Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Life in the Time of Coronavirus, the Mini-Series

Cape Cod Morning by Hopper
Our fourth month of solitude has passed. The wisteria and the rhododendrons have faded, and the foxgloves and the salmon berries have bloomed and withered. The short thick dandelions in the yard have given way to taller, thinner variety that I find pretty but the Lovely Bride does not care for. We have moved from the overcast of "June-uary" (yes, it is a thing with a name out here) to the cool dampness of "July-bruary" be which is not a thing, but hey, I'm trying to start something, here.

The situation beyond the walls has gotten better in some places, much, much worse in others. Seattle, one of the original hot spots, has stabilized, and has improved marginally. We have pounded on the curve, but are still seeing the occasional spike. Lest we feel too proud of ourselves, other parts of the state and the country have tried to return to the previous age, only to discover that the corona virus has been waiting patiently outside the doors for them. As I write this, particular states in the south and west are seeing their hospitals overloaded with new patients, and other countries, who have been isolating and mask-wearing and have leveled off, look at the US with puzzlement - how could we blow this? We were supposed to be the smart kids.

It has been a failure at the highest levels, supported by ignorance at the lowest. Both have been afflicted by denialism and a feeling of personal exemption. The literal persecution of those with the knowledge of the virus has be nothing short of amazing - something that shows up in a heavy-handed Sci-Fi thriller where the scientist is dragged out of the room shouting "You fools! It's a cookbook!". The latest is the pitch that hospitals should not share their information with the CDC, which would, you know, just share it with anybody. Meanwhile, the Facebooks are full of stories about people who declare loudly they won't wear masks, followed by an announcement of them being admitted to the hospital or, worse yet, their obituaries. I take those stories with a grain of salt, since they fit way too neatly to a preferred narrative that such foolishness will be punished, but they are there. I never expected instant karma to be so ... instantaneous.

Similarly, I am surprised that the recent BLM protests have not moved the needle much. Again, it fits with a comforting narrative that people trying to do good are somehow spared the worst effects of this virus, but this seems to be the general case. I marched in Kent (most diverse city in Washington, so we had a good turnout), and the day was sunny, the marchers were suitably masked and moving, and the gatherings were socially distanced when we stopped. Still, this was the largest gathering of people I had been with in months, and was relieved when two weeks passed without any ill effects.

And my outside life is rebounding. We had a Fourth of July "All-Is-Forgiven"* tea party in the back yard with strawberry shortcake, salmon, and tea. We meet every Wednesday afternoon on a friend's back patio for a socially distanced meal. A friend celebrated her birthday with a gathering at a local park. And I took a PTO day to venture indoors into a game store with another friend. But most of my contacts have been outside the house since, well, forever.

No theatre yet, though there are things on the net, they are not quite the same as being in the room where it happens. Yes, I saw Hamilton streaming on the computer, and don't know what to add that has not been said a bijillion times already. It did have an interesting slow burn on me. After watching it, I felt the songs were good but not memorable. Within twenty-four hours I could quote most of them verbatim. Intriguing.

My beard has gone from "grizzled" to "Jeremiah Johnson"

I still work from home, and the larger of the two cats is very needy. When I am on conference calls he demands to be held, so most of the rest of the team knows him very well. while I look like a mildly-discomforted Blofield. I zoom writers groups and tai chi, and play RPGs over the discord. The Lovely Bride has been in tax hell as the three-month extension to taxes comes due this week, and she is still going into her office, which is slowly returning to a lite-version of normal.

Still reading, not writing enough. Health good, and even may be better because I don't commute two hours each day. Taking it a day at a time, and spending the warm(ish) summer afternoons on the patio beneath my unfinished porch, drinking. And for the moment, that's OK.

More later,

*The "All-Is-.Forgiven" Tea Party is the creation of Janice Coulter, who is also the person who originally described D&D as "twenty minutes of excitement packed into four hours".