isn’t just enabling us to see things we wouldn’t have seen while stuck in the work cycle. A lot of other things are revealed, such as how many companies only care about the bottom line.
Now, if you’re wondering if the stay-at-home stuff has changed my ways of doing things here or that it got me more online and blogging, I can tell you that not much has changed. I was already a hermit, pretty much. Out of nine months, I’ve walked my walks but not visited any stores on foot. Stocking up and washing my hands with soap frequently were the big changes.
I’m instead left wondering why there isn’t even online registration for job training. But with widespread closings and unemployment numbers the way they’ve gone, it kind of makes sense to not have any expectations employment-wise.
For so long I was stuck trying to “grow in isolation” at the house I grew up in, and now, well, a lot more people are kind of stuck in their own isolation, told to stay in or around their homes. …And surely, you, dear reader, are not just watching TV, right? Right?
Well… you don’t have to answer that question if you don’t want to. 😉
And that’s it for now. With so much time away from the blog comes so much to cover. Especially for much of 2019. So, so many photos. Hey, I’m working on it, I’m working on it.
Until next post…
Good night, from Maine. 🙂