Pamela Harris

We’ve been staying in the city vs going upstate since all of this began. Partly because it’s more comfortable here. Partly because our friends are here, and even though we don’t see them we’re close enough to use cans and string to chat. We’re taking it week by week.

Yesterday we went out for a late morning walk and threw the ball at Ginger’s favorite place on earth. The dog run belongs to the Soho Grand Hotel, and both closed last night.

I’ve been on social media more. Every day something new trends:

DJ D-Nice hosted ‘Club Quarantine’ and thousands of people danced in their own living rooms.

Parents homeschooling their kids post things like, “Wondering how I can get this kid transferred out of my class.”

Jokes about exponential functions and algebra, with captions such as “Like we’ll ever use this crap.”

“Your grandparents were called to fight in world wars. You’re being called to wash your hands and sit on the couch. Don’t fuc! this up.”

“Weekend Travel Plans” shows a map blueprint of an apartment, with footsteps going from kitchen to living room to bedroom.

There’s fake news about dolphins in the canals of Venice, real news about the penguins at Shedd Aquarium being let out to roam through exhibits to look at fish.

There are (rightful) slams on the current administration. Love for Cuomo.

I then hit the wall with all of it and close Instagram (I'm @pamelaharris339). I've had days where I obsessively read news. I've snacked days away, something I've never done. Lately, or finally, I'm getting back to a routine of work and limiting all the aforementioned.

Joe’s back working from home full time. What I really want to do when he’s on a Zoom meeting is to put the oven mitt on and stealthily enter the side of his screen, bite bite biting at the air.

Imagine being a teenager during this?

I’ve become aware of just how much I touch my face. I’ve been a compulsive hand washer since I moved to NYC, so that part of this I have down.

Ginger doesn’t understand why she can’t play with her pals in the rare times we run into them on the street. Joe is still doing all the walks. My knee is great, but not great enough yet to walk her on my own. We all miss that.

The other morning I headed to the river to take a walk. I didn’t see anyone on the way over, then I crossed the West Side Highway and entered Hudson River Park. Families were walking together, little kids were zigzagging on scooters, bikes, skateboards, ricocheting off people. There were tennis games going on, groups walking together. I got off the river fast.

I don’t have fear about the virus. But I am being practical.

What’s emerging for me right now is, the streets outside may be empty, but our hearts aren’t. People in our building left notes offering help to anyone homebound. Online, people are checking in on people, acknowleging the importance of grocery clerks, cashiers, nurses, doctors, all other frontliners. People are donating medical supplies, sewing facemasks, donating to restaurant funds, fostering animals.

The entire world is going through this. I think we will be for a while. It’s a spectacular opportunity to see all the ways we’re alike, not different.


Similar to NYC, Miami is a faint reflection of what it was less than a month ago: no bars, restaurants, or clubs; no hotels; no beaches, no parks. Office buildings closed. Government facilities closed. Schools closed. Universities closed. Almost everyone is sheltering in place, with a 10pm curfew for everyone in Miami Dade County. Nothing is the same, nor will it be again any time soon, but, as you pointed out, it has unexpectedly brought out the best in many people, and they are going out of their way to gallantly help those in need. It’s a devastating time..... and a wonderful time..... all rolled into one. I’ll end with a memory from one of my college literature courses. Hemingway and Fitzgerald were close friends, and lived in the same building in Southern France during the 1918 Flu Epidemic, which infected 500,000,000 people worldwide, and killed 50,000,000. Similar to today, the town was under quarantine, and they were advised to stay in their rooms, which F Scott and Zelda did after loading up with mandatory staples: gin, rum, vodka, bourbon, scotch, vermouth, wines, liqueurs, and last, but not least, the devil itself..... brandy. But not Ernest. Like many buildings in Europe, there was a small bar at the street level, and Mr H apparently spent the entire day down there drinking. Mr F decided to go down to the bar and tell Ernest to stop drinking and go to his room because the Sun not only sets, it Also Rises. Ernest punched F Scott in the stomach, and said he wasn’t afraid of the Flu..... it was afraid of him. They gave each other a Tender hug in the Night, and retired to their respective rooms. The moral of the story: the sun will eventually rise on a better day, but in the meantime, be happy, and fill each day and night with tenderness and love.

Paul Murphy | March 29, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for this, I’ve also had days of compulsive snacking & Facebook (feels like the same thing!) vs getting back to work, although the latter finally seems to be outpacing the former. Trying to practice self-compassion, too: not sure yet what the toll will be on all our psyches. Stay in touch! xo

Cynthia Weiner | March 24, 2020 at 02:00 pm

Pamela, you don't have to imagine, you are still a teenager at heart during this..... and you always will be. Funny incident this morning. I'm trying to get a TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) for a building we just finished, and the Building Official sent me an email on Friday that they have temporarily changed the Plan Pick Up location because of the virus, and that they would be waiting for me at a Special Desk on the first floor lobby. So, I got to the Building Dept around 10 today, after calling to see if they are open, and, lo and behold, there are two large tents with 12 people by the front door, looking like an Army Triage Station, everyone wearing rubber gloves and masks. I walk up, and one of the guys approaches me with a Digital Ear Thermometer and asks me why I was there while he took my temperature. Since I was normal, I was passed to a second person asking if i was coughing, or sneezing or had headaches, and since I said NO, I then went to a third person who took my name, wrote down the reason I was there, and I finally had to sign a paper that said I don't have any of the aforesaid ailments. I then went to a guarded line by the front door, and they were only allowing one person at a time to go thru the Security Gate for Metal Detection, after which I went to a fifth person who took a photo of my Drivers License. The entire building was closed EXCEPT for the Lobby, so I was directed to a Plan Pick Up Desk, everyone wearing gloves and masks. I showed them my email to pick up my approved permit set, and the official at the desk said I had to respond to the email sent to me on Friday, which I did on my phone, and he then told me I cold pick up the plans on Wednesday, since they are now closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wow!! Ask me if I want to do this again. Maybe I can take Ginger with me Wednesday.

Paul Murphy | March 23, 2020 at 07:29 pm

Leave a Comment

All fields are required. Comments are monitored. Your email address will not be published.