MARTHA AVENUE-Day Seventeen- Stayed up too late last night and started my day by making a batch of masks before heading out to do the shop. Not sure if it was the late night, lack of sleep or feeling sad after visiting with my mom (in coats talking 10' away on her porch yesterday) but I hit a new low today. I was that crazy lady crying into her mask at Costco. Still shopping, mind you, but definitely crying. I figured that as long as I wasn't making a lot of noise, who would notice? Everyone is so focused on getting their stuff, staying 6' away from each other and getting back to their car without touching anything. Somehow it just all got to me today. Got through Costco, went to Restaurant Depot and Rainbow... Usually, I love Rainbow, and even during this quarantine the folks there are kind and helpful and going so far above and beyond to do what they can to get the groceries in the hands of the customers safely.
There is a new phenomenon (or maybe just more visible and prevalent) of the Instacart shoppers. There is even an info table set up for the Instacart shoppers in the produce area of Rainbow, with maps of the store, because so many of these professional shoppers have never shopped at Rainbow. I have the feeling that a bunch of Lyft/Uber drivers have pivoted to be Instacart shoppers. They stand in a special line and get admitted to the store alternating with the regular line of shoppers. They all seem very dedicated and efficient.
But this pandemic has definitely changed the Rainbow experience. Or maybe I just had a bad day. Just the feeling of trying to get in and get the stuff I need and get out, rather than wandering the bulk aisle and exploring what fantastic bean or grain or dried thing I would like to know more about. Or just the feeling of being part of a natural food community in the city. Anyway, I left the store with my 50lb bag of flour, bags of produce, beans and barley for our new soup coming Friday... pushed my cart across to the parking area and somehow on the curb the entire cart tipped over from the weight and the huge bag tipped out onto the ground and beans went everywhere. Luckily, the bag didn't split and some nice, incognito (masked) Instacart person waiting in line helped me lift the bag and cart back to upright.
One more stop at Safeway for soy sauce and some Doritos for Calum (because teenager) and then I got home. Willi tried to greet me with a hug and I freaked out. I think I spent so much of today emphatically avoiding getting anywhere near people, that I just reacted instinctively. And cried. And felt terrible for being so touchy.
I think being out in the world right now feels a little like wearing a Horcrux for too long. I think about my brother John working the ER in Raleigh... I worry about him of course, for the normal "dont want him to get infected" reasons, but also for the daily exhaustion that comes from bracing yourself from getting near people, or being hyper-vigilant about cleaning/handwashing/protection. I hate the idea that he is working the front lines of all this with PPE equipment that is used over and over. I wish he was recovering from his Zion 100 instead of heading back for another 10 hour day. I think of all the people who are working every day out in the world... the mail carriers, garbage pickup folks, grocer workers, bus drivers etc who carry this low-grade constant stress. The world just felt poised and exhausted today.
After I calmed down, shucked my clothes into the wash, took a shower and passed out on my bed for a 15 minute nap, the evening got better. Willi worked on the salsa verde that goes into the Pozole, I made more Apple Crumble and Panna Cotta, and he made a Spatch-cocked chicken over potatoes for dinner. I love that word, "spatch-cocked". I'd never actually eaten a Spatch-cocked chicken, but it is as delicious as it's name is amusing. Maybe our dinner was served at 9pm, but the three of us enjoyed the food and the conversation.
Jamye came up with a couple of pieces of amazing cheesecake that she had baked. I am normally not a cheesecake person, but it was still slightly warm and that made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Delicious!
It's late and I am headed to bed. Looking forward to seeing the Potters, The Dees' and Sarah and Leslie tomorrow. The not-so-secret blessing of this delivery service is these little touchstone times seeing my people... albeit through windows, across driveways, through masks and waving gloved hands at tiny children who don't feel how weird it is. I am looking forward to seeing those little faces tomorrow through the windows. And to seeing the green east bay hills.
Tomorrow we start again. We hug our people, trust that we are doing the right thing, take better care of ourselves, find a way to love ourselves even when we don't feel lovable. And as always, make good nurturing food...
Stay safe, take care of yourselves, hug your people. xoxo