Daily Connector | A List of Things I’ve Seen During COVID-19 | Joel Call

 A man who walks in circles around the block at the food pantry where I work. I see him most days. Some days I say hello.

 A 40% increase in the number of new families we’ve been serving at the pantry.

 Lots and lots of canned goods. Shelf-stable food. Laundry detergent. Personal care items. Toilet paper. Hundreds and hundreds of boxes. Hundreds and hundreds of boxes we will fill with canned goods, shelf-stable food, personal care items, and toilet paper. I walk in a circle filling these boxes wearing a mask. Most often 90 a day. Sometimes I finish walking in circles filling these boxes and walk outside and see my friend walking in circles and I say hello.

 A woman with five children at the pantry because she and her husband and her brother and her brother’s girlfriend, who have their own kids, are “all out of work”, and I think about how some households hold so many, how the ability to “social distance,” even in one’s one home, is an economic privilege.

 A man racing by the pantry in his scooter blaring music. An American flag is attached to her seat and it billows behind her as she scoots by with Sam Cooke’s “A Change Gonna Come” trailing behind her.

 A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Dafoe.

 The man who walks in circles around the pantry is mute. His name is Herman (he showed me his bus pass).

 Emptier highways on the way to work in the morning.

 Something a doctor in Queens said in this article: “It’s become very clear to me what a socioeconomic disease this is. People hear that term ‘essential workers.’ Short-order cooks, doormen, cleaners, deli workers—that is the patient population here. Other people were at home, but my patients were still working. A few weeks ago, when they were told to socially isolate, they still had to go back to an apartment with ten other people. Now they are in our cardiac room dying.”

 I keep seeing “We’re all in this together” and sometimes I wonder “Are we?”

 Trash, which I take out at the end of every day. It’s windy out and recycling is flying everywhere when I raise the lids of the dumpster. I jump in to push all the cardboard down to keep everything from flying away, I look down, and Herman is there, helping me unload the day’s garbage. I say thank you and he smiles and gives me a thumbs up and we silently finish the job. I smile and give him a thumbs up as we part ways. Herman to continue walking his route, and me mine.