i woke up at 8:30am so i could leave for chinatown by 9am. besides snacks, i wanted to get some smoked plums for the suanmeitang summer drink my parents were thinking about making. i figured 30 minutes to get there, 30 minutes of shopping, then 30 minutes to get back. if eveything goes accordingly to schedule, i could be back at home by 10:30am and still have plenty of free time before my census work begins at 12pm.
i don't often take the motorcycle into boston, and wondered if it would've been faster going by bicycle instead, since i wouldn't have to get stuck in traffic jams. but there was a 10 minute different accordingly to google maps, and i still needed to work, didn't need a roundtrip bike ride into boston to tire me.
i got to ming's market by 9:37am. i don't remember ever being there so early, everyone seemed to be busy restocking the shelves. i searched the dried herbal aisle but couldn't find smoked plums. after paying for my groceries and stuffing them into my saddlebags, i rode 2 blocks to super 88 (c-mart). there was parking congestion but i pulled into a small spot just big enough for a motorcycle. later i discovered there were plenty of empty parking, but hard to see from the street, and there was nobody there to help direct incoming traffic. super 88 also didn't have smoked plums. i called my mother with the bad news. normally she'd tell me not to bother, but the fact that she didn't meant this was important to her. i told her i'd ride into chinatown proper and visit a chinese medicine shop, which should have them.
i ended up going to nam bac hong chinese herbs on harrison avenue. i parked right out and went into the store asking for "çƒæ¢…". they carried them at $10/lbs. i ended up buying a whole package, which the woman had to get from the back. i paid in cash, fortunately i had a $20 stashed in my driver license and credit card.
by that point i was already off schedule. i came back via beacon street then across the mass ave bridge. i didn't get home until almost 11am, having spent nearly 2 hours on that little chinatown experience to procure smoked plums. $10 a package seemed expensive, but nowhere else carried them, and i didn't have time to go comparison shopping at some other chinese medicine shops. these were good quality smoked plums, even though they were double bagged, the fragrance was still very strong.
i spent the next 30 minutes assembling my list of cases and figuring out my route. afterwards i had some granola-blueberry-yogurt for lunch. i was still eating with just minutes before my shift started.
today's hump day, after wednesday the week will go by quicker. i enumerated some sketchy houses today, including one that was falling apart, weeds growing in the basement, i was so afraid of coming across some dead and rotting animal. to give you an idea how dirty it was, i managed to get 2 mosquito bites while filling out the case report, i hope i don't get encephalitis.
it rained intermittently a few times throughout the day, culminating in the early evening when it was a bit more intense. i was at a senior housing center and waited out the rain with some smoking seniors underneath a large awning. the rain probably affected my productivity because my day's end i only went through 52 addresses, when typically i should be around 70 cases. i still closed out about my average, 27 cases, with 6 interviews.
when i came home at 5pm i was startled that my front door was open. turns out my father stop by, dropping off some dinner. he also came to check out the bar stool i found, and ended up taking it with him back to the cafe. i also gave him the suanmeitang ingredients, including the smoked plums.
highlight of the day was a young woman who buzzed me into her apartment because she thought i was her friend coming to visit. i ended up speaking with her father first, who called her down. apparently she had her own rent-free apartment in the house. pretty, she happily answered all my questions before going back up to her room. afterwards i enumerated the father, who said he hadn't filled out his census yet either. he was watching basketball and was delighted that i was an NBA fan myself. we chatted for a good long time, he was also very political, and i must've gotten him started, because he went on a big speech how white people were subjugating the minorities (himself being black). he was a great guy, i wish i could've stayed and chatted longer, but i had other cases to get to.
another memorable encounter was a woman who answered her door but was reluctant to do the interview because she said she was sick. nowadays when somebody's sick, that means maybe covid. but i kept pushing, said i didn't mind, it'd take a few minutes, and meant she wouldn't have to do it online. so in the end she agreed. afterwards she told me she didn't know what she had, and could very well by allergies. i myself have the same thing. i'm fine throughout the day even though i'm outdoors because i'm wearing a mask. when i come home and take my mask off, suddenly my nose is running (this is the start of ragweed season after all).
i was ready to stop working by 7pm - after 7 hours of work - but as long as there was daylight i kept pushing myself. i stopped when i had 15 minutes left before i'd end up breaking the 8 hour maximum of work we're allowed to do, and quickly raced home by 8pm.
back at home, i was just too tired to eat. after a shower, i rested a bit on the couch, watching some tv, before i had enough energy to go into the kitchen and reheat the korean-style beef dumplings my sister had made. i made a dipping sauce that used a bunch of garlic, was a little afraid how that's going to affect my work tomorrow, but since i'm wearing a mask, i hope nobody will be able to smell my stinky garlic breath.
tonight was the day 3 of the DNC. elizabeth warren, nancy pelosi, hillary clinton, barack obama, and finally kamala harris all gave speeches.