Life In the Time of Corona

It just came to me that I have been living in the same rent stabilized apartment for a million years. I was walking down the street with a friend when my shabby building came into view with the mismatched pointing, the sidewalk with overgrown weeds, the multicolor bricks and the lights glowing from windows with air conditioners sticking out of iron gratings that have been sawed open to make space for them and I said, “Dear God don’t let me die in this building. Please. I don’t want the sad little flower arrangement on the broken-down table in the lobby with a note next to it with grammatical errors saying, “Dear Neighbors, after 25 years of tenancy, apartment 3H has passed away.” “

When Joey died, who had lived in the building for 47 years, the cheap bouquet and a notice appeared on the sad table. Then, as is common in the building, another tenant HAD to add their own note. The note read: Rest in Peace, Joey. The grammatical structure of the note would indicate that the note was FROM Joey, which was hilarious and sad all at the same time. It is Rest in Peace Joey not Rest in Peace COMMA Joey. For some reason I feel like this type of grammatical error only exists in rent-controlled buildings, but I know that is my own prejudice due to my fear of dying here. And now the stupid virus crap is abounding.

What if my last view on earth is the fat lady who sits outside the building and never combs her hair? Or the lobby décor which can only be described as early mental hospital? Or the plastic garbage bins behind the building with the huge Hefty bags that didn’t fit in the bins leaning up against them? Or the giant dead roaches on the floor of the basement who didn’t make it through the night? Or the light fixtures in the hall that look like they are from American Horror Story? Or the sad cigarette butts, random straws, and potato chip bags blowing in the wind strewn about the entrance to the building? I need to stop reading Architectural Digest because it is just making things worse. The pink villa for sale in the south of France almost killed me. And now the virus is here and I am home ALL THE TIME. My dog is really thrilled and wags her tail every time I walk by. Right now in New York City it feels like every day is Shabbos.

The first few days of working from home were weird. The office phone I have in my house never rang. No one called. Clients disappeared. The third day I walked the dog and then came home and put my nightgown back on. I then repotted plants, hung pictures, painted spots on the walls and when I was finished with nothing left to do I said fuck it and unplugged the phone and took a nap. When I woke up at 5pm and plugged in the phone it rang! A new client from Chicago. I have never been so happy to speak to a client in my life. I was like HELLOOOOO! So I gave the spiel about contingencies, fees, guarantees, blah blah blah. The client thinks he is talking to a businesswoman, when in actuality the person on the other line is a woman in a nightgown standing in bare feet. Like a crazy lady – with messy hair. I close the deal. A ray of hope in the fog of depression which housebound Cranky.

It took a few days of shock at the new state of the world to get adjusted to the new reality. We had a gloom and doom company conference call and Cranky’s contribution was that the only thing she was worried about was would she ever get to wear the great new spring skirt she had just bought.

It’s hard to get adjusted to a new routine, but it is happening. There is no where to go. I keep getting emails about clothes being on sale. Who cares about clothes when there is no place to wear them? Yoga pants are just fine thank you very much. The most fun in my day is a long walk. Any day now I am going to be knitting in front of fireplace in the evenings like colonial times. The news is all corona all the time. I’ve decided I can’t live with constant worry and I will take the lead from my dog who thinks this is the best thing ever as we are together 24/7. There are always things to be grateful for if you look for them. Like living in a rent-stabilized apartment when you might not make any money for months. The people on NY 1 are still smiling every morning. Thanks for that. I have a friend who lives down the hall and one 2 floors away. Pretty neat. So I’m gonna try to be in the day and not go nuts. If I turn on the TV and see a test pattern I’ll worry.

4 Responses to “Life In the Time of Corona”


  1. 1 Deb April 4, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Please keep writing. It gets me through.

  2. 3 Robin Sheridan March 19, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    OMG… I Love this!… I wish I could write… or wanted to… As I am a nurse in a large Boston hospital confused as hell what PPE I should be wearing for droplet precautions or Air born precautions or Enhanced Droplet precautions… geesh! Well done, Gerr!


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