Even if you read a quarter of these emails, you know that riding my bike is the grounding thing I do to get through my daily anxiety. I’ve been riding for years and here’s why, apart from the exercise thing: it shifts my perspective. A car trip to the Mission, or Gates Pass, or Molino Basin or Colossal Cave sounds frankly quite far, even with the world zipping by at 40 miles an hour, But on the bike, it’s a chance to see all the things you miss when you’re all boxed up in a car. You notice the coyotes, or the graffiti, or the bird that sits on top of the same street sign at the same time every day. You get a big dose of saguaro forest, or a field of chollas, or an ever-growing collection of tents and strewn garbage that make up a homeless camp. Sometimes it’s inspirational and sometimes it’s depressing, but it’s always a way to be present in the moment.
The pandemic is doing the same thing for me. Not that I wouldn’t love to be running around a busy restaurant, checking on guests, talking about what wine goes with what food, or even- and I can’t believe I’m saying this- making cocktail sauce for someone who’s sure the shrimp would be better with cocktail sauce. But the dramatic change in my day gives me new perspectives. This morning I took a detour on my bike ride to the Primavera Men’s Shelter and met Eric, Ramon and LaJuana, who each play a different part in keeping it running, even during the pandemic, and went through the kitchen with them to figure out how best to handle our next donation run. the shelter normally feeds 100 people a night, but social distancing among those getting meals and keeping the normal crews of volunteers out has meant that they can only serve a third of that now, and it’s been more difficult- church groups can’t come, other volunteers are excluded as well, and people don’t have room in their home kitchens to prepare meals for that many people, so even though they’re feeding fewer people, they’re having a harder time doing it (which, come to think of it, sounds a little bit like the same problem we have.)
But I digress. What struck me today is that when things are normal, I’m too busy doing what’s normal to go to he shelter and meet these remarkable people who give of themselves like nobody’s business. It may be their work, but it’s work that they’ve chosen, for a reason, and their energy infused me with a solid dose of hope for humanity, which had been flagging, I must be honest. It was like being on my bike ride- slowing down and participating in the scenery rather than just zipping through it, for better or for worse, and ultimately feeling a little bit happier and a little bit sadder at the same time. All from slowing down and not being at Feast on the phone, or bussing a table, or making that cocktail sauce in a hurry, because their shrimp is already on the table and they only just now decided that what it really needs is cocktail sauce. And feeling happier is nice, but even feeling sadder is nice, because it feels, well, participatory. And participatory is soothing after six months of isolation.
So our plan is this: Next week’s donation run will actually be three separate runs. It doesn’t make sense to cryovac individual meals that will all be served at once to thirty-something people, so we’re going to bring three days’ worth of meals to the shelter, three times. Eric, who organizes the donation schedule and fills in the blanks, is helping me find the days they need meals the most and we’re filling in the blanks until we get to our usual three-hundred-meal mark. And as per usual, once we get to 250 donated meals, we’re going to throw in fifty more in the name of feeling participatory. I’ll post details soon.
Meanwhile, that’s not until next week, so here’s what’s going on this week: we’re delivering to all of our various hubs this weekend, with a slight change if you customarily pick up at a school on a weekday (I’m talking to you Catalina Foothills High School and Canyon View Elementary School people,) since even though schools are teaching remotely, if they’re open, we can’t hang out in their parking lots. It won’t affect those of you who pick up on weekends. Anyhow, take a look at these links to find out which day we’re in your neighborhood and call in an order and we’ll have it out to you at the appointed time.
I’ll also mention again that you have today and tomorrow left to pre-order your food for Rosh Hashana. Judaism is not required; you merely need to want the food.
We’ll also have our weekly wine tasting- Kevin is back and will be talking about wines that come from places they’re not “supposed to” come from, along with various and sundry other wine experts:
And of course, you’re always welcome and encouraged to pick up the phone and order a little something for yourself, be it food or beverage or a combination thereof. Here’s the menu, complete with today’s specials and baked goods.
Thank you, everyone.