COVID19 Diaries – Cars Hiss By My Window

What day is it?

My idol, Mrs. Kravitz, staring in and out windows during the classic sit-com “Bewitched”. “Abner! Did you see that…?”

As days and hours blur, I am possibly fortunate to have to stare at dates on screens to meet work deadlines. Some people are not as fortunate, so a nightly news segment in Cleveland has begun to remind people what day it is. Time has still become more fluid for me, even when attempting to keep a similar schedule that I had biking to work.

In the mornings, I now spend a good 20 minutes wiping down high-touch surfaces, which is half the flat, before reading my comics, stretching, and meditating. Then I eat breakfast with my Sweetie before clocking in around 9am to get the work day going. The schedule continues around noon for lunch and 5pm closing time for work. 

The difference is a bit obvious: I am keeping a schedule, but I don’t leave the house much. I’m not getting enough exercise or sun. I do go on bike rides that usually happen after sunset. Our apartment only gets direct sunlight in the kitchen and front windows, so my Sweetie tends to follow the sun like a cat with a zoom account. I have recently started taking breaks to stand in the sun, next to the 4 windows that let the rays in.

Which brings me to my ever present window gazing and loitering. Catching the zeitgeist, The Onion wrote a hilarious headline April 2: “‘They’re Doing Something to the Street,’ Reports Nation Staring Out Window.” That something was a work truck making a hole. Prior to the COVID-era pandemic, I spent a good deal of time staring out our windows. There is always something exciting going on out on Divis and Turk! My Sweetie started calling me Mr. Kravitz, after the always-nosy-and-staring-out-a-window Gladys Kravitz from 1970s rerun staple “Bewitched”. Though her husband Abner tended to not stare out the window, I do as part of my Mr(s). Kravitz avatar. 

You name it, I’ve probably seen it out our windows: DPW work, DPT work, car wrecks, fights, a drunk driver getting cheered on by dumb ass youngsters, drug addicts losing their minds, birds, trees, wind, rain, fire trucks, cleaning crews, etc. Just like Jim Morrison wrote, cars, buses, trucks, not only hiss by my window, they chug, whine, rattle, bang, rumble, and shake outside my window.

After COVID, the stories out my window are about the same with less cars and trucks, and a Lyft/Uber trickle rather than a stream. The absence of tech buses has made Divis more quiet and less polluted. Our building also doesn’t shake as much as it used to. Over the past few weeks, as the days and minutes melt into a consistency of grilled cheese, I’ve made a list of some things that have gone on outside my window. Some items are things I stared at prior to the pandemic, but worth mentioning. 

Mr. Kravitz’s COVID19 Window-Gazing list

  • blue skies, clouds, passing birds
  • sunrise over downtown and city lights at night
  • maintenance man across the street blowing off sidewalk more than he usually does
  • possibly the last 31 bus turning up on Turk before massive MUNI cutbacks
  • random angry screaming and arguing pedestrians (usually happens, happening right now!)
  • work crew spraying off parked cars (not sure why)
  • rain and water draining patterns down the hill
  • random aluminum beverage cans rolling down Turk, some getting crunched
  • other people’s TV sets
  • waiting for the delivery truck, and other delivery trucks off loading
  • the fascinating tapering off of tech commuter buses, Lyft/Uber, construction trucks, and the appreciated quiet it brings
  • sunsets behind the hill with painting-like colored clouds
  • water trucks (hosing down gutters) preceding sweep trucks instead of DPT ticket writers
  • sweep trucks on and noisy, but just driving by since cars don’t have to move
  • fnnch’s honey bear, before spring leaves cover up the view
  • pollen’s migration patterns
  • the masked, the avoidant, the groups larger than 2 people