Political Rant

Sorry, but I’ve reached a saturation point with the POTUS and the coronavirus. I need to vent before I bust a spleen (yes, a new phrase that I just made up). (Yeah, that’s a lie; it’s an old expression.) (And I’m not going to bust a spleen.)

See? Consistent. Exaggerate; I own up to it. Lie, same. Consistent.

But, here in the last two days, we have Trump telling the states that they don’t need as many ventilators as they claim.

Trump downplays need for ventilators as New York begs to differ

Meanwhile, he’s berating (and threatening) Ford and GM for not making more ventilators, fast. (Side irritation, as part of that, he’s demanding that GM open their Lordstown, Ohio plant, a plant that GM sold in 2019. Always on top of things, that dithering Donald.)

Trump lashes out at GM, Ford over ventilators

Even as he’s claiming that too many ventilators are being requested and that GM and Ford must make more faster (and sooner), he’s telling states that he won’t give them more unless they’re nice to him.

‘It’s a two-way street’: Trump suggests federal coronavirus aid will be given to governors who ‘treat us well’

Yet, even as he says these things, he said a few weeks ago, “And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” (March 10, 2020)

Prepared? Doesn’t sound like it. Doesn’t look like it.

These statements do not align; they are not consistent. Some might claim that it’s part of a dog and pony show for the public’s consumption, but the inconsistencies don’t strike me as such.

Today, the United States took the lead in total number of cases, almost reaching 97,000 as I write this, surpassing the totals in China and Italy. We’re fortunate to have not met their death totals, but with this administration acting in its mercurial, disorganized ways, it feels like that’s just a matter of time.

The rant is over. That is all.

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

 

 

The Heart-Attack Dream

It began with me in bed, at night. Pain was rushing through me. I couldn’t see nor hear correctly. I thought, I’m having a heart attack.

No one else seemed present. The heart attack would come and go in waves. I tried calling for help but couldn’t. I decided that I’d work through it by thinking of what I was feeling and experiencing, and then countering those things with my mind. That seemed to work, as the pain faded and the heart attack passed.

The lights came on. A large spider, I’d say two feet tall, was to my left. I acknowledged its presence and left the room.

I’d survived, I decided. Outside the bedroom, in another room, were my wife, a few friends, and a dead cousin. As I looked around, familiarization flowed in. I knew where I was. We need to go home, I announced to the rest. They talked about this, objecting, how are we to do that?

But, I judged, the weather isn’t bad, so I’m walking. It’s only a few miles and it won’t take long.

They didn’t believe that I was serious. Shrugging them off, I left. My wife and a few others joined me.

The road was a rough, one-lane, dirt and gravel road that rose, fell, and wound through sparsely populated, wooded countryside. As we went, we’d see a car coming, call out, “Car,” and then step off the road until it passed. Impatient to continue my journey, I announced that I’m running.

At that point, I realize that I had a foot injury and had been limping. I thought, I’ll have to push myself through my foot’s pain and stiffness. Behind me, the others said, “He’s not serious, he’s not going to run.” But I started running, gritting my teeth against my pain. Soon I found a stride.

The others started running behind me, but I was well ahead. Seeing the road, I’d call, “Car,” as a warning to them, and step aside until the car had passed us all, and then resume running.

I reached home. Uncles were there. They offered me wine, but it was white wine and I turned them down. Dad arrived with a girlfriend. He offered me some white wine, but I turned him down. I wanted some wine, though. I was getting ready to go somewhere.

Passing into another room, I saw Dad’s girlfriend asleep in the living room. I went into the adjacent kitchen. I found a bottle of white wine but kept looking for red wine. As I didn’t find anything except white wine I thought, maybe I will drink some.

Dad came in. While talking to me, he produced a bottle of white wine in a light green bottle in a clear plastic bag, like a gallon-storage bag, and showed it to me. It’d been opened, but had a cork put back into place. “That’s what you’re drinking?” I asked. When he said that he was, and offered me some, I answered, “Well, pour me a glass, I guess.”

As he did, his girlfriend awoke in the other room. She came in and introduced herself to me, which annoyed Dad. We talked for a few minutes. Then we talked about cars, and who was using what car.

The dream ended.

Is It…?

He was coughing, a dry cough from the bottom of his throat’s well.

Is it the coronavirus, or just the flu?

His nose was running (it hadn’t been this morning).

Is it an allergy (spring is in the air), or just a cold?

He was embarrassed because he couldn’t stop coughing (though he drank lots of water and sucked on a cough drop), thinking that the others were eyeing him (and several people had left).

Is it because of him, or is all of this just in his mind?

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