A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 143

Sunday, September 6

I can report that there are plenty of vacated storefront spaces along once-busy Broadway near 23rd St. and also along Park Avenue South.  Many of these are former “fast casual” food outlets—three spaces in a row along Park Avenue South near 23rd St.

It’s easy to see how you could let your COVID-19 guard down in the city. There seem to be many fewer people around—although since it’s Labor Day weekend, maybe that’s to be expected. Many people are wearing masks—although there were plenty of maskless folks enjoying the late summer sun today in Madison Square Park. 

And why should we arrange to have food delivered given that there’s a well-stocked supermarket right across the street from our apartment? Yesterday I went to the greenmarket and got Italian prune plums for a dessert, then into the Food Emporium for milk, chicken, scallions, and Pecan Sandies.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping—not sure just why.  Free-floating anxiety…dislocation? There is more noise here than out in East Hampton, but I was waking early out there, too. Yesterday I got up at around 6 a.m., went out shopping early, then felt crummy for the rest of the day, unable to nap. It’s possible that the body aches and disorientation I experienced were a delayed reaction to the flu shot that I got on Friday. Today I did much better, waking at 7 a.m., but then going back to sleep until nearly 9 a.m. I had one dream that placed a cast of former BusinessWeek characters at a Bridgehampton antique store (one was painting a self-portrait), and another dream involving a dangerously careening, model airplane-size drone. How could any of this be wish fulfillment, Mr. Freud? Am I wishing to be reunited with my former BW colleagues—at a Hampton’s antique store?

More likely it is the “reverse learning” designed to remove batches of “neural garbage” from the brain, as Francis Crick and Graeme Mitchison suggested in a classic Nature magazine article.

While I am rattling on about our comfy diet, many Americans are really suffering as an article in today’s Times Magazine illustrates. It has a short overview of hunger in America since the 1930s, making it clear that any “emergency” shortages are in fact permanent, often-overlooked problems.

Dinner: broiled eggplant slices with tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese, cold noodles with sesame sauce, and a plum and graham cracker crumble for dessert.

Entertainment: more of Netflix’ Young Wallander.

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