BOBBY MASTRONICOLA, WHO WAS BORN IN THE WEST VILLAGE, and now works at the Florence Prime Meat Market leads the daily 7p.m. round of applause for essential workers and healthcare professionals. Photo by Bob Cooley.

By Roberta Curley

It took four weeks of sheltering in place, for the coronavirus pandemic

to make me smile. I was thankful to still be alive and for the first time

in my life, I grabbed a glimpse of clarity as to my life’s desires and

plans. I scrubbed my blinds, deep-cleaned my bathroom, realized my

eyes were bigger than my stomach after getting sick on my

stockpiled food and drink and—started gathering approximately

250 poems off of my living room and bedroom floors, two couches

and every free surface I had dumped them on.

Well, let’s say I’ve bagged 90% of the poems. I was literally wading

in poetry for years. I’m so NOT proud of that fact.

Yet, I have the coronavirus to thank for my undertaking a huge task

that likely would never have gotten launched.

It’s so weird how the universe works. I despise the virus for the

suffering and misery it’s causing. But it has slowed my pace down

enough for me to THINK clearer. Anxiety, depression, fear, and

some odd gastrointestinal symptoms come along in waves. They

are the price I pay for self-elucidation.

The pandemic is not affecting me alone. Essential workers work

their butts off and often with grace and joy. I never realized

the indomitability of my neighbor’s spirits under extreme duress.

I realize I am one of the weaker of my species.

But I am extraordinarily grateful and thankful for every neighbor

who makes a concerted effort to help lower the curve. I am still

breathing and I have my own neighbors to thank for it. I do a

teary-eyed seven p.m. cheer at odd hours. I’m grateful for my

elected officials too. They have banded together and toiled, embracing

my Greenwich Village, my state of New York, and me—CHEERS!

FAMILY TIME: John Jenkins fixes his daughter Mika’s Mask while at an outing in Washington Square Park. Photo by Bob Cooley.

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