Friday, May 1, 2020. Yesterday in New York was overcast and often with a very strong cold wind in what was, according to the thermometer, 59 degrees midday. It was odd; the cold wind came with a mood. That’s probably my tendency to dramatize. After all, in this weather and this situation we’re in, what else is there but drama? Well, we’ll have to think of a few things.
Most interesting, I noticed when walking the dogs, were the tulips — mostly a deep, yet soft red, and tall and royal in their presence, surrounding the trees there were planted under. Yesterday afternoon, they were windblown all leaning over in perfect timing, as if a scene from a ballet. You see, I’m pressing my imagination to get out of that gulping lull that we’re all in. And the tulips really do it for me – for the moment at least. Because they’re beautiful, and strong, hearty and blowing elegantly in the wind. And they’ll be back in majestic place tomorrow, glistening from the rains.
You’ve heard this song from me before. Get out of that mood you’re in. Do yourself a favor. I’m talking to myself now. I’ve read a great deal about the Covid situation and unfortunately there isn’t anybody I know who isn’t deeply affected by it. I’ve read a great many opinions and articles about it, and there still seems to be much unknown and/or unclear.
What is clear is we’re all on hold. And for what, is not quite clear. But it’s taxing and upsetting (even scary) — not unlike riding in a plane circling too many times for a landing.
That happened to me once. The “circling.” I don’t fly frequently. I have my share of fear-moments about it when I do, but they pass. However several years ago on a comfortable and pleasant flight back from London, just as we were about to land at JFK, having “circled” a couple of times, the pattern changed suddenly.
I was seated next to a young woman with whom I had never shared a word in the flight. I could see at the outset that she wasn’t “friendly” which is perfect for a long flight. As we were approaching JFK, the plane veered into a large circling, as if to prepare for the landing. As it continued circling, as if waiting for the tower’s go ahead, it suddenly banked downwards sharply, then suddenly up, and with that my seatmate grasped my right forearm with her left hand clutching! as if to hold on. Was this it? The thought was clear it was out of our hands.
My seatmate never let go of the pressure on my arm, uttering not a word, as we continued for several minutes on this mysterious circling and dipping … until … I started to think “maybe this is it.” But what surprised me that my “fears” had been pushed aside by my seatmate’s terror. I was concerned about her. She was holding on to me but there was nothing I could do anyway. We were all in this alone. But together. I understood about her terror but I didn’t feel it. We were in Fate’s hands, or so it seemed.
Then just as suddenly everything smoothed out. Whew! You could feel the relief in the cabin. Although our attention remained on high alert. And my seatmate remained tense and upright, her hand still locked in a clamp to my arm. She kept it like that until we finally came into the (nice, smooth) landing. And then as the plane began to slowly taxi down into its place to disembark, she removed her hand and gathered her handbag.
I looked at her with a smile, but she never looked at me, remaining silent, looking forward, as if I weren’t there. She never acknowledged me, only the moment. And when we were all upright and moving to the exit, she remained so. Her sudden grasping had instantly relieved my anxiety entirely. I understood. I had seen the other side of my fear.
Back on land. I got a call yesterday afternoon from Oriente Mania from Sette Mezzo. Oriente is one of those restaurateurs who has sunshine at his beck and call. Always a pleasant greeting. He called to tell me that beginning at the end of this week, Sette Mezzo will be open for Take Out.
And then…. At the end of the Second week in May they expect to be open for business at table. Another piece of good news he told me was about the GoFundMe fundraising for the staff of Sette Mezzo who have been out of work now for almost two months. They raised more than $250,000.!!! I think that’s a record.
I must say the secret of Sette Mezzo’s success is not only the management’s welcoming personality, but both the waitstaff and the kitchen are ultimately what draws people back over and over for years. The waiters are all pros and naturally devote themselves to providing attentive and welcoming service. The neighborhood will be greatly relieved when it begins again. So will I!