Scorpio

Today...

...I hope I was careful enough.

I hope I was vigilant enough.

I hope I was social-distanced enough.

I hope I'll keep this up tomorrow.
Clay. Bill...Clay.

Bugs, at least

Prrrrrrrobably the coronavirus won't affect bugs. It's early spring and it's time for bugs to do their thing and become more prevalent, and guess what? They are.

I've been watching the flying bugs* in particular. Before I went on a walk today, I looked out the house's front door and saw very small flies hovering near the windows. On a walk through neighborhoods off of Foster Road this afternoon, as I zigzagged down a few main roads and several side roads, I saw a few small groups of other tiny flying things: not yet clouds of them, as can happen, but they're out and about.

BUGS AREN'T NOTICING THAT THINGS ARE DIFFERENT.

Other animals will be able to tell things are different. Birds, cats and dogs, coyotes, maybe bears if they're close enough to where people live: they're adapting to what's different, as we are. Bugs don't have to.

If the bugs were noticeably fewer, though: that would be another bad sign.

This entry took a turn.




* Like bats! No, not like bats at all.
Star Wars - Fly away...

Seven-plus miles

Yesterday, though I did get out and about, I didn't walk much. I drove to Books With Pictures to pick up a recent order, drove up to NE 28th so I could drive past Beulahland (and hope I'll get to visit it soon), then to WinCo for groceries; but not much walking. Wednesday, thank goodness, I did get a decent walk done, on and hear SE Harold and Steele Streets until I turned around at the 7-Eleven at SE 28th and Steele. (I treated myself to a Super Gulp of horchata. I hadn't known 7-Eleven had horchata.)

Today, starting late this morning, I walked again. With a mocha I got to go from Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels, I went farther: up Foster and 51st, then Division, then Cesár E. Chavez Blvd. to (briefly) Hawthorne Blvd.; then up to 34th and Belmont, east from there to 60th, and over onto the lower slopes of Mt. Tabor. Then past the lower reservoirs, back to 60th, then through various neighborhoods to get home.

Good social distancing achieved during all of this, too. I do what I can.

I took pictures, if you'd like to see some highlights.

Seven-plus miles. I think (and hope) I'll sleep well soon.
Scorpio

This moment: a coronavirus entry

A couple of weeks ago I saw a cartoon, drawn in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It was of an older man, wearing a sandwich board, the sort where you'd expect an apocalyptic message like "The End Is Nigh." This man's board, though, said "It's not the end of the world. Things are just going to suck for a while."

I've thought of that a lot since.

This is, in the truest sense, an extraordinary moment. Giant swaths of the world have shut down or slowed down in an effort to keep this pandemic from growing hugely worse, to "flatten the curve" to make this a more manageable fight, a slowdown done in a way not seen in a century: an extraordinary act for an extraordinary time.

It is a moment. Except for two things:

• We don't know how long this moment will take.

• For too many people already, it's been more than a moment.

Many have already lost loved ones. Well-known, well-liked people have succumbed, no longer with us because of this disease. Businesses have shuttered. So many have lost jobs. We in the United States have swiftly gotten closer to Great Depression levels of unemployment than we have at any time in the past 80 years. We're low on much of the equipment that we'll need to keep fighting this. People are stressed. People are tired, or exhausted.

It's a fight, for who knows how long.

It's a moment.

It's more than a moment.

Difficult times are going to come. Weird and weirder times are going to come. Headlines we never imagined seeing except in films and novels have already happened; so will other headlines. The events that people in future decades will learn about in history classes are taking place now and are about to take place and may be about to absolutely, in the moment, stun and flabbergast us.

It's not the end of the world, except for when it is, and someone dies (directly or indirectly) because of the disease. We've had so many endings already. We'll have more.

