Notes on the general state of the neighborhood, the family, and the masses in the time of the virus.
- 2,656 confirmed positive cases (up 175 from yesterday)
- 175 confirmed deaths (up 11 from yesterday)
Every day I expect this thing to slow down.
Now, you know I’m not one to bring you the darkness, but I read today (via the omnipresent West Seattle Blog) that the SPD is reporting a 21% increase in domestic violence calls in the past month. I remember back in the beginning I joked with a neighbor that while my family and I were enjoying the time together, the stay-at-home orders would probably be a sentence for some people. I was thinking more of superficial aggravations and frustrations, but in many cases it’s obviously not something to joke about at all. The only kind of misery you can really laugh at is your own. But if you don’t have any of your own, and you become complacent about it, you find yourself laughing about the misery of others. The wrong kind of laughter is a virus.
Today was hard. Maybe the hardest yet. I think the key issue was that I didn’t start the morning very punctually. Normally the boy’s school starts promptly at 9:00, earlier when he feels like starting on his own. Today I took a more casual approach while I focused on a few things I
needed wanted to do. The low-intensity vibe felt pretty good at first. But the day went screwy. He wasn’t into his schoolwork and fought it all day long. At recess he was having a hard time with the other kids on the street – and I know my boy, so I know it was largely his fault. He’s stubborn and volatile. It’ll be what makes him great one day (with a lot of good help along the way), but for now it just makes him look like the neighborhood problem child. I’ll kill, by the way, anyone who calls him that.
He did work hard on his owl project, but that was the last of his earnestness:
They’re all a little bit to blame, the kids. The five of them have had only each other for 3 weeks now. All you have to do is eavesdrop on about 15 minutes worth of them thinking they aren’t being watched, and you realize that each one is nasty in turns. They gang up on each other, tease each other, and push the hell out of each other’s buttons. They know the buttons so well by now. The other 90% of the time they’re awesome together, and it’s such a trite little ecstasy to watch them at play.
I took a little break from cooking by ordering fried chicken through Uber Eats. 45 minutes after the food was due, my order was canceled. That really sunk me. I threw the rest of the birthday cake in the trash, went outside to find a dog to kick, and binged on a tub of hummus as a strange kind of voluntary suffering. None of which is true, of course. It was pretty deflating, to be sure, but I just ordered some pizza instead, and it was good.
Speaking of Uber Eats: in a discussion on the West Seattle Blog about alternate routes during the bridge closure – this is one of those conversations that’s being had in the comments of nearly every article on the blog now, no matter what the article’s about. The main alternative, which is the lower bridge, is reserved for transit, freight, emergency response, and Harbor Island access. Nobody else is supposed to drive on it to get in and out of West Seattle. We’re being asked to honor that request on our own, without the threat of law enforcement looming. Predictably, we are not honoring that request on our own, and law enforcement is coming. Bet on it. Back to my point: in a discussion under one article, a commenter mentioned something about his Uber Eats driver either taking or not taking the lower bridge to bring his order into West Seattle. The details are meaningless, because what happened was that his comment was immediately followed by harsh condemnation for daring to give his money to a business outside of West Seattle.
If you’ve read much of me, you know my take on “local” business. Every single business in the world is local. No matter how rich the CEO or where he/she lives, no matter how small the revenue, no matter how many stores it has nation- or world-wide. Every single one is staffed by someone’s friends and neighbors, and ranking the worthiness of human beings based on how close they are standing to your front door is gross. We’re all better off if Birmingham is as healthy as Seattle, and if Bisbee, Arizona is as healthy as Naperville, Illinois. Outside the US? Well things get murky there. Call me a nationalist or a patriot or a hypocrite, but I do privilege American made goods over others. Not because the rest of the world is unworthy of my money, but because loyalty needs some kind of limit, otherwise it doesn’t exist. I just think that if your limits are whittled down to three or four zip codes on a very small map, well, your rhetoric about tolerance and inclusion, your yard signs about everyone being welcome, it all starts to ring a bit hollow, doesn’t it?
I found this treasure yesterday, lurking in the deepest shadows under the kitchen sink, behind the silver polish (why?) and a big bottle of cleaning vinegar:
They’re still wet and useful. The scent, I will argue, is not noticeably fresh, no matter what the package says.
Your “Homeless in Coronafornia” update for today:
just preparing to camp out again,
nowhere really else to go Sept head for the hills
Its peacefull up there anyway.
I can stretch out and breathe
I’d say something kind of transparently vapid, like “we could all use a chance to stretch out and breathe in these trying times.” But who am I kidding? The house is big enough and the doors still work, so space isn’t the issue. We can rest, relax, “stretch out and breathe” when we need to. Because the people around us make it possible. What we learn from all those cases of domestic abuse that the police are suddenly swamped with, is that the problems don’t come from having nowhere to be, they come from having nowhere to go. From, dare I say it, being too local.
—The kids are all fight, comrade citizen!—