Notes on the general state of the neighborhood, the family, and the masses in the time of the virus.
∼ The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. — Orwell, Animal Farm
Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/15/20.
488 confirmed cases (up 68 from yesterday)
43 confirmed deaths (up 6 from yesterday)
Ok, so I’ve finally done it. I’ve officially made hand sanitizer. So what? Essential oils and everything. I’m like a chuffed-up CDC mommy-blogger or something. It was more out of boredom than anything else. I mean, we have hand sanitizer, though not in “bug-out bunker” quantities. And we wash our hands. So the homemade sanitizer is something of an extra, a plague-time accoutrement. We had some rubbing alcohol on hand for first aid and general utility purposes, and any family with kids has aloe in a cupboard somewhere (even in the bleak Northwest). Quick google for the alcohol-to-aloe ratio, a healthy dose of lavender oil to dull the fumes, and Bob’s yer uncle.
Remote learning for the 6th grader, beginning stages of light home-schooling for the 3rd grader. Monday felt like the real Day 1. And in many ways it was nice.
Our daughter’s school did a very impressive job of organizing itself for Armageddon education. She has a full 8:30-3:30 schedule of classes that are held online, with video conferencing. 45 minute classes with 15 minutes between, and an hour or so for lunch. It is a small, private Jr. High school, to which you will say something about luck, but that’s knee-jerk and simplistic. I’ve heard it already: “You’re lucky her school is able to do that.” No, we aren’t. There is no luck. We are where we are because of a long series of decisions and choices made, combined with a significant amount of work (not to mention correcting course after drifting for years on a raft of bad decisions, in my case). We did not wake up in the gutter and get handed this life.
The full and rigorous schedule our daughter is following eliminates the chance to have that snow day feeling that I know millions of kids are dealing with right now. That’s hell on the parents. The kids are in “anything goes” mode, but the parents need to stay in the game. Especially the parents whose jobs do not let up just because they aren’t in the office. Like My wife. She’s at home, at the desk in the bedroom, but it is 100% work. I am free enough to take care of our 3rd grade son , and today that meant guiding him through the homework kit that I picked up from his school this morning (again, this is not lucky – Choices, decisions, and effort got us here). He definitely has the snow day feeling, and the idea of doing school during the plague is hanging on him like an anchor covered in badgers. He is so much boy. So much capital ‘B’ Boy. He even said at one point, when I made him get back to typing practice, “this is supposed to be a fun time.” It is, buddy. All you have to do is choose it.
Our little dead-end street has agreed upon a daily recess at 11:30 for the kids. There’s 4 of them within 4 years of each other who can all play the same games together (while adhering to the CDC’s latest standards for social distancing, of course). Two other kids are a bit younger, and we didn’t see them today. Two others are a bit older, and probably too cool to be hanging out with the children at this point. We didn’t see them, either. The sun was out and the kids had an hour-plus of running in the air, in the street, through the yards and up the driveways. You can see how it changes them to be outside. There’s an animal thing in it that they take to, naturally. It frees them. It frees us all if, again, we choose it.
Later, via text message, I asked my homeless brother what he and his fellow “unhoused people” or “people experiencing homelessness” in Southern California think about it all, and he had this to say:
Apparently there’s a huge demand for toilet paper. And people are going to the store more and the stock market is crashing, old people are dying and I still smoke cigarettes from the ground.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I’ll number my entries, but I’m not going to bother trying to say “Day 1” or “Day 14.” I don’t care to pinpoint anything. The posts are dated. The days run together. With school happening at home and no sports, Saturday and Wednesday have enough in common now that they’re sharing their magics and their miseries in equal parts. One day is too much like another for the names to make much difference anymore. I stand by my prediction that things will not get very bad here, and it’ll be over before we expect it to be, but it will be very interesting to see how things play out. How bad – Lord, I almost feel like an idiot for saying this – how bad it will get. Like the kids running outside, adults jump at the chance to do animal things, too. But when we do it, things tend to get bloody. I think it’s because we’re aware of our beastliness, whereas the kids have no idea. We’re aware, and awareness is embarrassing, and embarrassment loves a little violence to change the subject. Just ask Cain.
I sure hope we don’t get there – burning UPS trucks on the highways and people robbing each other. Those idiots stockpiling hand sanitizer in Tennessee sure didn’t get us started off on a very promising note.
∼ The creatures outside looked from virus to man, and from man to virus, and from virus to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
Except that in our case, there are no creatures outside. There is no outside.
—Don’t touch your face, comrade citizen—