Closeup of yellow daffodils

Covid-19 Diary: third week, second weekend

Published 2020-03-30

Adjusting to the surreality of Social Distance Commutes. Traffic every day is like Christmas or quieter. Weird though that people are not driving any better, or more accurately any less rage-y and entitled. If anything it’s worse. Pre-covid I thought the reason cars turned people into assholes was because of this rage-inducing state of indeterminance: the speedometer goes to 150mph but here I am idling through stoplights at 15mph! But nah, cars just make people into assholes.

Third week now on gentle lockdown and we are definitely settling into a rhythm. Feeling like our new normal.

Grateful that the rate of infections in Oregon seems to be flattening — social distance is working. I am still pissed that our only axe was social distance. So much unnecessary economic carnage. And in some states, actual carnage.

As with regular life, weekends are hardest. I’m going to bring the social distance commute into the weekends. If it were up to me, every day in this household would be scheduled and habitualized to the hour. Early in the lockdown I made a reference to Ernest Shackleton and Endurance — that he maintained naval routines like watches and the noon observation, even when these routines seemed to serve no purpose. All his men survived. So it’s been a running joke for going on three weeks now that “Ernest Shackleton says…”

Jenny is less enthusiastic for this kind of structure.

I wish I had posted three weeks ago about the closure of Blue Kangaroo, our favorite coffee shop and a neighborhood hub. It was a world-shattering event in our tiny world: so much of our social life revolved around the chance encounters at that coffee shop. When Jenny called to tell me Flo was closing the shop, I was working at Tabor Space, and felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I cried actual tears. I went four times to Blue Kangaroo that weekend — only three weeks ago! — to get as many café Cubanos as possible.

This feels like it happened a decade ago in another world, where coffee shops were open and my civic worries were mainly about housing affordability and parking.

I spent two weeks wishing I could rewind to that world but now I have to set myself intentionally to remember it. What did it feel like to just walk to a coffee shop any old time?