I had a plan to walk 3.5 kilometers to a coffee shop to buy whole beans. Made it just over a block before I turned back. This was my first time out on the streets during a weekday in exactly one week. I thought it might be better now because the mayor just issued an order to close museums, gyms, movie theaters, stadiums, bars, and nightclubs.
According to the Associated Press, traffic is lighter in Mexico City, and business is slower. This is likely true, but I'm not yet seeing it. Probably because, as the article explains, about 56% of workers in this city labor in the informal sector as vendors and craftspeople. Poodles happens to live in the city's oldest shopping district, which is home to a disproportionate number of street vendors.
In one short city block, I passed an orange juice vendor, a shoeshine, three taquerias, two street grills, a fruit cup stand, several people selling piles of used clothing, and a booth selling electronics. Probably more, actually--that's just what I remember. Imagine all this, plus customers. This article from Reuters makes me assume things may be quieter in the more affluent parts of the city. Too bad we can't get to them. jaja.
Meanwhile, the president of Mexico continues to encourage people to go about their business as usual. (This blog post from a friend has good insight into the situation in the rest of the country. Scroll down down to "The bigger picture in Mexico.")
But back to the really important shit. Obviously, I'm not going to go without coffee.
We've ordered groceries from Walmart (I know, sorry, not as many options here) and are awaiting a delivery from another supermarket and a CSA. So I'm thinking we can also order coffee. It just won't be up to my snobby standards.
I'm feeling kind of restless today. I was looking forward to that walk to buy coffee and instead ended up running the stairs in the building, ten stories of charmless cement, over and over. Good for the heart, literally, but not so much good for the heart metaphorically.
The dwindling supply of quality coffee has me thinking...For the most part, we've been having a good time. Weird, but comfortable. But we also have full cupboards, a full fridge, plenty of books, wifi, fresh water, gas, power, good company, and, like, all the tequila and mezcal.
The very fact that I'm self-isolating is a privilege. The streets are full here because people can't bloody afford to stay home. And they'll continue to come out until they are literally forced inside, where they won't have the luxury of gourmet coffee, imported cheese, and the world's best tequila.
What would a slightly off, restless day feel like without these amenities? Without good company? That's already a reality for a lot of people and it could definitely be a reality for me, eventually.
(If I make it home, I'm going to be weathering these days alone.)
I do know what it's like to worry about not having enough to eat, but I don't know what that's like when you're all alone and the world has gone to hell in a handbasket.
I'm not trying alarmist or to make myself or anyone else feel any more anxious than we already do. I guess my takeaway is positive. What I'm thinking is this...I better enjoy this good coffee while it lasts. This may be a time that I wistfully look back on.