Notes on the general state of the neighborhood, the family, and the masses in the time of the virus
- 693 confirmed cases (up 131 from yesterday)
- 60 confirmed deaths (up 4 from yesterday)
131 new cases. Now we’re cookin’.
Overall, yesterday was less interesting than most so far (He said, expecting against reason for his readers to continue). I had to go pick up a new homework kit from school for the boy, but otherwise we were on cruise control. At some point around 2:00 we caught wind that the Governor was going online with a new press conference, so anxiety spiked, knowing that we are not too many steps away from criminalizing fresh air. Now the words “shelter in place” are flying around as the new way to signal that you’re paying attention, and I have to say – nobody seems to care very much. The neighbors I congregate with during our daily recess hour for the kids are all pretty settled in and casual about things. I think we all more or less understand where we are and what it’s gonna be for a while. But I have to admit that when I heard the Governor had something new to say, my mind immediately wondered “do we really have enough food?”
He didn’t say anything of note.
Anyway. I took a walk through our little ghost town yesterday. It was only 9:30am, but on a normal Wednesday morning at 9:30 this street is bumper-to-bumper with parked cars, and lines 4-5 cars deep at the three light-controlled intersections through this area. We’ve been living here for 12 or 13 years, and complaining for at least the last six of them that West Seattle is getting too crowded:
When the messages painted on the windows progress from “OPEN TO GO,” to “NO FOOD,” we’ll be in trouble. From there we’re only a National Guard call-up away from saying “LOOTERS WILL BE SHOT.”
I don’t really know which “two spaces” the sign is pointing to. That’s all parallel parking. It’s moot. Nobody’s there. Parking is restricted to brief stops for takeout. Of course this is all on the honor system. Any jerk could roll up and park there for a couple of hours with no legal ramifications, but with nothing to do and nowhere to go, why bother?
And wow, courtesy of the West Seattle Blog, traffic cams from the morning commute:
I’ve never seen it like that before. It’s not that big of a deal, of course. The highways aren’t empty because everyone’s dead, they’re empty because everyone’s home. In a way it’s impressive, to have managed to synchronously shift an entire population’s routines – tattooed as they are on its skeleton – and to do it so smoothly (there’s that “hold my beer” feeling again). Civilization is full of capable people who do pretty well when there’s something on the line. It’s when we’re too comfortable that we get in each other’s way all the time, and usually just to show off.
I can’t help wondering – as I’m sure many people are – if any business owners/CEO’s/etc. are thinking “we’re getting just as much done this way as we did before.” I’d say for the most part no, but there may be some people who don’t return to the office much after this. And certainly some people who can’t wait to go back.
For my part, I couldn’t be happier. I quit my job a long time ago in order to raise these kids. Being here to personally educate my son is giving me something back that I lost once he (and his sister before him) hit the schools full time. It helps me to feel less like a freeloader, more like I’m earning my way around here. That’s the one thing I didn’t expect when I became a stay at home dad. I knew for damn sure that I wasn’t going to miss the job that I left, but I knew I might get tired of the tediousness, the domesticity, and the chores. And I do sometimes. But what hits me hardest every now and then is the thought that I’m getting something for nothing. My wife works for the house, the food, the cars, the everything, and I, I, I what? Fold some clothes? Sometimes do some landscaping or install a new light over the dining room table?
Nah, there’s more to it than that. And when I get a volume of poetry published and am holding my novel in my hand, I’ll be able to look at it all and rest easy. For a couple of weeks.
Your “Homeless in Coronafornia Unintentional Poetry” update:
Not much just hearing about shitting things down
Businesses and such
Cant eat out anywhere but I rarely am able to do that anyway
Basically I’m waiting for martial law
“Shitting” is his typo, not mine. I’d edit, but it feels fine just the way it is. The phrase “shelter in place” carries all kinds of jokes, ironies and insults for the homeless, doesn’t it?
Tomorrow I’ll have something slightly different, and hopefully refreshing for you, in this space. I need to break up the routine.
—Honor the system, comrade citizen!—