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Frustrating, weird day. Frustrating, weird week. The world is now living with something that on its own might wind up killing a very large number of us, COVID—19 the novel coronavirus — I mean, that on top of all the other things that can kill you — and the weight of that has been getting more pronounced.

I haven't started using gallows humor about this (icon for this post aside), but plenty of people have. I've also seen posts claiming that the reaction to COVID—19 is all hysterical overreaction (as well as a since-debunked conspiracy theory; argh conspiracy theories), and I unfriended someone on Facebook because of that. Libraries are closed; schools are closed; movie theaters are closed or with restricted seating; Disney parks are temporarily closing; concerts and events are canceled. And we have to hope that this helps ease the impact of this virus.

At least I am (and feel) healthy and can work, but I have been paying especially close attention to how I feel in case that changed. My airport valet work lessened starting about two weeks ago, and that seems (I think) to be due to businesspeople (our main clientele) delaying or deferring trips: but yesterday was the first day where it felt that the airport overall was less busy, too. I spent time Thursday on C Concourse past security, to get lunch at Mod Pizza, and there seemed to be fewer people back there. Seemed. Maybe. Maybe my view's incomplete and obscured. Maybe.

Uncertainty. Argh.

My job requires me to interact with lots of people (you can't be a valet from home), which is why I've been extra vigilant about my health. Am I really healthy? Are they? Am I hand-washing and sanitizing enough? Are they? Thousands of people, even if traffic at PDX has been reduced, are passing by; it's not like I can see their health on a monitor, like a status bar for a video game character.

Luckily, I made it to my days off, today and tomorrow (Saturday). Other than being on the MAX leaving the airport, I've avoided crowds since then. Drinks and dinner at Beulah; bussing home from there; being home last night and most of today. And I slept in. Felt like I needed to. Then a bath. Seemed like a good idea. Midday I got out to the corner coffee shop for coffee and a sandwich; odd vibe among people in the café, honestly, and I'm not sure if that helped my mood.

My Friday afternoon and evening, I spent cleaning. I took a lot longer than usual. It was hard to motivate myself, and aspects of the job were frustrating. I later had a house mate look at part of what I did to see if I'd screwed up that part. Am I doing this well enough? Am I doing other things well enough?

And I am not nearly impacted the most from all of what's happening. I don't have kids in school who now need to be occupied without school. I'm not immuno-compromised. My job hasn't lost 50% or more of its business. I'm not dealing with the awful and asinine anti-Chinese racism that's been blatant in my country. I don't work with people who think this virus is all a Democratic political ploy to make you-know-who look bad. But I know so many people are dealing with the uncertainty with those factors added.

It's a lot, for me. It's a lot more, for lots of others.

Strength. I wish we didn't need it, but I hope we can find it.


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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March 2023


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