[email protected]: Podcasts, the Eagle bar & and dreaming of a return to ordinary life

Gaily Planner, Quarantine: Day 68.

I wanna grab a drink with my friends at The Eagle.

I wanna see an off-Broadway show about friends who grab drinks at The Eagle.

Daryl & Travis staging a peaceful “working from home” scenario

I wanna talk about the off-Broadway show with my friends from The Eagle while we plan our summer vacation on Fire Island.

None of this seems likely in the coming weeks. Governor Cuomo will reopen regions in the state in 4 practical phases, none of which include fun.

Mayor DeBlasio has canceled NYC Pride and closed the city beaches to avoid risky social gatherings.

These are rational, reasonable responses to the pandemic, of course, but it restricts what one has to look forward to. Then again, I recognize worrying about summer plans is a luxury that many people do not have.

It could be worse.

It could be so much worse.

While the prognosis for fun may be grim, my day-to-day work life is, in many ways, intact.  Like many of you who are (let’s be honest) lucky to be employed, my boyfriend Travis and I have adapted our non-essential professional lives to the confines of our apartment and its surrounding blocks. Which was easier than I would have expected to be honest. As office drones, for the most part we just need a laptop, a desk and chair, and a decent Wi-Fi connection.

And a typical weekday for most professionals is not all that variable once you think about it.

The bulleted list below might not seem like much, but to me, this list and the people I relate to in accordance with it was very meaningful. It was my life. And I miss it.

Work Week Daily Planner Pre-Quarantine

  • 6:30 am: Wake up and get my sh*t together
  • 6:50 am to 8:10 am: Jog up the street to my CrossFit box, workout at the gym, jog home
  • 8:10 am to 8:45 am: Shower & get ready for work
  • 8:45 am to 9:15 am: Commute via subway to work, during which time I would read my book and consume my podcasts (see end of post) before exiting the train
  • 9:15 am to 9:30 am: Pickup coffee (large, black coffee) and walk to the office
  • 9:30 am to 12:30 pm: Work at the office
  • 12:30 pm to 12:45 pm: Pop-out, purchase salad, bring lunch back to the office
  • 12:45 pm to 1:15 pm: Browse the internet at my desk while I eat
  • 1:15 pm to 6:00 pm: Work at the office
  • 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm: Commute home, again via subway with more books and podcasts
  • 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm: Enjoy dinner at a restaurant (either out with friends or in my neighborhood with the boyfriend). Hijinks may ensue
  • 11:00pm: Sleepytime

What has changed?

Nothing, yet everything.

The most significant daily change is regarding how late I stay up. Without my early morning gym-bligation, I am up with Travis playing cards or binge-watching some new show until 1 am most nights, and usually a bit tipsy by the time I turn in.

Early on, Cuomo shut down gyms state-wide. Another reasonable decision, of course, but I am dependent on my morning endorphin rush to keep me going throughout the day (just wait, youngsters, it will happen to you too!). Now I start each day with a short run, typically along the East River to take advantage of the morning sun. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on my daily podcast ingestion.

In addition to the run, instead of fighting fellow commuters on my way home, I have done the abbreviated online workouts that my CrossFit has posted. Luckily, when Cuomo gave his order to shut down all gyms, our landlord gave us advanced notice and we secured some equipment to make workouts meaningful.

(In case it is not obvious, I plan on doing what I can to avoid the COVID 15, sister of the freshmen 15.)

The only other major change is that working happens from home, the commute from my bedroom to my “office” takes all of 5 seconds and dinner is either something Travis created or takeout from whatever restaurant has persevered.

So, despite the crazy disruption to our lives, I have accounted for every mundane aspect of it. Everything that is, except for the most important – human connection.

Yes, I still have my boyfriend here with me. And yes, all the people that contribute to my day-to-day are alive and available through video conference or webchat. But it is not the same.

It will not feel the same until I board a crowded express train bound for Columbus Circle to join my colleagues in face-to-face meetings without fear of catching a fatal virus.

I believe that time will come again – even if we don’t know when.

Daryl – all he wants to do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom-poom…

I may not be able to plan for the future, but I will make the most of today.


Cultural Highlight of the Day

My love of podcasts has grown during the pandemic, and I recently realized a good one is a more productive use of my workout time than a mindless dance remix. Here are a few I suggest you check out:

If you are already a podcast listener, you are probably aware of the newscast “The Daily” from The New York Times, as it is one of the most popular in the country. The success is well justified – if you don’t know it, check it out!

Also, from the Times, “Still Processing,” is a weekly show about current arts and culture. From deep dives into Fiona Apple to Stephen Sondheim’s online birthday celebration, the gays will appreciate the thoughtful critique of the two hosts, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, apply to any given subject.

And for you book lovers out there, I have recently discovered the “The Librarian Is In” from the New York Public Library. Anchored by the insightful, humorous, and (presumably) gay host, Frank Collerius, and his newish (as of this season) co-host Rhonda Evans, the two have a lovely banter that gets me excited about the undiscovered titles referenced during the program.


This is Daryl Sela’s fourth post in his series, [email protected], about sheltering at home in downtown New York City.

 Photos by Travis & Daryl