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.
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.