Every Day Above Ground (mallorys_camera) wrote,
Every Day Above Ground

American Exceptionalism

It’s kinda like being Anne Frank, yes? And hunkering down in the attic.

But hopefully with a happier ending.


Zhen sez we should be prepared for this—look around; inventory your own “this”—to last for three months.

I think she’s being overly optimistic.


Zhen is the beautiful Chinese pastry chef presently ensconced in the downstairs apartment. These days, she’s an American citizen who reaps in the Big Buck$ making designer cakes and desserts at the tony Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island in Hawaii.

But in 2003, she was a college student in Beijing.

She came to Hyde Park to refine her craft at the Culinary Institute, but the Culinary Institute—like everything else—is canceled for the foreseeable future, leaving her—like everyone else—in limbo.

“Many Americans are very stupid,” she said, shaking her head. “They think because they are Americans, they will not get it.”

“American exceptionalism!” I said.

“Is that the word for it? Yes. Very unwise. I have masks. In December, when I read about what was happening in China, I ordered a case. I will give you one.”

“Thanks!” I said. “I’ll take it! I’ve been wearing gloves when I go to the supermarket. And going to the store very early in the morning.”

“Yes. But you should try not to go to the store. It will peak here within the next three to four weeks.”

Kind of impossible for me not to go to the store since I didn’t have any access to credit cards for panic shopping over the weekend and consequently have no food supplies. So, I just shrugged.

The new credit cards will be arriving today. Or tomorrow.

“When I go out, people look at me like I am a monster,” Zhen said. And she started crying. “It’s because I am Chinese. They blame the Chinese.”

“That’s ridiculous!” I said.

“They call it ‘Wu-Flu.’ I feel such shame.”

I sighed. “People are ignorant. If I wasn’t observing the six-foot distance rule, I’d hug you.”

“No, no, no, no! But thank you. That you say this means a lot.”


Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor Ed took off for Providence on Friday. Their daughter who lives there with her orthopod husband and two children is an internal medicine doc.

Ed texted me yesterday to tell me Sarah has three CV-positive patients on her service. Daniel—the Neighbor Ed son—is VERY pissed off at us for coming up.

Well, you ARE in the high-risk category, I texted back. Thinking: And it’s not as though Sarah can’t pay for childcare.

People will do what people will do.

Pat, Mrs. Neighbor Ed, is a nurse practitioner and very, very smart, so it’s not as if she assesses risks without carefully considering options.

Neighbor Ed is supposed to be coming back tomorrow.

Pat is staying on indefinitely to play nanny.

Another example of American exceptionalism, I suppose. Healthcare workers take massive precautions. But you do something stupid just once because you’re staggering with fatigue, and then it’s like you never took precautions at all.

I went out running in the Vanderbilt park. Fresh air! Exercise! No people!

Spring is springing. Plants and animals really don’t give a fuck about human existential crises. If they did, in fact, I think they’d feel relieved that we’re facing one.
Tags: covid-19
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