March 13, 2021

My Saturday nights out back. This Saturday marks a year since the last Saturday out a year ago when I took a Lyft to BART to SF and noticed there weren’t any older folks all dressed up to attend the shows in SF like usual and I saw one person wearing a mask on the train thinking maybe that’s a good idea if this get’s weird.. Then I took a cab I caught immediately on a desolate Market St with only a few tourists milling about, up through the Tenderloin and as we drove past the tents and people the cabbie said, we’re all going to die. They’re all going to die in this.

OK man…

He dropped me off and I went to the old Jack’s Elixr up there down from Van Ness and had a drink, watching everyone having a good, boisterous un-pandemic time, steeped in that normal something sports TV on the walls, conversational around each table close talking important points and interjections, in a jukebox omnipresent beer and drinking din, then I walked down the block and helped Dante get his amazing cake he’d made for the opening out of his car and we went in to meet many friends at the Modern Eden for that awesome art show and then after, we Lyfted off to Benders to see Mike Davis play with his band Bad Lemon with all the hanging out no masks, sweaty buzzed people dancing, hanging at the bar trying to get the bartender’s attention so you can get another drink and then navigate back into the band crowd, with some of us feeling something we’d never experienced was just around the corner but all of us having no idea the extent of this shitshow we were bending into.

Comments like “We can do this, it’s just a couple weeks”.. yea I remember that.

Ms Bird and I went to Alameda today to pick up product at Ulta and we were going to look for cheap crap at Bed Bath and Beyond, but we parked and walked up and it’s gone. Bed Bath and Buh Bye … probably insensitive? Is that a franchise or a chain? But we laughed because we’re pandemic insane.

Most of the small food places had people in lines outside waiting to get their food. Trader Joes was packed, with an employee person over to the side sanitizing parked shopping carts spraying the handles with that wet spray, catching the sun, sparkling, before wiping down the handle as variously nose covered, uncovered, masked people grabbed the clean carts and took the plunge inside.

Ms Bird wears two masks when we’re inside places with other people, the KN95 inside and the stylish one outside and we were getting a bit agitated at the time it was taking to pay for our shit while we stood six feet apart in line between perfume with the coffee beans to clear your pallet and paper strips to evidently spray perfume on so you can sniff it. Bird educated me on these things. I wondered what size perfume molecules are since I could smell them through the mask and about respiratory droplets and how I’d have been fine with never spending any time reading about how viruses spread. I was there to buy shampoo. For most of the wait I was trying to understand all the perfume companies from their branded images.. they all kind of seem the same. Then it seemed like we’d been there longer than we should have been to just give someone money so we could get the fuck out of there.

I asked her, is this person in front of us buying a house, WTF? and we finally got out with a quick purchase. I think she got some points or something but we were outta there pretty quick. We felt like we’d done our part by not making people behind us wait forever. Because .. pandemic. But we didn’t mention it. it was just understood.

Once in the car there was the usual Purell before taking off the mask. The car has all the stuff.. mouthwash I gargle if I’m inside and think I might have gotten a viral dose.. tissues to blow my nose. Hand lotion because the hand sanitizer is rough on your hands.. Gloves for pumping gas. And all manner of masks.

We drove around Alameda taking intentional too long random turns to check out what’s going on out and about, with the sunroof open, and we ended up at the In and Out off Willie Stargell for monster fries and a double double in the Kia watching little children running around outside the car. One urchin hugged the post in front of us and licked it and we were like gross as we listened to Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads. Ms Bird said “Roll up the windows if we’re parked in the kid contagion zone”. We also bought two puppy patties (non salted beef patties) and brought them home to Tallulah and Dash who we left home for a record (for Tallulah) 2 hours alone.

One thing I had to do when I realized the world was shutting down, was to have places to inhabit this pandemic year on our property so I could move around environments to do my stuff since the only other environments we visit are hiking with the dogs or going to the store to pick up provisions or to restaurants to get take out. I’m fortunate to have this back yard and first I fixed the bar roof. I can hang back here in pouring rain and stay dry now. Goal accomplished. That first rain I was like. yeah…

I filled in the gaps around the windows of the bar so cold air doesn’t pour in like it did before. Then I bought a Stanley forced air heater which is one of the greatest investments I’ve ever made. Even without a fire in the pit, Ms Bird can hang out here and tell me she’s hot when it’s in the 40s at night. Yea.. great heater.

So, for the time being it’s just me and the dogs out here with Bird in her studio and for those times I put together a heating vent running up behind the bar to toast out the inside of the bar. Another goal accomplished. Hanging here, checking out FB in the warm AF backyard Beulah Bar.

I’m going to work on building a door on the bar left facing the street (if you’ve been here you know where I’m talking about) next, so we can have a door, with a bouncer to check id, check your vaccine card, take your temp and run a quick nasal swab COVID test at our first party because you can never be too sure. Unless you don’t go through that door… then do whatever.. check out what’s going on in the basement.. it’s crazy in there.

I miss all of you. It feels like there is an end coming to this fucked up pandemic… finally… so looking forward to hanging out again. Let the roaring 20s finally start.

Tom Van de Sande
Dont drink all
Tequila before i arrive!😉

Lyn Alcantara
Can’t wait till I can sit outside in th a t fun space with you and Jen😊

Nelda Barchers
Love you John. I went into a store too. And the check out was where it felt stressful. The wait the slowness. And if it’s any condolence I ate the coffee beans the day bird and I went to a shop. D s he didn’t tell me we hat to do

Isabel Samaras
Can’t wait to hang with you guys again ❤️

Jim Mosbaugh
We should meet in NO soon.

Glenda Solis
a great verbal snapshot of your life……

Lainie Monsef
Definitely Roaring 20s ahead!

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