We’ve been in coro self-isolation for a week. Not really isolation, but coupling. (Yeah, it’s not as sexual as that sounds; we’ve been married over forty something years.) I’ve gone out for walks; my wife and I shopped together twice in that period (keeping six feet away from others, not touching our faces, wiping down the shopping cart handle, wearing gloves), replenishing products and adding new items as we map out a longer term strategy and sort what we have. Some small matters have been learned.
I struggle to write fiction at home. I’m married to my walking-coffee shop-writing process. Like an old married couple, I feel it when the other isn’t present. A vacuum ensues.
I need to bridge it, and I’m working on that. Interruptions are the issue (which I’ve always known): cats visiting, wanting attention (sure, just shut the door, right? Ha, ha!), and the spouse speaking to me to share news or ask questions. Besides that, I developed the WCW process, deliberately training myself to shift to the writing mode.
I’m muddling through, sorting energies and times, trying to make my writing side work. I’ve wondered, though, if the muses haven’t also gone into self-isolation.
Beyond the writing issues, things are working out well. Our place isn’t gigantic, but it’s big enough for a couple and four cats (three residents and a perpetual visitor) that we’re not always on top of one another. We also have the yard, and can escape to it.
In many ways, we’re enjoying ourselves. The coro has united us in focus and intentions, providing structure. We’re working on a jigsaw puzzle together (it’s a good one) and have fun with that. We were doing that before coro struck, though.
I reflect on how our isolation is different from other times. I’ve gone through typhoons, where we stocked up but had a general idea that it would last only a week. Tornadoes were shorter and much more intense. We prepared for earthquakes (we have a disaster kit for fleeing) and wildfires (have N95 masks on hand) (and wish we could donate them to the med professionals because of the mask shortage, but they’ve been in our home for at least a year). We went through several years of drought here where we cut water use, and stayed inside (or went out for limited periods, wearing a mask) because of wild fire smoke. We lived through water rationing on Okinawa, and gasoline rationing in America.
This period, in fact, reminds me of our early married years. I was a young, low-ranked enlisted person. With little money, we were on a strict budget. We never ate out and saved money for treats (HoHo’s could be purchased for one hundred pennies in those days). We didn’t have a television (or a telephone) in the first few months. VCRs (and DVDs, etc) and the net, with its streaming options, didn’t exist. It was just us (with one cat) in the house, entertaining one another with card games, eating simple, inexpensive meals, and reading books.
So, this situation is somewhat better, if you discount the threat of getting sick and dying. We have the net. We have a phone, and several televisions (yeah, way too many, but when you buy one, getting rid of the previous is difficult; I’ve given away many working televisions…but anyway), and streaming options.
And we have money! And an extra freezer! And rooms! And toilet paper! And coffee! (And some wine, beer, brandy, and a few other things.)
We’re damned fortunate to have these things. (Yeah, nice not being poor and having a decent cash cushion.) (Sorry, not gloating just stating facts.) We have the net to entertain us (like reading others’ posts) (and writing my own) and a multitude of news sources (and entertaining animal videos). I love the humor I can find on FB and in posts (like MyDangBlog and “Signs of the Apocalypse”.) People’s comments on my posts, especially about Floofinition and floof rock, divert and amuse me. I love that they address these matters with the same tongue-in-gravity that I apply to them, building on the ideas and adding new material.
Although, alas, there’s not much good stuff to stream right now. Going from source to source last night (Prime, with access to HBO, Showtime, STARZ, etc), Freeform, Hulu, Acorn, and Netflix), it struck me that most streaming services are just like the old cable system that we fled. Lots of old reruns and syndicated old television shows on, and not much new (that we we enjoy) (yeah, we’re picky).
We also have a phone, and email. Jokes fly on email. So does good info. We hear from our extroverted friends and relatives, trapped in their homes, looking for an outlet. My wife handles those calls, except for my family.
Not bad, so far. Yeah, it’s early days, innit it? Hunker down, children. Fingers crossed.
