The Wait
The Wait san francisco stories
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mlytle Teacher in bay area. Wander of trails.
Autoplay OFF   •   a year ago
Wonderings and observations as San Francisco begins to respond to the global virus.

The Wait

I think back two weeks. I am biking home from the grocery store, having seen the first signs of food depletion. The dried fruit and nuts were picked over, the canned food minimal.

I remember looking up into the sunny sky on my ride home and wondering if this was worth concern. Live in the moment. One day at a time. No need to worry.

Then came the uncomfortable faces on the bus in the morning, little eye contact, distant gazing, an occasional face mask sprinkled throughout the passengers.

The thought, should I be doing this also? The turning and shuffling away from someone who coughed.

I switched to solely riding my bike to work. I felt good about this. Planning for the weeks' lessons, while unsure if we would be in class to do these.

Conversations with future tense words cloaked thoughts of doubt, wondering, will any of these meetings be happening anyways? Grocery stores becoming more barren.

No bananas, no canned soup, no pasta, but I did get the last almond milk, smiling successfully to myself.

People's faces were still jovial, exchanging glances with fellow shoppers to grin at the absurdness of it. Picking up two jars of almond butter, just because.

Then came the news. The barrage of updates. Checking my phone every hour to see new cancelations of events.

When the flights were shut down, the worry moved down my spine, from my brain to my core. What will we do? Who will make a decision? The doubt, the double thinking.

Do I go to my yoga class, is this selfish?

Then action. Yes, school will be closed. Just for two weeks. A feeling a relief. Now I am able to plan. That night at the grocery store everything was gone.

I was able to get a bunch of wilted kale. They had a good deal on shampoo and conditioner. My hair will look good for this quarantine.

People were outside everywhere. Walking, running, riding their bikes, playing catch. So many people. Neighbors I had never seen. There was a nervous joy in the air, unspoken anxieties.

When the city-wide shut down was announced two days later, anger fills me. My roommate speaks of being locked in our apartment for two months. How can they! This is ridiculous.

It's not about me I am told.

Bombardment of group texts, phone calls, emails. New instructions from work, now this will be four weeks. Spring break trips canceled.

Social media postings, lots of homemade dinners, cute pajama selfies-sent with love. I start to be more mindful about how much toilet paper I rip off the roll.

I bike through the park. Ornamental cherry blossoms in bloom, tulips in full color, the ceanothus perfuming the air sweetly. Everyone is a jogger now. It's the wait that is the painful part.

The uncertainty. Even amongst tragedy, once the bad event has happened, there is action to take, things to clean up, plans to be made. But while we wait, we can not plan. We can not do.

We just text each other: how are you doing today? We post inspiring quotes about strength and community. It is the in-between that we struggle with. The lack of action that we fear.

We check our cupboards and wonder, will we have to eat that year old can of cannellini beans?

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