A Public Diary During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Day 16

Sheets of rain dance back and forth as they coat the earth outside the window. The winds whip the trees about in sporadic gusts as well. I managed to get my outside errands for the day done before this came and I am grateful. Lugging in groceries while this was going down would not have been fun.

Inside, our boy continues his nearly three day unbroken streak of being an indoor streaker. He has been in his birthday suit for well over 24 hours now, he donned clothes two days ago for a brief walk around the neighborhood but has otherwise steadily been in the buff. That’s fine with me. He seems content and in some zen like liberated state of freedom, at the tender age of four. It is warm enough indoors here for him to do this successfully, outside it is still brisk at times but our controlled climate gives him the luxury of not freezing his naked tuchus off.

Going out into the world, running errands that in the past I hardly gave much thought to, now have transformed into a full on bizarre experience. I wouldn’t say I ever panicked while out, but I certainly felt odd and the current of concern that coursed through me kept me on my toes.

I started with waiting in line outside the grocery store, each of us keeping approximately 6 feet of distance between us. One person let in each time one person came out. I was one of a very small percentage of folks wearing a face mask. Inside, I was slightly surprised to see that none of the employees at the checkouts were wearing a face mask. They had installed these plexiglass screens though how effective those were, or are, is hard to say. They didn’t cover much area and if someone were to cough or sneeze, in either position (customer or employee), the protection provided wouldn’t be that significant. Plus, each checkout line had someone bagging the groceries and they didn’t have a plexiglass screen in front of them.

It’s all so strange.

To know what level of protection we need in this crisis is still unclear. I know washing hands and not touching your face are two crucially important measures to take. And that is why wearing a mask to me makes the most sense when out in this wild new world. I recognize that it isn’t likely to protect from direct sneezes and the like but it most certainly stopped me from touching my face while I was in public. I got home, disinfected everything, washed my hands good and thoroughly, and then I knew the time was right to get back to touching my face again! For real though, it is difficult as fuck to not touch my face. Especially as we’re in allergy season and I go in and out of having itchy ass eyes that beg me to, you know, scratch them, or rub them vigorously to try and quell the itch. That’s mostly a knuckle technique for the eyeball region but nevertheless, the little nose itch, the casual stroking of the beard while in deep contemplation, these are the struggles one must now face in this altered reality.

My crafty darling doveling is making sourdough crackers in the kitchen and pumped out a huge stack of sourdough pancakes just now. It is helping her during these uncertain times to be engaged in a rather intimate relationship with a sourdough starter. She even has dreams about it. That’s cool with me. She’s grown that thing numerous times over these past days and has now been so kind as to share the sourdough starter relationship with some friends in the neighborhood. She’s spreading the love as it were.

It’s funny, we have been mindfully reducing our gluten intake in many ways in the past half year or so and in the last couple weeks, we’ve swung the pendulum well on over to the other side of things. We have bread coming out of our ears right now. The freezer has various loafs piling up and the glutinous goodness has accompanied virtually every meal we eat. I’m not complaining. I LOVE bread. I just think it is hilarious where we find ourselves with food right now.

Food is comfort.

Speaking of food. I also picked up some soil and broke out our seed stock to assess what we were going to plant in the coming days. We also got a delivery of seeds from our friends up on Whidbey Island who have an organic farm and have been providing seeds in addition to the food they grow for the past few years now. Deep Harvest Farm is the name of their game and they’ve got a really good thing going. Well, we have some egg cartons and a couple trays for getting seeds started here. That is going to happen later today and I’m also going to turn up the soil and amend it a bit in our garden beds and directly plant some sugar snap peas in there so they can get themselves cozy and ready to sprout on up. I’ll also need to build a trellis for them which will be fun to create. I like to use some sticks from the back alley, we have bamboo growing back there so that usually is what I’ll use. And then I use a bunch of twine to create a web like structure for them to climb. I also picked up some chicken wire and will be making a nice home for some potatoes to grow in, too. Getting pretty stoked about all of this.

Growing food is empowering. It is also something that is super helpful in these uncertain times. I’ve been thinking about all this more and more and it really does seem like doing things like gardening and homesteading are important right now. I feel as though developing and honing in our self sufficiency skills is always a good thing. But right now, it is more than a passing hobby situation. It is a part of planning and preparing ourselves to better rely on our own skills and abilities while also making sure to realize that while we are needing to go it alone in many ways, we’ll also need to embrace and foster a good community to get through this with as well. That is not so easy when it comes to the social distancing and isolation measures that are in place though. But it also isn’t impossible.

Thankfully, we have social media that can come to the rescue during these social distancing times we’re in!

Ah, social media. Never before has there been a time where the use of this is actually such a good and helpful thing. Except when it’s not of course. Human to human interactions are crucial and so valuable in the world we’ve known, but right now, that just isn’t really possible beyond limited interactions with really strange dynamics involved. And while zoom chats and things of that nature can put us face to face in a way, this is still lacking that ability to be in each others fields of energy. Some sort of broadcast of it can come through a computer screen but nothing quite close to the physical realm can be truly achieved. Alas, we deal with the hand we’re dealt these days.

Well, at this very moment in time, I am in a pretty good mood, all things considered. My experiences out and about today, while bizarre in their context, didn’t thankfully rattle me too much and I feel grateful for the fact that we still have the ability to go to stores and have shelves full of foods from around the country and world even, and a hardware store with supplies of all kinds to purchase as well. I do not take these things for granted and know there is a chance that our supply lines and shortages of many things is in the realm of possibility, at any time really. Not just because we have a pandemic going on.

At this moment, the storms have passed, birds are singing outside the window and I can see a spot of blue in the sky off in the distance. To the west there is dark and ominous clouds but maybe we’ll get a patch of dry time outside and I don’t mind handling a bit of mild rain while out there. It’s those mighty winds I don’t care to be out in with heavy rain while doing yard work. We shall see what will be. And thankfully, I have this incredibly cozy home to get dry and warm in if I did get soaked. The amount of things to be grateful for in our lives right now is beyond counting. I know this is not the case for so many people and my heart sincerely aches for them. Hopefully we can get through this shit storm and on the other side, find a way to support all human beings in a way that is equitable and supportive to everyone. Doesn’t that sound good?..

Oh, and one last thing. I send all sorts of gratitude to these workers putting their lives on the line to provide food for us at this time. All the delivery workers. All the folks working in hospitals. All the people who are helping us get through this. Thank you. It puts tears in my eyes thinking about how important you all are.



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Joe Culhane

Joe Culhane

Writer, podcaster, international public speaker, Theater of the Oppressed actor, and lover of this precious intrinsically connected world we are all a part of.