Outdoors, bronze statue of a beaver “dressed” with party hat, cloth face mask, St. Patricks Day party beads & green ribbon

COVID-19 Diaries

Published 2020-03-18

Occurs to me — occurred to me a week ago? — that I should be keeping a diary of my experience during COVID-19. Daily. Consider this blog post a placeholder. I will try to update each day’s entry as close to realtime as possible. I will also try to go back in time (when I have time? I am weirdly very busy!) and make some entries for the past week or two. Maybe I’ll use my Twitter to refresh my memory

But this blog post right here is the first realtime post in my covid-19 diaries. (Do you capitalize covid-19? IDK. We mostly call it “coronavirus” in conversation.)

Of course when I thought of this I thought “oh I should build an app for that” but ya know the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. I have a blog, I’m gonna use a blog.

Today is Day 3 of the state-mandated social distance period


This is pretty good day to lay out what my daily routine is (hopefully) like. I’ve kept it at least 2 days so far:

6:20 am: Alarm. Make coffee, eat oatmeal, do crossword, listen to KQAC.

7:00 am (ish): my “Social Distance Commute”: 2ish hours on the bike, over Council Crest natch. Last two days were on my Vanilla at a Z3ish pace, today was on the Purple People Eater at Z2. I brought coffee and two oranges today, stopped in Hoyt Arboretum to enjoy them. Passed Coco donuts on my way home & bought half a dozen for the family. Left $5 tip. I have the strong sense that most businesses like Coco won’t be open in a week or two so I want to get it now while I can, and support them while I can.

9:30 am: My first meeting of the day. Virtual checkin with one of my dev teams, usually 15–30min. Having this meeting is a godsend. It structures my morning so I must get up, and if I want 2 hours n the bike I have to get up early. Gigantic sanity saver.

Today I missed a 9:00am meeting oops!

Most days have had many other meetings. I’m pushing for routine meetings. These are psychologically really helpful and have provided at least some impetus to work. Otherwise I might dither it away. Yesterday I had a small, pandemic-related deliverable, and it was gigantically satisfying to have this one finite task to do. Nothing too abstract, all dev work.

UX design is very hard to do when I am this distracted.

Jenny and the kids have been busy, she is doing great with them. More on this when I post-date a post for yesterday, perhaps. The weather has been gorgeous, and every day they get out for walks or bike rides. We are a little slack with social distance with the kids; there are 2–3 friends they still see regularly, and we are still playing at playgrounds.


On my ride this morning I realized I do a lot of mind-wandering then, if I were so inclined I could record voice memos. It’s when my mind is the most fanciful & big-picturey. In no particular order, some thoughts that occurred to me this morning on my “commute” (some are copy/pasted from my Twitter, thanks Twitter!)

  • so many fewer cars, so much less noise. I can hear the birds. The world is inhaling
  • What if we lived our world with a Sabbatical cycle that ends with a Jubilee? Every 7th year we “rest” from economic growth to let the world inhale; every 49th year we erase all debts
  • every day I become like 5% more socialist
  • I find some liberation in knowing there is nothing I can do as an individual to move the needle on the world’s biggest issue. NONE OF US CAN. The only way through this is together. The only feasible solutions are collective.


first serious departure from my non-covid life: I took my daily shower in the mid-afternoon. I hate showering generally & regard it as a chore. Taking a shower every night w/out having to be presentable the next day is maybe my biggest challenge. But for some reason at 3ish this afternoon I felt like taking a shower before walking the dog which is a usual thing I do in the last afternoon when I’m working at home.

Speaking of walking the dog — this is dog heaven for her. A full week now of no kennels, multiple walks a day, her favorite people giving her attention all day long. the cliché is that we should all aspire to be like our dogs but how zen is this! The only thing she wants in life is what she’s getting right now.

Beautiful weather all week thus far so the park is quite busy at this time. Dogs, families, twentysomethings sunbathing, picnics. But all naturally socially distant. Something about dog park etiquette keeps everyone apart.

Portland gonna Portland…

We are starting to notice people being all up in each other’s grills about “social distance.” One of our neighbors followed (I would go so far as to say “harassed”) another neighbor’s preteen kid who was skateboarding with other kids. Yelled at them, followed them home. Preteen kids’ parents called the cops! Who told nosy neighbor “look it doesn’t matter whether they were closer than 6', you can’t go around harassing children.”

Jenny also reported an incident where some older folks were walking in a group on the MUP and someone biking by shamed them with “that doesn’t look like social distance to me!”

This kind of behavior is exactly what made me call myself “libertarian,” it’s like the worst stereotype of nanny-state liberalism. Hell it makes me want to go out and lick doorknobs, just to be contrary. Cut it out.