Notes on the general state of the neighborhood, the family, and the masses in the time of the virus.
- 2,496 confirmed positive cases (up 166 from Monday)
- 164 confirmed deaths (up 14 from Monday)
14? I keep looking for the new deaths to stay in the single digits. The governor does consistently ac-cen-tu-ate the positives, letting us know regularly that what we’re doing is working. The best measure of that, as I understand it, is the transmission rate – how many new people are infected by each confirmed case. In Washington state it’s gone down a good deal. From 2.7 in February to 1.4. And:
In order to sustain a drop in new cases, each infected person, on average, must infect fewer than one person.
That’s a bit of the bright side for you. Some people will look at that and pick it apart for its cracks and its “yeah-buts,” but I will do you the favor of sparing you any dark side. I don’t watch the news, have abandoned Facebook, and pay no attention to Twitter, so I don’t know much about any dark sides, anyway.
Another bright side: I’ve written a few poems during and about the plague, you’ve seen them if you ‘ve been reading here lately. I’m submitting those poems, along with a couple others that line up thematically, to a competition looking for a group of poems that share an idea or topic. I read last year’s winner, and I like my chances. Still, these things tend to go to previously published, well-established writers with MFA’s and teaching careers, no matter how much lip service the journals give to “emerging and new writers.” But that all sounds like the carping of a loser. I’ll slip through a crack somewhere someday, and it’ll get easier from there.
Here’s that cake the birthday girl put together the other night while I wasn’t prepping the coffee:
She has fun. Her birthday will be pretty humdrum, not being able to go anywhere. But I’ll exempt her from her chores and feed her sweets all day. I know her school will be having everyone sing a plague-era happy birthday via Zoom this morning, and her soccer team will do the same thing later tonight.
She started school today with an April Fool’s joke. When she signed into Zoom for class, her little brother was at the screen with his head down. Her teacher asked her “Are you hiding from us this morning,” and then her brother popped his head up and waved, saying “April Fool’s!” She came on screen and introduced him, and then everything went along as normal. Ohhhhh, those plague-time antics!
Form my part, I made bread. The boy wanted to see the picture I took of it, and now I know why.
This is a yeast bread, light and airy and holy cow is it good. I still haven’t found yeast at the store, but a friend had some the other day and he gave it to me when I brought him a sack of flour. What wholesome, old-timey bartering this virus has led us to.
I spent a few minutes here, reading up on what Amazon’s been doing about the plague. If you figure that Microsoft, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, Google, Facebook, Apple, Et al. are making similar efforts, then continuing to beat that “capitalism and corporations are evil” drum starts to seem a bit silly. No doubt there’s some of those horrible-awful-mean oil companies and world-killing car manufacturers joining in on the goodworks, too. It will do nothing to change the AOC’s and the Kshama Sawants, the Bernies and the college professors, because screaming at giants who have no interest in hurting you has always been a handy substitute for courage (just ask Greta).
For all the birthday cake and April fooling around, yesterday ended on a somewhat low note. The whole situation bears down a little heavy at odd times, and in the quiet house just before bedtime, when the old people are tired and lights in the kitchen are being turned off, the low mood can start to stir. The soul feels like an early dough: wet-heavy, hard to shape, and impossible to keep from sticking to your hands. The day-to-day can be too much at the best of times and you’ll never see the mundane ague descending soon enough to stop it. You sit, you hang, you slump, and you ride it across the slow river like an old ferry that can only be pushed by a long pole and a short memory.
And you wake up the next morning with nothing to do but turn on the pot, because you prepped the coffee the night before, just after eating birthday cake.
Your “Homeless in Coronafornia” update for today is short and sweet:
Not too bad.
I know he talked to Dad yesterday, and Dad says he’s doing pretty good. Which lines up nicely with what I like to think about life – perhaps more than ever in a plague: Sometimes “not too bad” really is pretty good.
—Make lemonade, Comrade Citizen!—