Saturday’s Theme Music

Today is Saturday, March 28, 2020, day fifteen of our self-isolation (yeah, we jumped on it early).

I realized this morning that I didn’t see anyone’s face except my wife (with exceptions via technology). This isolation and watchfulness brought an old song up into the mental music stream this morning. Part of it were lines brought up by news of people who refused to follow guidance.

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants too

Outside, in the distance
A wildcat did growl

Two riders were approaching
The wind began to howl

h/t to Genius.com

Here’s the Jimi Hendrix Experience covering Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” (1968).

 

Floofrobics

Floofrobics (floofinition) – Exercise done by chasing or interacting with an animal.

In use: “Although she had an hour commute and first needed to shower, dress, and put on a face (she was a bank director, after all), and take care care of the children (well, they were of an age when they were mostly taking care of themselves, getting ready for school, eating, etc.), she always took a few minutes at the beginning for floofrobics with the puppies, Borg and Seven. It lifted her energy like two cups of coffee. And then she made coffee.”

Out

A soft drizzle played with light and horizons outside the car windows. Across the valley, sunlight was reflected over new spring growth — wineries and fields.

We drove about. What businesses are open? How is traffic?

The Subway sandwich job was open. Yumberry Yogurt. Grocery stores (Albertson’s, Safeway, Shop n’ Kart, Market of Choice, Minute Market). Pizza places and coffee shops had open signs annotated with “Take Out”. The grocery stores were moderately busy. Didn’t see customers at the rest.

Deer were plentiful, as if they appreciated people not being around. Cars plied the roads (maybe like us, or maybe people still working), but it was about twenty percent of what we’d usually see, making it pretty empty. (No traffic knots today.) (We don’t really get ‘traffic jams’ in our small city, except when roads are closed for parades.) The schools were silent and shut. A few pedestrians walked the sidewalks. Runners (in their twenties, males). We wondered, are those runners related? They’re not six feet apart. What’s their take on the coronavirus and flattening the curve?

We’d communicated with relatives in Florida. They’d spent the previous day visiting with friends and walking the beach. Had they stayed six feet apart? No. They’d had dinner at another friend’s place. We’re shocked. Yet, more came: a friend, bored up north, had come down and was staying the night with one. SOH. 

Up Laurel, past a church. People were lined up. Backpacks were on many. Some looked like a shower or bath would be welcomed. In the church’s courtyard, a table was set up, the line’s terminus. Hundreds of stuffed brown paper bags filled the table. Two women stood behind it. Meals and supplies being given out to the needy, we assumed.

Around the corner, and then we descended into the park. More deer. One man walking. Three porta-potties had been set up, along with two wash stations.

Up to the plaza, onto the main drive. Businesses were closed and dark (except for a few restaurants). Parking was plentiful (yeah, dark humor).

The streets and sidewalks seemed clean, tidy, and expectant, as if they waited for everyone to come back. When would that happen? We wondered, driving home, the short tour ended.

Back in the car, the car’s interior and outside door handles were wiped down. Gloves, shoes, and jackets removed. We hadn’t been outside, just in the car.

Still, we hear, something could be in the air and settle on the surfaces. Better be safe.

Measures Learned

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.

Cheers

 

 

Saturday’s Theme Music

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
Shelter me

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.

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