When starting this series on New Year’s Day, I couldn’t imagine that a viral pandemic would sweep across the human landscape and come to affect some of the selected images. I started closely watching spread […]
The Taco Truck is a daily fixture, typically gathering a constant line of customers nearly all day long, at the corner of Meade and Texas in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. But after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order on March 19, 2020, the food service operation vanished—for more than three weeks. I wondered why given that eateries offering delivery or take-out were permitted to stay open. What’s not take-away about a food truck serving burritos and tacos?
A few days before April 12, when I shot the Featured Image, the Mexican meals-on-wheels reappeared, but without standing tables alongside for customers and with a whiteboard upon which was scribbled a phone number to place orders to be picked up at the window. I suppose selling something is better than nothing, despite the stolen ambience and charm that made the place popular plus—that is festive and social, and, of course, good eating.
Today, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—claimed an expected victim and long holdout being one. For the first time since its humble 1970 inception, San Diego Comic-Con will not happen as planned (July 23-26). The event joins the County Fair and a multitude of vertically-oriented industry conventions as Novel Coronavirus casualties.
For me, SDCC 2020 already was a non-event: Like the previous two Cons, I failed to secure a pass during Open Registration. For San Diego, which economy depends on tourism, the non-event pandemic is catastrophic. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, tourism is the “second largest segment of [the local] economy”, employing approximately 200,000 people—or about 13 percent of the jobs across SD County. “It is vitally important to the economic health of the region”.
Am I delirious, or delusional, or is that a bat on the 2020 American quarter? Earlier today, I picked up three rolls from the bank, for laundry, and one of them was filled with these freshly minted surprises—and they’re freaking me out. Humanity is in the grips of a viral pandemic that started in China and supposedly jumped species—from bat to Homo sapiens. So why is there one—no, two—on this year’s 25-cent coins? Is it coincidence? Prophetic? Subliminal manipulation? For that last one, pick your X-Files conspiracy-theory protagonist: Chinese Communists, American liberals, US conservatives, President Trump, greedy capitalists, or— why not—alien invaders seeking to control us all through mind-controlling vaccines.
As I write, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—has killed 144,047 people in 185 countries and there are 2,157,108 confirmed cases. And those are considered to be relatively good numbers, compared to recent projections. Apparently, the majority of countries closing most businesses and all schools, while encouraging citizens to stay home, has dramatically slowed spread of the contagion.
We present another portrait that, like “Willing Prisoner“, was taken in one context but is appropriate for another. Duke Yeh captured self-titled “Overwhelming Life” on Jan. 29, 2018, using Fujifilm X100F. About the photo, he says: “Whispering under his breath, I couldn’t capture what the gentleman was saying. But surely his posture says it all”.
The subject’s “life complexity at a glance” sadly suits the current global crisis, where the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic has shattered economies, driven a wedge between people (“social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” orders), isolated entire nations (government-imposed quarantines), and turned cities into scenes from post-apocalyptic movies. Then there are the millions infected, ill, or deceased.
For the second consecutive day, I broke quarantine. Yesterday, my wife and I took a chance drive to Costco Business Center, hoping to grab a few extra bulk items. Each grocery trip risks exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19. Luckily, the warehouse was fairly calm, and we were able to purchase most of what we wanted—and items that could be precious should there be prolonged lockdown, or worse, panic in the streets. That was supposed to be the last supply run. Except…
Last night, a discovery: The pet grass that I planted for the cats had developed mold, and growing a new batch would take days. So, this morning, I walked 2.3 km (1.4 miles) to Ralph’s supermarket, which sells the same brand: Priscilla’s. Along the way, I counted the number of people passed to see which ones wore a face covering. The results stunned. Fifteen percent, which is a dramatic decrease from a few days ago. What changed?
Something puzzles me, or did until seeing the scene that became the Featured Image. Today, I observed several family groups—parents and youngsters of various ages—walking around the neighborhood. We’re talking four or more people slowly moving down the sidewalk. I wondered: “Why today? Why not on other days? Are they bored being stuck inside, observing the “shelter-in-place” order?” By taking over a sidewalk, they impede other folks also seeking fresh air and exercise—and they draw attention, presumably silent complaint from many passersby, because of their numbers.
The answers to all the questions are one, and I am troubled by it. As my wife and I approached Trolley Barn Park this afternoon, we could see yellow “Caution” tape flapping in the wind. The entire thing had been cordoned off, with extra warning wrapped around the kids play area. The barrier wasn’t there yesterday, and its placement partly explains why I see more parents and children roaming about. The safest place for them to be, when not inside their residences, is what the city/county closed down.
For one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays, we present a small family gathering that is sadly evocative for 2020. The COVID-19—aka SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—pandemic compels people to socially isolate (e.g. […]
Sometimes you get one shot—and with some neighborhood felines none other. Such is the case with the tabby I spotted in the alley between Georgia and Park Blvd. on March 29, 2020. The shorthair moved quickly past as I walked in the other direction, stopping briefly when my iPhone XS appeared. One click later, he (or she) disappeared into a carport. I would be surprised to see the animal again.
Sprint seems appropriate nickname—for the kitty’s quick pace and because the Olympics were on my mind at the time; four days earlier, the 2020 games were postponed a year because of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic, which has altered my walk routine. Californians are asked to stay at home (e.g., “shelter in place“) and to go out sparingly; exercise is one approved activity, and I mostly use alleys to avoid other people. Hence, the chance Sprint sighting.
The Featured Image is rather ho-hum by itself but is something much more when given context. Plural perhaps is better: contexts. First: The window is adjacent to another, presumably in the same apartment, where I saw Kip, who was profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series just after the new year. I have seen the kitty several time since and have come to look for him (or her), which is how the fashioned-sign caught my attention.
Second: California, like the majority of US states, is locked down. Most businesses and all schools are closed. Citizens are ordered to stay at home and “shelter in place“. Keeping people apart is a desperate attempt to slow spread (e.g. “flatten the curve“) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. That lone—or better stated lonely—”Hi” reaches out from isolation to the few wanderers traversing the seemingly post-apocalyptic street below. Some residents still walk their dogs or go out for fresh air or to exercise.
Today, the global number of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, infections topped 1 million and 50,000 deaths. As I write, based on data collated by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University: 1,015,709 confirmed cases; 211,615 recovered; 53,069 dead.
One month ago, there were eight reported Novel Coronavirus cases in the United States. This moment, according to John Hopkins: 245,213. The dramatic rise is part increased testing, part exponential community spread of the virus. This USA Today headline, regarding April 1, makes the point better than I could: “More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from Coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu”. That number doesn’t include collateral casualties—people who, being treated for something else, might otherwise have lived if not for overwhelmed hospitals in hot zones like New York.
Walking outdoors is challenging, with so many businesses shut down, and, as such, a large number of San Diegians trying to “shelter in place” but, understandably, going out with their dogs or to grab some fresh air/exercise. The other order for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, pandemic: “social distancing“, which for the Wilcox family means mostly walking in alleys behind streets, where fewer people go and making space from them is much easier than would be along cramped sidewalks—or even stepping into bike lanes.
Unsurprisingly, I am discovering a fresh batch of indoor kitties looking out onto the alleys. That brings us to the third consecutive feline that is behind window or door and was seen along/behind Alabama Street—sixtieth and forty-ninth, respectively, for the series to date. On March 22, 2020, I spotted the cat on the stretch between Madison and Mission.