Surviving the Apocalypse

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Surviving the Apocalypse

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I live in nice town in the Eastbay about twenty miles from San Francisco. Its population is around 70,000 and its downtown is home to dozens of restaurants and high-end retail stores. On the afternoon of March 16th of this year Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all non-essential businesses shutdown and locked down. The next morning I took a walk downtown only to find that the normally busy streets were deserted. It felt like I was one of the last people on earth. The normal sounds were all but gone and it sort of felt like an episode from the Walking Dead. For the next couple weeks and eventually months I walked downtown every day and sat on a bench reading a book. The business that I used to work at was deemed non-essential, so I was initially furloughed. Over time people gradually began venturing out and some of the familiar sounds returned such as people talking and the noise of traffic.
Two months into the pandemic almost all of the businesses in my town were still closed. On my daily walk one afternoon I noticed something odd. As I looked up from my book, I noticed a large convoy made up of dozens of vehicles racing into the retail shopping district. Once there the drivers parked their cars and people began pouring out. Within a few minutes there were a couple hundred people breaking into and looting the closed retail stores. The towns relatively small police force was caught by surprise and within a half an hour almost every high-end retail store in town was cleaned out. There was no protest involved it was simply a coordinated raid. The next day on my walk downtown I noticed that every business in town had been boarded up and all the people were gone again.
A little later in the pandemic the California wildfires began. I continued my walks with the constant smell of smoke in the air. On many days the sun was completely blocked out by smoke. The massive fires created a weird atmospheric condition. The smoke hovered at about 5,000-10,000 feet and it was as dark as night on some days but there was relatively little smoke at ground level. Now about seven months after the lockdowns began things are returning to normal and I still walk downtown every day.

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This item was submitted on October 15, 2020 by John Taylor using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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