Friday, March 27, 2020

Still Staying In

How are you all holding up? K and I are still doing well here in NYC. Our friends and family are also doing alright, the most immediate worry is just for family members who still need to work outside the home in essential functions in their states.  

Since my last post, K and I have done our first post-lockdown - and post-Governor Cuomo "PAUSE" order - grocery trip. We now plan to only go out roughly once every two weeks, a slightly more restrictive social-distancing plan than our previous target of only going out once every 10 days or so. Roughly two weeks worth of groceries is about as much as we can physically carry between the two of us in one trip, so it'd be difficult to try to go even longer between outings. 

NYC is actually doing quite well - maybe better than most parts of the country - when it comes to the availability of most supplies and groceries, provided that one is willing to shop in-person. Paper products, including toilet paper, seem to be reliably back on most store shelves most of the time, albeit not necessarily in one's preferred brand or package size. I think hand sanitizer and Lysol or Clorox wipes are still difficult to find, as those sell out quickly whenever a store gets them in, and face masks and thermometers may both be largely impossible. But otherwise there shouldn't be anything we're missing in the short term. 

At least in my neighborhood, grocery delivery services don't currently seem to be able to keep up with increased demand. (Our parents are feeling quite anxious about our going out at all in NYC, and they keep asking us to solely rely on delivery services for our grocery needs. But I don't think that's currently possible.) In my neighborhood, it was already difficult to get a Freshdirect delivery slot at the best of times, and now - unsurprisingly - there are none to be had for the foreseeable future. Foodkick tends to still have delivery slots available, but they run out of high-demand food products quickly. I don't particularly like the grocery stores available through Instacart in my neighborhood, so that's not an option we've explored. I took a quick look at Peapod and there's not a single delivery slot available through April 8, the furthest out date one can attempt to book at this time. 

But when one goes grocery shopping in-person in NYC, there are plenty of items on the shelves. We went to a Trader Joe's, and saw that our nearest branch had taken significant new measures for safety: They limit the number of shoppers allowed in-store at a time, to a level that mostly allows staying six feet apart inside, even with the narrow aisles. They've also drawn chalk lines roughly six feet apart outside, to facilitate maintaining proper distances apart while queueing up to go in. There are also painter's tape marks on the floor inside for when shoppers are lining up to check out, but because that area of the store is so narrow, there isn't quite a complete six foot radius around each shopper in the checkout line. Pretty much all items, including ground meat and fresh chicken - which I've heard are difficult to find in grocery stores elsewhere - and high-demand pantry staples such as rice or pasta, were fully in stock. 

At some point, though probably only starting a month or two from now at the earliest - which makes us incredibly lucky, I know - my attorney friends and I may need to start worrying about the recession and what it means for our industry and our personal job security, but that's a fairly distant, abstract thing for now. One top NYC law school has already postponed their on-campus recruiting program, which would originally have been scheduled to take place in late summer, primarily for students who are currently 1Ls. That seems to me to be a signal that the hiring cycle for biglaw is going to change dramatically.

I fully appreciate what a privilege it is to feel somewhat certain that my job security is likely a "next month" or "two months from now" worry, not an immediate one. So for now, I'm continuing to make donations to the Food Bank for New York City and to World Central Kitchen, and to look for ways to support various small businesses. Among other things, I made a modest donation to my hair salon's GoFundMe: My longtime stylist, whom I'm very fond of, opened their own salon less than a year ago, and theirs is among the many businesses badly affected by the necessary shutdown orders. I figured I might as well donate roughly the cost of my long overdue haircut.

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I haven't been able to do quite as much reading for fun as I expected. Current events seem to make me a bit too tense and antsy to settle down well enough for a nice long reading session. I'm working steadily through Hilary Mantel's newly released The Mirror and The Light, which is excellent, but is not as quick a read as Bring Up the Bodies. I just finished Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, which I enjoyed. I've also been spending many hours playing the new Animal Crossing game on the Nintendo Switch! 

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