In LA, all is serene at the health food store, not so much at Trader Joe’s…



This is part of our special Coronavirus Dispatches series, featuring personal essays and local reporting from WONDERLUST editors and writers about our individual communities around the world. 



I live in the San Fernando Valley. 


Auspiciously, on Friday the 13th, when gyms were still open and we had more freedom to move around, I went to the gym at noon, and everything seemed normal — people working out on the machines, although there were only four of us in the spin class. 


After a great workout, I decided to stock up on some groceries. I stopped by Jon’s, an Armenian grocery. The parking lot was packed, there wasn’t one shopping cart or basket available. It looked like the end of the world — the store was swarming with people, their carts overflowing, and every checker ringing up people as fast as they could. Of course there were no paper products left except a few rolls of paper towels, which I snagged. I waited in line for thirty minutes to pay for the few items I could fit into my shopping bag. 


After that, I went to my favorite health food store/restaurant, Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park. Their shelves were all stocked, so I picked up a few vegan items and dog food. The vibe there was serene and calm.



Oddly, people don’t apreciate how good pre-prepared Indian food is! Seriously! They’re excellent. Photo provided by Wonderlust



It was raining and cold outside and the café was packed with people having lunch. I sat down and had some vegan Mac N’ Cheese and tea. I still needed more items, so I had the bright idea to stop by Trader Joe’s to pick up some frozen dinners.  Another apocalyptic vibe: People almost crashing into each other with their shopping carts, many shelves completely empty, no bread, eggs or canned goods, most produce gone, and the frozen section was bare. I managed to snag the only thing left, two boxes of frozen Jackfruit Crabcakes. Maybe that’s not a hot item… 


Back in Van Nuys, I wanted to get another water container. No luck. Sold out, lines out the door and down the sidewalk. The parking lot was a mess, cars honking and people yelling and accidents barely averted. I finally made it home with my treasures — four hours later. 


I’m staying put for now, in my new work attire, flannel pj’s. California is in this for a while.


Sending peace & love from The City of Angels.