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By Sophia Strawser
I left New York the morning of Tuesday, March 17 – the day all non-essential businesses were closed down. A screenwriter and comedian, with a side gig serving at Friedman’s in Hell’s Kitchen, I suddenly found myself unemployed, so headed to my parents’ home in PA where I was greeted, not with a hug and a kiss, but instead a bar of soap and warm water.
The first week seemed fine. I was away from the panic that was creeping around NYC. I was sleeping sound next to a framed photo of me as drum major of my high school marching band. (It was that very photo that kept me single during high school. Maybe even what keeps me single now – I’ll dive into the emotional later.) I could start the day with a run in the country with no worries of coming within six feet of anything or anyone.
Then we hit the start of week two. I’d exhausted all Love is Blind and Tiger King episodes, and I was through editing a few of my current writing projects. I found myself staring off into the distance, playing my own sad song in my head. You know the soundtrack that plays when the woman in the movie finds out the love of her life has a whole other family? She just spends a montage breaking down and sipping cocktails? That’s the one that was playing over and over again. I’m a chronic glass-half-full kind of person. But as much as I kept (and continue) to say: “Just a few more weeks …” the logical me knew that very well could/would be false. So, as my glass started to look more empty, I reminded myself that, as overwhelming as things were, it was time to fill it up with lemonade.
I’ve started to spend my day finding positives, and looking for much-needed laughter. This too shall pass, but my sense of humor will not. It will be here with me along for the ride.
Watching Purell become the most coveted item on the shelf has reminded me that everything and everyone will get their due time to shine. I may be on the shelf now, but 2021, I’m becoming overpriced and wanted by all.
The grocery store used to be one of my least favorite parts of the week; now I’m borderline wearing a gown and putting on rouge for it.
There are tons of online workouts for free. My new way of working out has become following my favorite instructors and studios on Instagram and tuning into their Instagram Live workouts so I still have that sense of community as I exercise. Maybe I’ll even wear an outfit that matches one of these days. Maybe.
I have a private chef right now. She cooks me dinner every night and also cleans up after me. As of now she’s not available for private hire, but if she does ever go public, look for her under the name “Mom.”
Yes, no one is touching right now, but the positive is that, since my lowest love language is touch, day by day, we’re getting closer to my ideal situation.
None of my friends have that perfect, attractive FaceTime angle down, and for that I am forever grateful.
Since I’ve got a wide open schedule, I’ve been running every day – something I used to hate. I used to think I wanted to be able to use my knees by the time I was 60 years old but now I’m like, screw it. Live in the moment.
I’m thankful to Tiger King for reminding me it was a good choice not to get those bangs.
Hitting “Yes I’m still watching” on Netflix is quite literally keeping me at home and saving lives. This is a war I can and will fight.
WHERE MY FRIEDMAN’S FAM IS AT RIGHT NOW …
“I’m on my fourth week of quarantining with my boyfriend and his family in Atlanta, and we are still trying each day to file for unemployment. My days consist of long coffee and Netflix moments, a couple of hours on my feet in the sun, and using any motivation that’s present to create something.”
“I am quarantining in South Florida with my family. We are using this time to work out together as a family, and also taking full advantage of our beautiful swimming pool. There is lots of baking, and wine drinking. I am also using the time to create a new vocal reel. The quarantine is good for catching up on things I have put off, but I am so ready to head back to my city and see my wonderful co-workers and incredible Friedman’s regulars.”
“My husband, Unai, and I are quarantined at home in Brooklyn with our pup, Anubis. We are using this time to rest, regroup, and work on our personal businesses and creative endeavors.”
Urias Martinez Torres
“I live close to the epicenter of COVID, where I have been quarantining with my roommates. This has changed how I look at life, as my family has been affected by the virus. I am taking this time very seriously, and hope you all are too. I’ve been trying to stay positive by doing yoga, watching TV, listening to music, and dancing.”
Sophia Strawser is a screenwriter and comedian who has worked a side gig at Friedman’s in Hell’s Kitchen for four years, and has written for W42ST for a year and a half. She does stand up at clubs including Gotham Comedy Club and Greenwich Village Comedy Club, and has a web series called Tipping Point, which was recently screened at the Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival. Follow her on Instagram @sophiastrawser
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