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18 March 2020

One of things that surprises new visitors to San Francisco is the attached housing. While realtors talk up detached housing as a special feature, we've always thought of attached housing as the real plus.

Detached Housing. Shelter-in-place isn't necessarily isolating.

It's earthquake country, after all, and houses that stick together then to stay together.

Our neighborhood, however, is in a part of the city with detached housing. But it hasn't been isolating -- even now.

Throughout the region, we have been advised to shelter in place, minimizing our exposure to other people. And everyone around here is, perhaps surprisingly, observing the order. We're sticking together.

Public transit is empty and the streetcars are finally running on time. Who knew it was the public that was the problem with public transit?

Without the usual stress of daily life, we're finding the city a more civilized place, frankly.

You might think detached housing would make life even more lonely during a shelter-in-place situation since you can't hear anyone between the walls. But it hasn't.

You can take a walk, for example.

And when you do, you'll find quite a few other people taking a walk (if keeping their distance). There are even more people biking for exercise than on a weekend. And quite a few people, working from home, have isolated themselves on their front steps to get a little privacy from the family without losing their WiFi connection.

Without the usual stress of daily life, we're finding the city a more civilized place, frankly. Enjoyable even.

We're refocused on what matters, it seems. The people we live with, preparing a meal, greeting a neighbor, taking a walk, fixing a few things around the house.

It isn't the consumer economy we've been trained to feed but we don't miss it. We don't even miss the sports, really. In retrospect, they seemed to have been greatly overemphasized. We've even forgotten why athletes make more money than nurses and schoolteachers but we're sure there must be a good reason.

And with the simultaneous failure of over-the-air TV to deliver any engaging content, we find ourselves indulging in reruns of our favorite television series (Doc Martin, Montalbano, Manara, etc.) and exploring full-length features without commercial interruption on YouTube, Hoopla, Kanopy and

Who knew sheltering in place could be so culturally rewarding? Makes you wonder why we don't set aside a few days every year to reset reality.

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