I am calling these updates: Captain’s Log, because we are boldly going where no man has gone before, at least not 20th Century-forward-man. I have never been a military captain, aspired to such, or played one on TV. I’m not even the captain of my house — my wife and I are co-owners. But, I am the captain of my office. So there.
Nor am I a Trekkie. I will forgive the creators of Star Trek for their male-oriented sloganeering. Apparently no women went with them (we know better, based on the casting), or maybe a woman actually went before and man was just catching up. Star Trek first aired in 1966. Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique three years earlier. Bra burning became a form of protest in 1968. Most guys did not read The Feminine Mystique but were fine with bra burning — less work during foreplay.
Today was de rigueur in the time of the coronavirus — my wife and I are in our 13th day of quarantine. We began earlier than our governor’s edict, the first state in the country. I had a doctor’s appointment 20 days ago. I hosted my book group 19 days ago, and went to a friend’s house for dinner 14 days ago. Since then I have only been out for food and drug foraging, masked. My wife joined me on one foraging venture and has gone on her own once to Target and CVS, masked.
She has a low-level lung infection. We keep her on a short leash.
Daily, I check the infection totals for our county, state, country and worldwide. I have always been enough of a numbers nerd to go beyond the raw numbers and look at percentages, like what percentage of men inflicted in Sri Lanka, die, who are over 65? How many are bald, like me? Left-handed? Why Sri Lanka? I threw a dart at my world map. Why left-handed? Apparently people like Barack Obama and I make fewer trips around the sun.
Our routine is now pretty simple: LA Times home delivery, crossword, early scan of the overnight news, breakfast, more in-depth Internet surfing, neighborhood walk, shower, nap, more surfing, some writing, dinner prep, dinner, nightly cable news, maybe a movie, and in bed by 10:00. This is the rut of our rote routine; in hopes we do not rot. (The previous sentence confirms that I have too much time on my hands.)
At our age, sitting at home for a year strains a marriage, and nerves. Moss will not only grow in my nose and ears but under my feet. Can a couch potato sprout?
The bank account will sprout. Whoopee. In my spare time I can be like the Harvey Korman’s Count de Monet character in Mel Brook’s History of the World, Part I and count the money. If and when the world is open for business again, there will be some orgasmic splurging, at least by us surviving boomers. Okay, poor choice of words. Call it aspirational splurging.
I scout for food several days a week versus my usual weekly marketing on Fridays, because how the hell am I supposed to know the delivery and stocking pattern of the stores I patronize in a pandemic? By sheer luck we were stocked with enough TP and paper towels to weather the first hoarding craze by the hordes. So the assholes have cleaner assholes. Good to know.
We walk in our neighborhood each day, and discovered we have neighbors. They seem nice. As cars pass, we wave, having no clue who they are. What, you think we should know our neighbors’ car models? Besides, most tint their windows such that there could be a thief on his way to case our house. We would still wave. Truth is, most of our neighbors are alien to us.
We discovered an eagle’s nest about 100 yards from a street on our circuit. There is a very sparsely developed, tree-populated area just to the north of our subdivision. Our hillside development faces north with views of the San Gabriel Mountains, and my namesake, Mount Baldy, in the distance. There appear to be two eaglets in the nest, along with the “don’t even think about messing with me” Baldine Eagle. Sometimes she sits regally on a nearby limb where she has a 360-degree vantage point. The tree is nearly leafless.
(Little known eagle facts. They are monogamous. Males are two- thirds the size of females. No wonder Baldine Eagle sends out the father, an eagle scout, to forage for food. At least a mating does not mean the demise of the male, like with praying mantises.)
One neighbor who grew up with our children, moved back home to care for his mother. He set up a temporary office in the garage, facing the street, and keeps its door open to the street. He is lucky to be able to earn his living from home. Each morning as we pass, we are soothed by the sounds of classical music emanating from his garage.
Another neighbor on our circuit is hard at it each day in his workshop working on whatever. We hear the saw buzzing. He made a sign for his yard that says: Flatten the curve. Remove just the “l” and we are facing a choice, flatten or fatten the curve. The choice applies to our bodies, flatten our asses and midriffs or fatten them. If I were a betting person, I would bet we will flatten, over time, the coronavirus infection curve and fatten our asses and midriffs.
(A pause for choices of words — I first wrote, asses. Then I thought I would be European and wrote arse, being that is how the Brits say it, as if that cleans it up. In Love, Actually, I remember Liam Neeson say to this stepson, “Don’t be an arse.” Then I reflected some and reminded myself that I do not really like the Brits (except for Peter Mayle, Eric Clapton and Winston Churchill) and no, I am not still holding a grudge about the Revolutionary War — because — we won. (Fortunately, no one ever told them that redcoats are pretty easy to spot.) The Brits still get all wobbly-kneed over royalty and give them a tons of pounds to live royally, who, the last time I checked, still squat to pee or leave the lid up, or deposit their waste like the rest of us. Their arses are no different than our asses. Maybe all Brits believe that they are somehow related to royalty even if removed a dozen times over. That might explain their smugness and sense of superiority to those of us across the pond. Given the shenanigans by our stable genius, they might have a case. But, to that I have one word: Brexit. Regardless, God save the Queen, and her arse. And, I am pretty sure the royalty is hoarding TP.)
This is different. As much as I try to stay on the sunny side, often posting music and humor on my Facebook page, I feel a bit like the scene of that green slime in the Ten Commandments, corkscrewing out of the sky like a tornado, touching down, then reaching out like an octopus’s tentacles until it eats the lungs of its victims. The virus is creeping its way, our way, and it is only a matter of time. We can only hold out so long. It will take our lives.
I am not going to use this space to scream much about that stable genius running our country, also known as the biggest cockwomble on earth. Otherwise, I would be screaming constantly. There are not enough words in a tome, let alone in a blog.
Actually, maybe it is time for a resurgence of Primal Scream Therapy, but this time not to deal with childhood trauma but with “Seriously, he said that?” trauma.
Holy ozone layer, Batman, somewhere between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths is a success? The math of those numbers staggers — one is over twice the other. What kind of science is that? Here’s the thing — they have no idea. So why put it out there?
The total cases in my home county hit 457 today.
I moved cocktail hour up to 4:00.