it's pissing rain, as the missus would say, but i hollered from the balcony tonight for #ClapBecauseWeCare (and felt like a real fool for getting rid of the vuvuzela i brought home from my sister's wedding years ago). traffic whooshing down the drive along the river made it difficult to hear folks who were more than a building or two away, but it felt good. last night someone cranked "new york, new york" out the window as i was walking home from the store and i cried into my n95 mask.

if i had the mask thing to do over again (we found a three-pack in the bug-out bag my stepfather gifted us for christmas a few years ago; "i want you to live!"), i'd have sent ours to a local hospital. we've known for about a week that coronavirus is in our building, but i worry more for our elderly and immunocompromised neighbors than i do for us; as far as i know, we're youngish, healthyish. we cracked into them, though, and have been wearing them on grocery and pharmacy runs, along with some gloves i bought ages ago when our hands still felt things and we were dicing a lot of habanero peppers. C, a retired teacher two floors down from us who gave me a key to her apartment and occasionally asks me to collect her mail when she travels, asked for farmer cheese, wheat bread that's 70 calories a slice (remember when bread was a thing you could buy?), and three cans of pineapple chunks in juice; i am dying to know if she's making sandwiches down there, but i couldn't bring myself to ask. a friend of mine in ohio says her husband used to pick up food for seniors and once shopped for wonder bread, jalapenos, and head cheese.

i gave my name to a social worker who's arranging deliveries for isolated households and got hooked up with F, whose husband answered the door in a three-piece suit when i came by to pick up their credit card the other day. they are extremely interested in chocolate-covered macaroons from trader joe's,* and the day after my first delivery, F texted to ask if i could pick up the four packs (she wanted 10, but the manager could only promise four) set aside for her. when i brought them up to the door, her husband insisted i take one for myself, and i didn't think quickly enough to say that, oh, i was allergic to coconut or something. "but i know how much you love them," i said, "and the manager said he could only give you four." this was clearly not a detail F had shared with him, and i watched him panic and then double down on his offer. i thanked him profusely and darted back to the door to take one as F began to billow like a storm cloud behind him. i really hope i didn't just end a 48-year marriage by accepting cookies.

G, one building over, asked for lots of singles: one potato, one sweet potato, one piece of salmon "for cooking." what does a good piece of salmon look like? i was reminded of working the sandwich counter at the stanford coffeehouse and trying to figure out which deli meats were which. coworkers were of no help; all of us were vegetarians. i don't know if G lives by herself; there were two names on her door's nameplate, but no one ever updates those, and most of my neighbors are very, very old (my social-worker contact reps our local NORC, or "naturally-occurring retirement community"). i didn't want to give her a potentially-pestilent note from our apartment, so i just wrote "for G from lauren" and drew a bunch of hearts on her shopping bag.

*F mentioned on the phone that she was disappointed that she wouldn't be seeing her children and grandchildren for passover, and i can only conclude that she and her husband have some kind of cool hand luke macaroon plan for weathering the pandemic.

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