Friday, March 27, 2020

We Can Do Hard Things, Friday 3/27/20

What's the wider world looking like, Reader? The garbage trucks are passing by as I type, and I am as fascinated by those arms that reach out to grab the bins and carry them up and over and dump their contents as my small boys were so many years ago. I feel grateful that these workers are still out there, doing their jobs, for us. Thank you, sanitation engineers. Thank you healthcare workers. Thank you. The trees have burst forth tender green, the oakleaf hydrangea has decided to flower, the air is crisp still and the sun glorious.


An old friend died on Tuesday night in New York City. Floyd Cardoz, a 59 year old chef with whom I worked alongside for a year or so at Restaurant Lespinasse. I hadn't kept in touch with Floyd in many years, other than following him on social media and feeling glad that such a nice and talented guy had "made it." And he was the nicest guy. I worked with him on the line. Before I worked in the pastry shop, I worked the garde manger or salad and appetizer station. Lespinasse was a high-end (the highest of high-end) restaurant, and the appetizers and salads were elaborate. I remember one dish had 17 garnishes, and if one was missing,  Chef Gray Kunz (our maniacal leader who also recently died but not of Covid) would notice and scream at us something like WHERE IS THE CHERVIL?and we'd be in the shits, in the weeds, poking each other and rolling our eyes and always, always, laughing up our sleeves. Floyd was incredibly talented and just a good, good man. When I read his obituary late on Wednesday night, I cried for him, for his family, for all of us. It's just so horribly sad, and I don't understand how we will bear the coming weeks.

Here's a poem:

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world. 
Remember June's long days, 
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew. 
The nettles that methodically overgrow 
the abandoned homesteads of exiles. 
You must praise the mutilated world. 
You watched the stylish yachts and ships; 
one of them had a long trip ahead of it, 
while salty oblivion awaited others. 
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere, 
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully. 
You should praise the mutilated world. 
Remember the moments when we were together 
in a white room and the curtain fluttered. 
Return in thought to the concert where music flared. 
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn 
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars. 
Praise the mutilated world 
and the grey feather a thrush lost, 
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes 
and returns.

Adam Zagajewski 


  1. I am so sorry. I think that before this is over it will have touched all of us personally.
    Love you.

  2. We just keep waiting here. The world is weird right now. I still go to work but every day there are new protocols and checks. We have one inpatient with COVID-19 which scares me. One patient coded this week. I've cried a few times this week and can no longer see Katie. My daughter in law is sick now. Not sure what to do because my grandson is probably infected too. So far she's okay but she has asthma. Wait in see.

    Sending hugs.

  3. I was very sorry to hear about Floyd's death. I am angry that this healthcare crisis has been so incredibly mishandled and that lives, many lives, will be lost because of a lack of competence AND compassion. I am grateful for the medical professionals on the front line, the grocery store workers, the businesses that are stepping up. We will definitely be a changed country once this is behind us and I'm betting that we will be a better one. That sounds so optimistic, especially in the midst of this clusterf&#k of a situation. Perhaps that beautiful poem you attached helped. Thank you.

  4. I read Floyd Cardoz's obituary, never imagining I knew someone who knew him personally. It's just another surreal dimension of this whole thing -- how the virus touches us all one way or another. I still can't believe it killed Terrence McNally.

    I had the same thought this morning about the sanitation workers -- they came to collect our trash, and I thought, thank goodness they're still out there, doing their jobs!

  5. What a beautiful poem, thank you.

    Now is the time when we hopefully realise how much of our survival in luxury or comfort - public utilities, food and agriculture, care workers, shop assistants, security guards, . . . - depends on people working for very low pay.

  6. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your friend. Are both your boys still home with you?



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