The Perfect Vision Plague Diaries #16

School’s out for-evah!

Notes on the general state of the neighborhood, the family, and the masses in the time of the virus.

Yesterday’s numbers:

  • 3,331 confirmed positive cases (up 164* from yesterday)
  • 22 confirmed deaths (up 14 from yesterday)

For some reason this reads like some piece of mild guidance, delivered in passing, from the time before this all got serious:

The virus that causes COVID-19 is highly contagious, and each face-to-face interaction is an opportunity for it to spread. In addition, it’s important to wash your hands with soap frequently and avoid touching your face.

Because honestly, here on April 6, 2020, my reaction to that statement is, “Are you new here?” And by ‘here’ I mean Earth.

Imagine, though, coming across someone who had no idea what was going on? Or heck, waking up from a coma today.

“I’m sorry, doctor, a what now?”

“A pandemic. COVID-19. Or Coronavirus. Or the Chinese-“

Doctor!

“Yes, nurse. Of course. I almost forgot. Haven’t watched the news in a while. Anyway; big virus, very contagious, people dying, world on lockdown, social distancing, toilet paper’s gone.”

“Social what?”

“You have to stay at least six feet away from everyone. People are walking around with six foot poles. Yelling at each other for getting too close. Some guy in California – I think California. Had to be California – got arrested for paddleboarding. Alone. On the Pacific Ocean.”

“How did they arrest him if they have to stay six feet -“

“I stopped trying to understand a long time ago.”

“Can I have my coma back?”

………

My wife’s office is in our bedroom. Wait, let me say that a little differently: My wife’s office is our bedroom. I avoid it as much as possible so as not to disturb her, being on Zoom meetings most of the time that she’s working. From the very beginning, If I do need to go in there for something, I’ve been texting her this gif:

Is it Safe

I don’t expect her to know what it is. I barely do. I watched a few minutes of Marathon Man years ago – enough of it to have “is it safe” burned forever into my cultural consciousness, to the extent that I knew there would be a gif for it when I wanted it. Now my poor wife endures that brief madness a few times a day, and we’ll both remember it for reasons far different than most other people ever will. In her case, possibly without even knowing where it comes from. I still don’t know what “it” is. I’m sure she recognizes Dustin Hoffman, though. It’s a pretty good gif for the times, and would make a nice t-shirt:

CORONAVIRUS 2020

IS IT SAFE?

Different shirts could have different pictures: parks, beaches, libraries, malls, schools. TV sets with a CNN logo. The Pacific Ocean.

………

Here’s a tweet:

That’s a pretty steep downward correction. Fewer than half the projected deaths. So I guess I get a sort of limited vindication. You may not recall my prediction that this would end up being a lot less severe than we initially thought. The UW numbers up there seem to be on my side. But if I’m being honest I have to admit that it’s already worse than I expected it to be. I honestly thought a couple of weeks would go by, the virus would prove to be a big nothing burger,  and we’d be back to work and school, probably by now. Next week at the latest.

Except Governor Inslee just issued the order to keep schools closed for the rest of this school year. So the severity of the illness might be angling down and making me look good, but the lengthy duration is going to fly well past my Nostradamian soothsaying about when we’d get to “break’s over, everyone back on your heads” time. And the lower death toll may very well be entirely attributable to the draconian reductions in liberty that, let’s face it, are pretty palatable in the end. Good job, everyone.

I think the school news is going to hit a lot of people hard, though. I got a little smug about this in one of my earlier entries: the widely followed model of two working parents looks like a horrible idea all of a sudden. One of our neighbors has already expressed some displeasure and worry about the extended closure. You wonder what things will be like after the all-clear, what will be different. I’ve said that I disagree with the idea of a profound change. With the people who say “life will be completely different after this.” I still believe that. We’re not going to substantially alter the way things are produced and purchased, the way jobs are given and taken away, the way education happens (or doesn’t). Our drive to reduce fossil fuel use will be in the same state as it was in January, electric cars won’t be any farther along on the timeline, and the moon won’t be suddenly colonized by December. Communism will still be evil, and people will still want it (until they have it).

But will some families who’ve had a parent lose a job because of COVID-19 maybe say, “This isn’t bad, honey. Do you think we can make it work?”

A man can dream.

………

Your “Homeless in Coronafornia” update for today:

It was great
Still no signs of a sick person, I mean besides me

There’s no telling what he means there. He’s probably sick, yes. But that’s always a safe assumption. He likes to say things like that, depending on his mood, because he knows how the conversation will go. I’ll be practical and concerned, he’ll be glib and dismissive, and he’ll enjoy making me look like the one who’s out of touch and focused on the wrong things. Understandably, he gets a little satisfaction sometimes from my frustration. The best – I should say the best-off of us – have vulnerabilities, and we play a lot of stupid games to keep them from being exposed. Imagine if your whole life was a vulnerability. Self-defense would be your default mode.

Cheesecake for breakfast, Comrade Citizen!

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Perfect Vision Plague Diaries #16”

  1. When I was a kid I use to pray for something like this to happen so we would be let out of school. All I ever experienced was a day or 2 off because of a snow day. And if we used too many snow days we had to make up the days in June! One thing I wonder about is this, we have been told for decades school funding is tied to attendance. So now that no one is attending what will this do to funding? Glad my kids are grown up. But one of them just got laid off and the other is working 1 day a week.

    Like

    1. I spent my school years between Illinois and Colorado. It takes some serious weather to earn a snow day in either of those places. In Seattle they close schools based on the mere suspicion of snow.

      Like

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