Now that we’ve started eating outside at restaurants again, I keep flashing back on our last meal inside one before we went into lockdown for what was supposed to be two weeks and is now in the sixth month. We went to the Tang for lunch after the Sunday Greenmarket on March 15. It was slightly surreal — the few other patrons were spaced well apart, but this was weeks before everyone was warned to wear masks, and we were hoping the three cooks making our eggplant and dumplings in the open kitchen were okay, and it was impossible to enjoy the food without worrying we had made a big mistake risking it. As we walked home, we kept passing bodegas where I had tried to interview the Yemeni owners/managers three years earlier, when the nascent fascist’s travel ban was announced and shopkeepers were mobilizing against it. My story never went anywhere, but in retrospect I can see we were witless to believe he would only come for the Mexicans and then the Muslims. Eventually he would hurt us all because, as Adam Serwer perfectly put it: The cruelty is the point.
To think we were promised taco trucks on every corner and now can’t even eat inside a restaurant. Let alone in a foreign country.