Downtown Seattle isn’t completely empty, but there is suddenly more space. Buses zoom by, though they carry few passengers. Rush hour traffic is a faint memory as cars speed along the avenues. Instead of weaving my way through crowds of people, I now have meters of sidewalk all to myself.
I went on a cookie break this afternoon. The sole employee in the cookie shop saw me pause at the front door while I read the sign: “Express window is open”. From inside, she beckoned me to walk three meters to the right, and when I arrived at the window, she slid it open.
“Hi. Do you have day-olds?”
“Yes, right here.” She waved a gloved hand over the small basket sitting just inside the window. Cookies, stacked three high, were wrapped tightly in saran wrap. I selected a standard chocolate chip stack and a double chocolate stack.
While we waited for the credit card reader, we talked about these extraordinary times.
“Thanks for providing cookies to those of us who are working.”
“Thank you for buying them!”
“Yes, I’m glad that this shop is open. At least we have jobs.”
She nodded vigorously, then added, “Yeah, we are lucky.”
About an hour earlier, I asked one of the younger nurses at the agency how she was doing. She said that she was doing okay, then shared that she was grateful that she still had a job. She grimaced while she shared this anecdote: “Have you heard of This Fancy Restaurant? They laid off all of their staff on the same day. They can’t even collect unemployment.”
After tucking the two stacks of cookies into my coat, I saw this:
The restaurant serves a type of Asian cuisine. The man behind the counter was helping a customer, so I didn’t go in to thank him. Had I done so, I think I would’ve started crying.