Hey folks, one decent therapy for times like these when the world’s trying to drive you crazy is to tell your story; doesn’t matter if anyone’s listening. This is adapted from an email to the family that got kind of out of control. Write your own #PlagueJournal entries and I’ll read ’em.
I feel vaguely like I’m setting a bad example as I cycle furiously on empty-ish streets across town each day to the boat and back; the smallest office I’ve ever had, but the view is decent.
The weather remains obstinately wintry, temperature refusing to venture out of single digits, which is OK when the sun’s out which it mostly isn’t. Nonetheless everything that can grow flowers is already showing them or expanding the buds as fast as possible. Mom was supposed to come visit us about now and there would have been lots to look at.
Downtown, people gather on their balconies and cheer wildly for three minutes for the caregivers at 7PM when the hospital shifts change; we were driving through the neighborhood last week, unsuspecting, as it exploded. Not a dry cheek in the car. Locally we’ve revived and expanded a long-neglected neighborhood mailing list, seeking people who might need some help; plenty are offering but everyone seems to be making a go of it. Anyhow, this very evening we gathered in a socially-distanced way at the end of the block to bang pots and drums and tambourines and clap hands for three minutes, lots of smiles and none forced.
Some people are much more monastic in their isolation: go shopping once every other week, stay inside. We find the grocery stores are sanitizing and social-distancing effectively, so we shop more often. Also we’d really like some of the restaurants to survive this thing so we’re getting take-out a couple or three times a week. Plus we go for lots of walks - there’s a new sidewalk courtesy where you make space for each other, stepping into the (empty) roads or on people’s lawns if need be. Very Canadian.
We pick charities and send them money but so much of the population was already living so close to the edge, these wounds will take a long time to heal.
We’re actually keeping in better touch with our friends than in healthy times, via Zoom and Skype and so on. Unfortunately what we talk about mostly is the plague news. I’m kind of tired of talking about it. One of the best military blogs is entitled War is Boring — well, so is Covid-19.
I, a data-driven numbers guy, find the daily recitation of statistics maddening, although everyone in the province loves our chief medic Dr Bonnie Henry, who has a silken voice and a Stoic demeanor. They give numbers like “number of cases” which I think means “positive tests”, a number that is entirely useless because the testing is (quite reasonably) directed at the most vulnerable and critical demographics. I am beginning to zero in on the number of cases admitted to hospital every day, or rather the rate of change in the number admitted — at least there’s clarity in what that means — and in BC, the rate of change in daily admissions is zero-ish. Which is not exactly good but not catastrophic. Catastrophic is New York today and Florida & Louisiana & Alabama & Texas looking forward four weeks. I don’t want to think about India and Africa.
Alberta is doing a little better than us, Ontario worse but not terrible, Quebec worse. But not bad like America, so far.
At work, we are running hot. Everyone’s stuck at home and using the Internet, which means us. Over on the retail side, the order spikes are frightening given that a lot of our employees are staying home for excellent reasons and the ones who are coming in have to work at half-speed due to constant disinfecting and social distancing. I see headlines in progressive publications saying how we are cruelly ignoring the plague conditions; and internal emails about all the products that are going on four-or-more-week delivery because they have to run everything extra-slow to protect the staff so they can keep shipping groceries and cleaning products. I really honestly don’t know what to think.
Our side of the company just has to make sure there are enough incremental waves of computers available each new day to keep Zoom and Netflix and ambulance-dispatch apps on the air.
The boy and the girl are both at-school-online right now, Lauren and I at-work-online. If it weren’t for the boat we’d be in trouble since the guest room is under post-asbestos-remediation reconstruction and we’re packed in pretty tight already 9-to-5 without me being in the house.
I’d really rather not be living inside a historically-significant news story. But we all are, so the only choice is to make the best of it. The virus doesn’t care how brave you are, only how smart you are.
In closing: https://xkcd.com/2287/.