I've tried during this to listen to people who were in the trenches, so to speak, when AIDS took so many from us. For me, for too long, it was an abstract, at a remove: I learned about people like Indiana teenager Ryan White or movie star Rock Hudson having AIDS and dying from it — or, years later, learning that author Isaac Asimov had died of it. It took lyricist/ filmmaker Howard Ashman's death in 1991 for me to start to get even an inkling of the loss too many others had felt for a decade before. I spent too long shielded from that disease's impact, from the grief it caused. Too many others weren't. My distance, my shielding, was a luxury.

There's a very good chance that I will get hit in the face with the awful realities of COVID-19 far, far sooner. There's a very good chance of that for anyone reading this.

It could hurt. A lot.

And then you and I and we will have to cope with whatever level of hurt we've had.

It's a moment. It's still happening.

Things are going to suck for a while.

And we will deal with it how? And for how long?
Sally Salt Disgusted

Briefly:

My meat sack feels especially meat sack-y.

I'm sore. Surprisingly sore, more than it seems I should be from my walking lately. This is at least partly a stress response. Ah, yeah, stress: I've heard of it.

Once again, I'll deal. For now, I'm in a warm bed preparing to rest.
Walking

Feels like a treat

Wanting to get out and about — partly to breathe different air, partly to be out of someone's way while they did a big job — I drove today. First to a McDonald's to buy breakfast and, for my first time in over a week, coffee. (I'd initially wanted to go to the drive-thru at Super Deluxe, a relatively new local fast food place at SE 50th and Powell, but it's closed.) Then I drove to near the eastern landing of Tillikum Crossing, the newest bridge across the Willamette. I ate, drank, and thought, while appreciating the view. After eating and drinking, I got out of the car, a book in hand, and walked in the area, next to the building that houses Portland Opera, down to the dock where the retired U.S. Navy submarine Blueback is docked, and around OMSI. It started to drizzle, so I cut the walk short and got back to the car.

Portland's had quick waves of rain and at least one wave of hail today, though luckily I was back at the house by then.

I'd hoped to do another drive today — driving can help me and my equilibrium, honestly — but that'll be for an errand I can't do yet. Soon, though.




So. Finding feel-good things during...all this. Here's one. Neat author Catherynne M. Valente, who I learned of through Sooj Tucker, is reading each night from her early book The Orphan's Tales, which elegantly and beautifully sound like fairy tales but in oblique, surprising ways. Here is the YouTube copy of her reading tonight, the third reading she's done during quarantine.


Hoping this helps.
I listen

Slow progress is still progress

"Does this need to be in my nightstand?" is a thought I've had today. I've been cleaning and sorting. Two days ago I bagged up a load of to-be-recycled paper, and that was satisfying. Yesterday, I didn't get back to that job, and that was...not. I wanted to make some progress today. I did. A very little bit of progress.

Some stuff's a little neater now. The main thing in my nightstand is a pile of to-be-read comic books, instead of sitting on other surfaces in my room. Some of my unused and partly-used notebooks are in one place. Some books and notebooks that were shelved awkwardly are now shelved less awkwardly, which is still progress. And I wiped up two particular problem areas that were very dusty. So. Some progress. Some.

And I realized that I was hoping to get rid of more stuff, the way I was Saturday. I didn't do nearly as much today. Instead, for instance, I dug up a marker set that is at least 25 years old, if I got it in college (more if I got it in high school), and: whadduya know? The markers still mark! And there are art pencils that are still able to be used. Now at least I know they're useful. Not just useful at taking up space.

We all know: getting stuff Done is a way to fight the weird, difficult feelings so many of us are feeling right now. I was hit by some of that yesterday; the day was frustrating and unsatisfying. Some people I know felt this yesterday, even more so, and were admitting to feeling sad because of it. I've felt sad. It's understandable. (It's why I didn't have a cider last night; I wanted to wait until I was in a better mood before I drank. I'm in a better mood tonight.)

The cleaning, what there was of it, was one way for me to get stuff Done. Then after that was a late afternoon walk, past a large sign used to board up a Foster Road storefront. The sign says "Keep Your Heads Up."

Okay, I'll try.