Thursday, March 18, 2021

Life in the Time of Virus - The New Year

City Roofs by Hopper, 1932
 A year ago, my company sent everyone home. It was thought at the time it might be a few weeks, then a few months, then by Fall at the latest.

And now it may be by early Fall of this year, and even then it may be only for a few days a week just to keep touch in the flesh.

I've been back in the office a few times since then, and it still looked a bit like the Mary Celeste. Our department were in the process of reshuffling our desks around when the word came down, so some desks are empty, some have boxes, and some still have everything on them as if the occupant had just stepped away. Looking out the windows, I can see new skyscrapers that been erected while we've been gone, further blocking the view of Lake Union.

I haven't gotten my vaccine yet, though not through a lack of desire. Each state has its own schedule and rules, and, alas, I am neither old enough or nor sick enough or nor vital enough to get priority. And, to be honest, I don't want to jump the queue to get a shot when there are people who ARE old enough, sick enough, or vital enough still waiting for the situation.

However, every report I get from family and friends says that when it DOES become available, and one figures out how to get it, the entire process is well-run and fairly painless (painless compared to coming down with the coronavirus). So I have something to look forward to.

The numbers continue to climb, though a lower rate than the winter highs. But also climbing has been the number of doses administered. At the time of this writing, there have been 29 million cases in the US, and 538,000 deaths. But 113 million doses of vaccine have been administered and that number is climbing rapidly. 

In the meantime, the dawn has begun to claw its way back from utter darkness. Seattle is the northernmost major city on the continental US, further north than the bulk of the population of Canada. So the winter darkness hits us hard. Back in the beforetimes I was used to watching the dawn from an upper floor of a Seattle skyscraper. So working at home has had that advantage, but I follow the sun - the earlier it rises, the earlier I will be at work. 

There is the other social distancing going on right now up here - this one involving birds. Due to wildfires, we have an "irruption" of pine siskins. Now while "pine siskins" sounds like a snack food, it a small, mostly-Canadian bird that is now is hanging about in large numbers in the Puget Sound region. This sudden overpopulation is called an irruption, and would not be a big deal, except that they are currently carrying a deadly form of salmonellosis . So birds need to socially distance. Which means that we can't use the bird feeder in the back yard until the beginning of April. Maybe longer. Yeah, I know how the birds feel.

And we have housemates up here on Grubb Street. Some friends were having housing issues, a situation made more serious by one of them having to undergo chemotherapy up in Seattle. So they have joined us, and we have been doing a lot of cleaning and moving things about, as well as adjusting to other peoples' rhythms in the house. Part of this has been to encourage the Lovely Bride and I to do some projects we have been meaning to do for some time, like strip out the carpeting in the guest room or (slowly) dispense with a lot of my comic collection in the basement. (OK, it is no longer a collection, it is an mere accumulation - if you're looking for something in particular, I am sending it all to Page Turner Books down in Kent - good store, check it out).

But as a result of all this, my time usually spent screwing around has been diminished, and there are things that still need to be done all around me. Sort of a spring cleaning on overdrive.

It will still be a couple months before I can spend the evenings on the back deck with a good book and a strong drink, but I am working towards it. In the meantime, I remain confined to quarters, wearing a mask on the rare times when I do go out, and generally bearing up.

More later,