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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Exile on Corona Street, Day 6

(From THIS source)

So, how goes the "sheltering in place"?  Note that everyone should be sheltering in place, to the greatest extent possible, until further notice.  We're doing our level best in West Pittston, Pennsylvania to heed that advice, although I wouldn't call us complete shut-ins.  Currently, the amount of outside the house ventures are pretty much limited to the grocery store every other day or so (usually just for perishable things, like fruit and milk), walks when it is warm enough and car rides done basically just to remind ourselves of the world outside of the home, with the occasional trip for take-out food.  I suspect this will be the new norm.

One thing that does involve being outside and which is also exceptionally safe is working around the house.  I happen to love this time of the year.  Saturday I spent about two hours cleaning up the yard of debris, and today it was about an hour or so cutting down some branches that I trimmed off of our dwarf plumb in the front yard.  The actual pruning of the tree took place two or so weeks ago.  Of the things I do as part of any kind of routine, working outdoors is one that brings me real satisfaction.  Part of that is grounded in my need to work with my hands from time to time.  Another part comes from growing up where there was no yard of our own to tend for.  Maybe the biggest appeal is the fact that when I'm outside, it just seems like my thoughts are somehow more free than they are when I am inside.  These days that is more important than ever.

Speaking of inside, it's looking like I will be working from home (WFH) for many weeks to come.  As I mentioned in the Day 1 posting (which I inadvertently over-wrote), I really don't like working from home.  That noted, it truly is the best thing these days, and I count my blessing at having that opportunity.  Anyway, to prepare for the extended run of WFH, I ordered all of the parts I will need to run dual monitors in my home office.  The biggest expense for that project, namely actually having a second monitor, is one I don't have to bear, as we just happen to have a spare.  For those curious, we have a total of 8 flat-screen televisions and/or computer monitors, 3 of which will soon be running in the office.  A side benefit of the dual monitor set-up is that I am configuring it to easily switch between my work laptop and my home desktop.  I know, this whole subject is of interest only to me, but there's more to it:  It gives me something different to focus on, even if just for a moment or three.

Do you worry about all of this swirling around us?  I do, although I find those worries tend to slip in between the mental cracks.  It's easy for those cracks to exist, by the way, as following the pandemic news is about as addictive as crystal meth.  I need to do more to detach from the onslaught of 24/7 corona coverage.  No small feat for someone (myself) who feels a real need to have 3 or 4 things pinging around in my head at any given time.  Maybe that's part of the appeal of working outside for me:  I can trade one set of thoughts for another, such as this afternoon when I needed to be concerned about cutting a stack of branches down so that it would fit into a yard waste can.   

Maybe another line of thinking, one that is more productive, is to ponder just what the world is going to look like when this is over.  I haven't really fleshed that out all too well, but I do see two things right of the bat:  1) A newfound respect for those on the front lines of employment...such as truck drivers, grocery store personnel, the folks at your local pharmacy, etc.  2) A re-orientation away from the idea that collecting it money, power, somehow the highest aspiration for our country and species.  Maybe, just maybe, we will discover that greed is not, in fact good.  

Looking to the week ahead, I have to take my younger brother to the bank, something that has to be done in person once a month, going inside the bank to see a teller in order to execute a slightly complex transaction.  I'm not looking forward to it, and the truth is that I never look forward to that monthly chore, but I am thinking about how I can limit my (and my brother's) exposure risks.  Outside of that, it will be more of the same new normal.  As long as everyone stays healthy, well, that's not too bad.

By the way, when we do get take-out, we make it from a local establishment/small business.  This evening the trek was made all the way to Plimmitt (actually Plymouth; inside joke) to get barbecue from Uncle Buck's.   

(Half rack of ribs)

Yes, I've been relegated to posting pictures of food.

A Final Thought
I've managed to ramble on in this posting for a few paragraphs.   Honestly, I am quite unimpressed.  The reality is this:  I am stressed.  You are probably stressed too if you are paying the least bit of attention.  This pandemic thing is vexing:  On one hand, the vast majority of people who catch Covid-19 end up with a mild case; on the other hand, fear and anxiety rarely care all that much about logic and statistics.  All of us will just need to slug this one out, doing the simple but important things, like hand-washing.  I wish I had something more inspiring to say, but that's really just it...keep washing your hands.

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