Everybody is dealing with COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions in different ways. While there's no single right way to cope — social distancing and staying TF home aside — connecting with friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start. You can contact your loved ones on your own, but you might also be curious how your favorite strangers in Pittsburgh are coping, so Pittsburgh City Paper is reaching out once a day to artists, activists, workers, and makers to see how they're doing.
Today, it's James Hill, Mayor Bill Peduto's executive assistant.
What’s your day-to-day routine like now?
Nearly all City employees are working from home. I'm in the office several days a week so it's different, but familiar. The biggest change has been the removal of our interactions with the public on a large scale.
What is something that you would tell a pre-quarantine version of yourself that you think they should know at this point?
To never joke about the bulk amount of paper towels my grandmother buys again.
What is a food you've come to love recently?
My own? I'd never been much of a chef, and this made me realize how much I relied on restaurants. This forced me to try out a lot of different recipes myself at home. Tried a risotto I think turned out pretty well!
What piece of art/book/TV/music is bringing you comfort/inspiration at this time?
I've been reading a lot of history lately. Smoketown [by Mark Whitaker] and a Thomas Jefferson biography. As for TV and movies, I found myself falling back into all my old childhood favorites. Several Harry Potter marathons have taken place.
How is the Mayor's office operating these days? Is everybody acclimated or are you still adjusting?
At this point, I'd say we've fallen into a good routine. The bulk of the office is at home. The Mayor, a few others, and myself are in the office several days a week.
You were inside the City-County building during the "Open Pa." protest on April 20. What was the mood like inside?
The building is down to barebones staff so it was honestly quiet. I was only one of a few City employees and a handful of County employees present. Far from the first or the largest protest I've "seen from the inside." I hate to say it, I believe we need to listen to medical experts on reopening, but to hear a protest outside the building made things seem a bit more normal.
What are you most looking forward to doing when restrictions are lifted?
Family and friends. My sister had a baby during all this. I've been eager to get to spend more time with her and my newest nephew.
What is a charity or organization you'd recommend supporting at this time?
Not sure I could think of one specific charity. Anything that deals with food access. I'd attended a food bank distribution with the Mayor and seeing the amount of people in need firsthand was jarring.