Viral San Francisco at North Beach
Billeted in our quarters like the encamped rather than avengers who frenetically zoomed into cars and trains before dawn, we retire to the sound of howls and banging pots throughout the city, rise to make beds with square corners, pull on uniforms of the interred and station ourselves at computers to travel along the internet at the speed of an ever-expanding cosmos. The virus has taken our twentieth-century internal clocks viral, still tightly wound to zoom even faster into the twenty-first.
There is no peace in this.
Historians and novelists will one day describe the sights and sounds of the city from which we, the interred, flee away through the portal of tiny screens. They will speak of the rhythmic pulse of airplanes winging upward and the whimsical clatter of cable cars rolling down that gave voice to the waking city – a time when earnest young men in skinny jeans and backpacks made their way to long-deserted monoliths to bend prayerfully over computer screens and broad chested nannies perambulated their pink and white charges along the bustling waterfront; when the flower man and green grocer owned shops laden with offerings for old ladies with little dogs and the sound of church bells drifted across sleeping homeless.
Outside the city waits for us. Uber-free streets invite a stroll to the water’s edge where the turquoise sky is are so clear we can see the northernmost reaches of San Francisco Bay before fog rushes in on the afternoon winds, and church bells ring throughout the city just for us and the homeless who still sleep in Washington Square.