Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Life in the Time of the Virus - Finnegan Begin Again

It is a new year built upon the ashes of the old. 

New York Movie by Edward Hopper, 1939

Sadly, we did not cross the yearly meridian and found our problems solved. There are vaccines on the horizon, but the same venal incompetence at the the national level the got us so deeply embedded in this mess continues to screw up delivery. New strains have popped up, first in isolationist England and then Denmark, expanding to everywhere. These should be affected by the vaccine. Should be.

It feels like walking fire, a cascade of artillery shells that keeps getting closer to our position. I have colleagues who I have never met in the flesh, video ghosts, who have come down with it. Old friends I have not talked to in years tell me the tale on Facebook. People I know have been hospitalized, while ICU beds have failed on us. It looked like we were bending the curve six months ago - now we are being overwhelmed again while people, tired of precautions, are making matters worse by trying to return to a deadly normality.

What happened to the Army Corps of Engineers? Back about a year ago they moved into Quest (now Lumen) field and elsewhere and built overflow hospital space out of nowhere. That was impressive. Yet we have not pulled the trigger on it for this resurgence. Are we better at dealing with it now? I don't think so.

And yet there is hope. Vaccines are rolling out, in sputters and starts. Delivery terms keep changing, but are changing in the right direction, at least.  The entire check on public gatherings has put Washington State, once an epicenter, at 45th on the list of united plague states - not great given the fact that there are 44 states worse off at the moment, but still impressive. At the state level, there is a plan, and it is modified as we know more. Currently the Lovely B and I don't make the initial cut, so we remain working in place.

The holiday season has passed, which on Grubb Street lasts between Thanksgiving and the Lovely Bride's birthday in early January.We went out and cut down a live tree on a small tree farm south of Auburn, as is our wont. Electric candles in the windows, the Lovely Bride brought out her doll collection. Way too many cookies were baked. We had a holiday feast similar to Thanksgiving's - shared dishes that were collated and delivered, followed by an online sharing. We didn't have to iron a tablecloth or clean silverware or set the table, so that was OK.

Shopping was online this year. I had a panic moment in a mall when I popped in for the last-minute things. Most of the people were masked, but the sheer numbers sort of a freaked me out. Yeah, shopping I am more situationally aware of my surroundings.

I have been reading more and writing less. Part of it is a letdown from blogging before the election, and another part is the work load, but I have been carrying a low level of exhaustion through the holidays and afterwards. This entry took a couple weeks to finalize. I have three books that need reviews already in the queue, along with a couple half-written entries on other sundry matters. Right now I have half-way through the latest Three Musketeers translation by Lawrence Ellsworth, which consists of the back half of "Twenty Years Later".

And I have been sporadic on watching streaming stuff. Watching on a tablet is chancy because I can get easily distracted. You hear a reference you don't understand, check out to research it on Wikipedia, and twenty minutes later you are watching a YouTube video on raising bunnies. Caught Mank on Netflix, which I generally liked. BBC Comedies in bits and pieces. I found the Great Canadian Baking Show on the DailyMotion site (the site is overrun with commercials, but serviceable). The GCB is the Great British Baking Show, but even nicer, and is chock full of regional accents, maple syrup, and bacon as a savory component.

Working from home continues. A heavy windstorm rolled through last week, knocking out power for a while, and in an all-online group, that becomes the 21st century version of a snow day. Power was restored, alas, though I spent too much time cutting up large branches in my driveway. That is winter in the Pacific Northwest - rain, wind, fog, and just the barest threat of snow.

I really want to say that we are rounding a corner, but the bend seems further and further away every time I check. We press on, curled up against the winter and the plague winds, because that is the best we can do.

More later,