Sunday in San Francisco can be either of two things: warm and sunny or (as it usually is) grey, cold, and somewhat windy. Yesterday was no different. Highs of 61 degrees Fahrenheit, a low of 46. Small pools of sunshine trapped in low grey clouds. It was my kind of Sunday, one that invites you to just lie in bed and enjoy laziness as a gift from the divine.
Maybe it was my childhood, or perhaps it is just how much I have slogged in life, but I take my Sundays very seriously. When I was young, I woke up late. Sundays meant 30 minutes of cartoons — does anyone remembers the classic He-Man series? Or Spiderman? — and then an episode of Star Trek. And then a super-late breakfast. It was the one day I didn’t get harangued by mom to do homework or study. It is hardly a surprise, then, that I love Sundays.
Other than the cartoons, nothing has changed that much.
I still have a routine. I wake up late. I watch a handful of YouTube channels. These include some photographers. I also love Physics Girl. 1 And surely, you are also already one of the 7 million followers of Veritasium. 2 After I’m done watching, I call my parents. Sometimes, I call my siblings. But mostly, I do absolutely nothing. No work. No emails. No social media. Sometimes, I will sit in front of the screen and edit a handful of photos, just because I find that therapeutic. I go for a walk with my tiny camera in my pocket, wondering if there is a photo to be had.
Sometimes, the walk extends to a few miles, and I end up at my favorite not-so-local restaurant, where I order a lovely late brunch. Few things are more satisfying than an Eggs over Margherita pizza and a cup of Earl Grey. If an opportunity arises, I see my goddaughters, but mostly I don’t see anyone or do anything of substance.
If it is not too cold, I sit somewhere with the latest work of one of my favorite mystery book authors and get lost in their whodunits. I don’t think about technology, investing, or the complexity of our planet. I come home and methodically go through my shoe collection, deciding which ones need to be creamed, polished, and buffed. They are on a three-month schedule. It is strangely therapeutic. (After you watch a few YouTube videos 3, you will believe me.)
People of biblical persuasion call it Sabbath. I just call it Sunday.
Yesterday, I couldn’t do any of that. On his blog 4, Robin Sloan, the author of the excellent Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, recently wrote:
I had no shortage of imagined disasters—some sketched out professionally, others just recreational—but in all of them, while the bombs fell or the seas rose, a jaunty couple sat together in a café sipping their espressos.
Exactly. When there are no cafes, there is no Sunday.
Of course, I tried reading the latest book by Donna Leon to distract myself, but lost interest. I did edit a few photos. One of them, I like. Take a look. 5
My goddaughters are down with cabin fever, and their dad didn’t feel like chatting. I seem to have lost my appetite, though I did enjoy veggie meatballs. I enjoyed some Pure-h tea, but I was generally just not in Sunday state of mind. It is a hard time. I am going up and down in my apartment, worried about the Pandemic and what it might do, especially in India, where my aging parents live. I pinged a few friends on Telegram and SMS and just enquired about their health and well-being.
Another friend sent me an update on WhatsApp from Delhi. India is in lockdown, though for reasons I don’t understand, only for 14 hours. Why can’t politicians be more decisive and take bold action? Our current crisis is as much a result of a virus (whose RNA is less than 8KB) as it is of the feckless politicians still worried about being reelected without realizing that you there’s not much to rule over in a dying nation.
As the evening descended around me, I went for a walk. Streets were eerily and thankfully quiet. There was no one around. Even the homeless were elsewhere. I took off my mask, and I just walked around the neighborhood. It is hard to work up a sweat on a San Francisco evening, but 5,000 steps do feel good. Muscles stretched and mind at ease, I concluded that, perhaps starting with Monday, I will treat the new week as a typical week. At least, as regular as one can feel cooped up in an apartment during a pandemic with no end in sight.
There is no point in being constantly freaked out. I’d say about 60 minutes a day is enough. Why not use the time at home to do things that I have not done in a while? YouTube is chock-full of InstaPot recipes. I am going to try at least a few to feed myself better, though I wish someone made a channel for single guys who can burn water.
Being stuck at home means that it is time for me to try out some macro photography and figure out what I can do to create photos in my style. I think the iPhone with a Moment Macro lens should be enough for that.
And with just about 200 un-edited photos that deserve a polish, I am wondering if it would make sense to devote an hour each day to editing two pictures — at the very least. That’s three months’ worth of editing. Given the time on hand, I could blog more. It is a habit I had lost, but I can build-up my muscle memory, and that will also help me be connected to everyone.
Try and have a typical week — or at least, as usual you can make it.
March 23, 2020. San Francisco.