Yesterday, I received this letter from an old friend whose small-town a two-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City is being inundated with people fleeing the coronavirus. He wrote:
I went into town yesterday.
In almost 63 years of living in the same small town, I have to say I didn’t recognize it. The post office parking lot was full at 11:30 AM but not with anyone that I knew. Being a daily event, I know everyone in this one-stoplight town. It’s most of my social life in one-stop (haha). So, I walk in through the door that fortunately someone coming out opened (a bonus these days) and there were strangers in masks all standing around. It was somewhere between Zombies and Mad Max at a B movie level.
All I needed was a card of stamps, so I went through the next doors to where the counter is. A young and obviously city woman (they do look different) with a scarf over a mask immediately backed into the farthest corner with eyes of fear like I was the Grim Reaper and her day had come. No really! And another woman at the counter (behind the big yellow line that I missed last week) the same reaction. The Postal Woman who is a friend of mine, laughed and said. “You once again didn’t read the new sign. Two people at a time and you just went front of all of those other people outside the door.” Yikes! I smiled and left.
I then went to the market. Only one other car in the entire parking lot besides employees at 11:45. I have never seen this. One older city guy with a Mercedes and myself in the entire store. The shelves were stocked fairly well considering the number of NYC people here filling the Air BnB’s in the area. But of course, the paper goods were nonexistent.
The town had a weird and different feeling and I don’t like it.
I immediately went back to my studio, went on the USPS web site and had my mail forwarded from my PO Box to a mailbox on the mountain.
One of the strangest days in my life as a small-town local for sure. I can’t wait until this strange time has ended and we locals have our town back.