Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 2

Today early in the morning I left for a drive.

Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti’s orders notwithstanding, I looked forward to some time just between myself and the road. But it was something stranger than I could have anticipated. Although I’d gotten somewhere between five or six hours of sleep before meeting the daylight, which I thought was plenty given the circumstances, I clearly felt out of place and it showed on the highway. My swerving was absent of slickness, and I wasn’t my most precise self as I traded glances between the GPS and the windshield. A destination to anywhere. Away from Los Angeles. Away from the last few days.

I saw through cold mountain tops covered in greenery. The freshness of a few days of rain. The beginning of Spring.

On reaching my destination, an Albertson’s somewhere past the canyons, I was relieved to have made it off the highway in one piece, and relieved that my car didn’t have some sudden breakdown. I could hardly imagine having highway patrol behind me in the middle of all this pandemonium with our state, our nation, our whole way of life and order.

I completed the morning with a breakfast sandwich that was more delicious than I could savor. But I still appreciated it in silence and solitude, even if it vanished within me in less than a minute.

On getting back to Los Angeles, I thought I’d treat myself to some ice cream with some money from work’s final deposit to my account. There was a place up Hillhurst boulevard, Jenny’s Ice Cream, but as it’d turn out, not only was the shop only taking orders online, but pints were priced at 12 dollars a piece, more than I wanted to spend on ice cream.

I decided to visit the Rite Aid closer to home instead, where I picked up a pint of Cookies and Cream for three dollars and some change.

I made it through just a few spoonfuls of the pint, but took comfort in one of my childhood favorite flavors in the midst of so much unfamiliarity.

On returning home, sure enough my parking space for the last few days was taken by another neighbor. But although I missed it, another part of me appreciated knowing that someone else put the space to use.

I’ve come to learn that life is never replaced by the end of life, but only by more life, which is not more of the same, but more of a change. I can only hope to warm up my world, to change enough for those who come after me to be able to do so for themselves when their time arrives, and as they need to do for their environment.

We are living in a time of great change, and I can be grateful for it. I can savor its passing, even if I know there is much adjusting, silence and solitude, before I can appreciate its essentials.

On stepping back inside, I fell into a deep slumber that I could hardly see coming. When I got back up to meet the day, it was a new world again.

J.T.

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