It postponed my new play, compromised freelance gigs, and diminished income. It barricaded proximity and sparked an existential crisis where a sense of purpose came into question. Shaking our very foundations and sheltering our souls.
When Governor Cuomo put the Big Apple on PAUSE to make New Yorker's quarantine from contracting and spreading the plague, it brought out the best and worst in us.
We quickly learned to innovate home and work while first responders and essential workers became modern saviors. But, social distancing exposed our economic disparity.
When the president of the United States called the Coronavirus the "China virus" (and most recently “Kung-Flu”), he took away my favorite food. It felt like a personal attack.
Our commander in chief fomented fear and Chinese people became the target of racism and violence, and my favorite take-out places were forced to shutter due to ignorance and hate.
During a time when fancy restaurants set up food pantries and bars offered margaritas-to-go, you would think fast food joints would thrive like New York royalty.
Suddenly, I was bereft of boneless Spare Ribs. Chicken Mei Fun. Beef with tomato. Bean curd and bok choy with black bean sauce. Pork dumplings.
An egg roll with duck sauce.
Sure, I dusted off my spatula and made a few good meals, but my ginger chicken couldn't compare to the one I took for granted all these years.
So, when my local Chinese place reopened like a paradise in the middle of pestilence, my heart swelled.
The owner, a modest chef whose food I've been eating for 23-years, a man whose name I didn't know, hugged me with his eyes.
I cried as I biked away with a bag of roast pork egg foo young.
The way Asian people were maligned during this pandemic still disgusts me, but they’ve only been culinary heroes (and many other things) to me.
His name is Dave.