These days, my blog just seems to write itself. Experiences and new ways of accomplishing almost everything, from washing clothes to shopping, are the norm. But as humans, it takes an exceptionally long time to change our ways so that all our new activities feel stiff and unfamiliar. Take for example, shopping, my passion! Here in Napa County, we are in Phase Two A of the process. That means many retail locations can reopen, except ones that involve person-to-person contact like salons, nail parlors, gyms, and spas.
About a week ago, my husband and I went to the University of California San Francisco hospital, where he had a follow-up appointment for a recent health scare. Since no one is allowed in the hospital other than the patient, I had to occupy myself with walking around nearby.
UCSF is in Mission Bay, as is the beautiful new Chase Center Warriors and concert arena. This venue opened in September 2019 at a cost of half a billion dollars. Besides the 18,000-seat arena, the project boasts 580,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Additionally, a new light rail system connecting the arena to downtown is also proposed, at a cost of $1.0 billion. The MANICA designed arena opened with a Metallica concert playing to a sold-out crowd.
Huge investment full of vision and promise. A community gathering space that would be alive at least 250 nights each year. The one and only first-class arena for concerts in San Francisco. A new space for artists to add to their tour routes! We attended the Sara Bareilles concert in January and though the house was set in the concert-configuration at 10,000-capacity, it seemed like we were onstage with her.
Here is what it looks like now:
Eerie. A boarded-up ghost town cordoned off to all seeking to visit. The many restaurants were either not yet operational when the Pandemic began or closed now because of it. A special favorite of Northern Californians is Gotts, a local hamburger and milk shake joint that now offers sushi and other fancy stuff. I almost cried when I saw this:
How could this happen? Who could have predicted this devastating blow to a brand-new entertainment venue in one of the best entertainment regions in the world?
And just like that, everything changed again! Last week, stores were allowed to open in Napa County, where I live. I was thrilled. It was advertised that the Napa Premium Outlets were not yet open, but that the Vacaville Premium Outlets were (both Simon Properties). I drove the 35 minutes to the Outlets and was greeted by a very spotty opening sequence. Most stores were still closed, and signs disclosed they would be open next week or the week after. The few stores that were open look like this:
One or two customers in each shop. The stock was plentiful because it has been sitting in a warehouse for two or three months, awaiting opening of the stores . I felt particularly sorry for a new William Sonoma Factory store that just opened for the first time, with no customers in its beautiful store:
I have PTSD from trying to keep up with the world. It’s like when you have your first baby, or worse yet, your second baby, and just when you think you have it nailed, their behavior changes, they start sleeping less or more; they don’t like the food today that they loved yesterday; they cry endlessly for no reason, and you want to run away. But of course, you don’t, except for maybe a minute or two when you lock yourself in the bathroom and sob for, which is all the time you are allowed to yourself as a new parent. That is what I feel like today. I want certainty; I want routine; I want to get on a plane and go on my summer vacation; I want to see my grandbabies; I want to kiss my kids! I will just keep muddling along, as I imagine we all will. And I will keep writing blogs that someday may seem like the poetry you wrote when you were a stoned college kid.
What are you doing to stay sane? Share with us your tips for slogging through your days.