I checked the coronavirus big board this morning. I used to check sports or the stock market. The former is on pause and the latter is a shitstorm that I’m avoiding until the age of coro is done.
The U.S. had reached number five last night, but Iran overtook them overnight. China’s flattened growth continues to give us hope.
South Korea provides more hope, though. They took swift action and held strong after a terrible start. Meanwhile, Japan has it together.
And Russia? Their numbers astonish.
Italy’s numbers are painful (and shocking and dismaying) to view, with reports of almost eight hundred more dead overnight. I feel them.
After that, I get more granular with the U.S, looking at the state and county shots. A friend put this one together.
The red continues taking over; no state is spared. West Virginia (who has a very vulnerable population) was last to report on a case. After reading about someone who sought testing (a grim comedy), I suspect that it existed there, but incompetence (or politics) (or fear) kept the numbers from showing up.
Here’s an excerpt of the grim comedy that Carolyn Vigil endured in WV to get her husband tested.
We went to the ER, and I left James in the car. He was really sick: his fever had been as high as 104°F; he had a cough, terrible headaches, body aches. He has asthma, which can lead to more serious disease. I had no symptoms at that point, but I was trying to keep my distance from people at the hospital, because I thought I could be a carrier. A staff member met me at the door. She was very kind, but she said, ‘I don’t think we’re equipped to do this.’ A nurse came out to the car with a sticky note and the number for a hotline—which I had already tried to call, only to find that the number didn’t work—and told me I had to leave and just call that number, or drive to Morgantown, two and a half hours away. I told her, ‘I’m going to remain calm, but I’m not leaving unless he is at least screened.’ The head nurse came out and saw James, and she could tell he was sick. James and I waited in the car until they took him to a room where they could do the exam without risking others in the hospital. Once he got back there, they were very compassionate. They gave him very good care.
They first tried to rule out all other respiratory illnesses. Those tests came back negative, so they decided to go ahead and do the COVID-19 test. But we had to wait until Tuesday to get the result back. Then Tuesday came and nobody contacted us. We called the ER. The ER told us to call the state health lab. The state health lab told James to call the county health department. The county health department said, ‘We have no record of you ever being tested.’ It was bizarre.
h/t to Time.com Check the whole story. Interesting read.
Beyond it all, we’re still waiting for large pieces of information regarding duration, or an unpleasant second wind from COVID-19, waiting to see if social distancing will successfully flatten the curve and buy us time for a vaccine and more resources. Meanwhile, practice safe living out there.
Floof Leppard (floofinition) – Floofish rock band who struck commercial success with a string of hits in the 1980s and 90s.
In use: “The song “Pour Some Kibble for Me” struck number two on the Floofboard Hot 100 for Floof Leppard in 1987.”
Thinking of all the ways we’re being told to stay home or in semi-isolation and seclusion – shelter in place, hunker down, etc. – when the thoughts dredged up an old Joe Cocker song.
“Shelter Me” is from his album, Cocker (1986). That album is known more for “You Can Leave Your Hat On” (written by Randy Newman), which was used in several movies (bet you can think of at least one) (if you’re of a certain age or older). Meanwhile, I’d play the album and grew to like “Shelter Me”, even though it has that late eighties sound that sometimes was over-used (you’ll know what I mean, if you are of a certain age).
But the song’s opening lyrics work for the age of the coronavirus.
This ain’t no place for losers
Or the innocent of mind
It’s a full time job
For anyone, to stay alive
The streets have shallow boundaries
For the war that’s everyone
What a wasteland for
Broken dreams and hired guns
Shelter me, baby shelter me
When I’m sitting like I’m losing ground
h/t to Metrolyrics.com
Okay, they’re not perfect, but I can play off that sense of boundaries – stay six feet away from one another, watch what your touch (don’t touch your face), and wash your hands (properly) – and the wasteland of shopping areas, airports, highways, restaurants, etc, and how some might think we’re losing ground and standing still.
Or maybe I’ve gone for a metaphor too far. Possible.
Anyway, on to the music, and Joe’s voice.