Interesting Times on Planet Plague

For the most part, people are keeping their distance. When I walk down the sidewalk, someone coming my way gives me a wide berth. I do likewise and we pass with the regulation six feet between us and then some.

You could call it helping the community, operating under the assumption that we are carrying the virus and making sure we don’t spread it to anyone else. I suppose there is some of that going on. In my case, I’m assuming that the other person is crawling with plague and I don’t want that anywhere near me.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that I’m already infected. I do have an on-again, off-again cough, but that’s likely from my CPAP. I don’t have a fever. Also, Becca would probably be infected if I were. We are each other’s petri dish.

My friends on social media are quick to point out the importance of social distancing and flattening the curve. Of course, they don’t say this in their words. It is social media after all. Nobody formulates their own opinions with all the links and memes available, they just share them and perhaps add “THIS” to show they’re really on board.

This is not to say the message isn’t valid. When you have a disease that disproportionately kills the elderly and infirm, nonchalantly spreading it to that segment of the population is a dick move. I just get grumpy when people start lockstep channeling their inner hall monitor, even when they are right.

Though I hate to admit it, all this is necessary. With all the conspiracy theories and other nonsense floating around, it’s good to keep driving home the truth, preachy as it may be.

With the wagging fingers come silver linings. I’m told that better days lie ahead, which is almost certainly true. Most of us will live through this and we can go back to doing what gives our lives meaning like getting shitfaced in a bar.

I’m also told we’re all in this together, which is only true if you’re willing to overlook economic reality. So far, I’m fortunate. I still have a job and I’m able to work from home. A lot of others are either unemployed or are underpaid and exposed in jobs deemed essential as the infection rate continues to rise. Becca works in a doctor’s office, so she has to physically show up. My job is much as it had been except I’ve traded my commute for weight gain and beard growth.

Not even Donald Trump is stupid enough to want to open the country right away, at least not since his handlers gave him whatever talking to that made him change his mind. The stock market will recover. Dead people won’t. In the meantime, we just have to hunker down and count our unfair allotment of blessings.

Venturing out has become less frequent and more unpleasant. When we leave the house together, it’s to restock life’s necessities: food, prescription drugs, and alcohol. It’s advised to limit exposure by having a single errand runner, but we have no car and both of us are often required for pack-mule duty. We also like to share the experience of resenting everyone else on the planet.

As I said, it’s comparatively civilized outside. The trouble starts when we walk in the door of our destination.

The corner store is the easiest. Go in, get a 12-pack of PBR, and get out. It’s easy to keep the six-feet distance unless there’s some sad sack hovering around the Lotto scanner, now gambling with his health (and everyone else’s) as well as his SSI check.

Walgreens is worse. There are people in the pharmacy line unable to infer what those little blue X’s on the floor are supposed to mean though they are preferable to the one guy we saw wandering the aisles and coughing on any shelf that hadn’t been picked clean.

The less said about Safeway, the better. My Citizen app, currently abuzz during these trying times, has been reporting assaults at the location where we shop. We’re going to have to back there this weekend and I’d prefer to not get murdered over a can of SpaghettiOs.

Back home, I compulsively check the coronavirus pages on the Worldometer site. Listed by country, there are accumulative and current-day totals of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths. If you click on the USA, you can see a state-by-state comparison. Today’s fatalities are displayed in a box with a red background. As with the other statistics, I stare at these numbers with no more emotional involvement than perusing baseball standings.