A Public Diary During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Day 4
It’s Thursday, March 19th, 2020 as recorded and noted using the Gregorian calendar. The time is 9:36am here in Portland, Oregon. The sun is out, blue skies can be seen through the Doug Fir trees outside the window. I’m pleased to see that the first white orchid is blooming today, the third stem of blooms on the same plant, something I’ve never been able to do before btw. In the other room, my son is dressed up as The Flash right now and dancing to Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Chip-Man & The Buckwheat Boys. It’s a wild raucous of a song that we found awhile back and have had a lot of fun getting down to. My son and wife are on a video chat with our family friends just a few blocks away who have a kid the same age, she is also dressed up at their house, they decided to have a virtual play date with dress up. I can dig it. This bit o’ fun for my son will provide for a half hour to an hour of entertainment which is great. Then there is just the other 10 or so hours we have awake together during this social isolation period of today.
We have yet to create a schedule for our days. That seems pretty important to do. I’ll make sure to work on that today. Find some sort of balance to the flow of the day. Thankfully we haven’t resorted to the TV being on all day long but our kid certainly did log a couple hours straight of Blue’s Clues. And speaking of streaming services, I just read that Netflix is being asked to remove its HD streaming so the internet doesn’t break. And speaking of the internet breaking, that was a whole other thought we were discussing yesterday independently from the Netflix thing I read this morning. We were just considering that all of us are basically getting all of our information currently about the pandemic, and what to do locally, and what the fuck is going on nationally and around the world, via the internet, mainly. Many households still have televisions set up with local broadcasting and radios but, as I write these words I realize, I don’t think we have either of those right now, do we? Definitely not TV and maybe I could find a radio somewhere in the house, maybe? The car has it so we could use that as a news source if the internet shuts down but what a trip to contemplate that happening, huh?
I’ve heard you can purchase a small ham radio setup for a next to nothing these days. We also have a kiddo set of Paw Patrol walkie talkies that work for like mile range or so. But beyond that, uh, we are not necessarily prepared for a break down in communications at the moment. That’s something to contemplate further…
In other news, the closing down of work and businesses is speeding up, and a tear was brought to my eye this morning as I was reading about Powell’s Books closing up for the time being and laying off all of its employees. Powell’s is a glorious book store in downtown Portland that is a local institution, to say the very least. They don’t think they can weather being closed for this duration and be able to reopen down the road necessarily. That is what thousands of businesses are faced with right now. And then of course there are millions of people who are being laid off across the country, many of which are, as has been mentioned before, living paycheck to paycheck. We are essentially in the same boat. We don’t have much of a savings to speak of, a fair amount of debt, and all income streams are currently dried up at the moment (we have a bit of a safety net with our relatives that is here for us that I’m so grateful and thankful for and realize is quite a privilege). This is going to be the case for everyone in the coming days and weeks. Money drying up, running out. Our reality has never faced anything quite like this, especially at this scale. The Great Depression was a doozy of epic proportions for sure, the population difference here in this country is enormous though from then to now. So many more humans in need of food and basic needs being met while also having all sorts of bills coming due, debts to pay, and so on. Some sort of universal basic income is going to have to happen and beyond that, an entirely new way of thinking about the way we do business and operate is going to, quite likely, have to be implemented.
And mind you, the farms acroos the country are going to need to be tended to. Planted and harvested, largely by an immigrant work force that is going to maybe not be here to do it. What is that going to mean for our food sources in a couple months time?
How in the sam hell is this all going to go down?
We don’t really know collectively any other way to live than the one that has been going on for generations now. And mind you, this is also something to consider but also realize that we will have to sort this out as all the old ways crumble around us. Things like malls being shuttered for months, stadiums, Disneyland, all sorts of shit that was mainly used for entertainment though with things like malls (also provided meaningful things like clothes and stuff), what will it look like after the dust settles with this pandemic? When the life we all new, consumer based, capitalism driven, profit focused, bottom line ran, has come to a halt?
We have an opportunity to re-prioritize and re-organize what is important.
The news from the White House today said they think there may be 18 months of riding out this pandemic. In California, martial law was thrown out as a potential measure to come. Soon it seems that all airlines will stop flying and most if not all borders will be closed, at least for a few weeks if not longer. Shit is coming to a halt.
And as we watch the fickle, illusory but very real stock markets plummet, we’ll have to recognize that our fiat money systems, how credit, debt, and interest are used, is a system that has run its course. How we come out of this is anybody’s guess. A whole lot of socialism is happening already and will continue to, on a personal level and clearly with all these big fucking bailouts for industry, it is happening all over the place. We’ll see quantitative easing, trillion of imaginary dollars pumped into the markets and all that. But for real, in a not too distant future, when people are still out of work weeks and months later, when the money has largely stopped circulating like it has for 100 plus years, measures will likely be taken to ration food, and freeze (or cancel) bills and debts for the sake of everybody, and then, well, we shall see.
There are many alternative ways that can be practiced by humans when it comes to making a successful economy. A resource based economy for example is really a fine one, there have been many clever folks and groups who have been imagining what this could and would look like and I have been involved with some of those groups for the past couple of years, doing the imagining and planning as well. Now it would seem, we have an actual factual point in the process to pivot from the broken down systems we have to one that can work in a more equitable, fair, and just way. I’ll elaborate on this down the road for sure.
Right now though, I’m gonna start to wrap this up and sit down and help to figure out a schedule and system for our house so that we don’t go completely bonkers and put some order into the chaos as it were. It hasn’t actually been that chaotic but you know what I mean. We’ve actually been pretty productive all things considered. I did a bunch of yard work yesterday, my darling doveling baked a nice loaf of bread, I did 44 bench presses of my son while he held an airplane pose (up from 33 the day before and 22 the day before that!), and other than that, we connected with Rachel’s parents for a FaceTime chat which, I’m just going to take a moment more to elaborate on. You see, we’ve been wondering about their scenario and more specifically, if they are going to hunker down in LA or come up here. They had planned to come up here before this pandemic at the beginning of April. I am fairly certain, as in nearly 100% certain that coming then will not be an option. The window for them to come up here is closing fast. And so, as we, as calmly as we could, discussed this yesterday, we spoke about the likely fact that if they do not decide to come here asap, they will be there for the duration. Which could be 3–6 months or more.
That is what we are facing. Physical isolation from each other for months to come.
Thankfully my parents-in-law have good folks as neighbors to help them ride this out which I’m truly grateful for. I really am. They are both at that age and in some of the highest percentage of folks who are at risk from this virus and that is simply an unsettling truth. At this point, we can only do what we can from afar and put mindful loving thoughts and energy towards them staying healthy through this pandemic. That goes for my dad, too.
Well, that is a heavy thing on my mind. Okay, I am gonna just wrap up for now. There is all sorts of other news that could be shared or reflected on now but I’ll just leave this as is for the moment. No, wait, I’ll at least share one picture circulating from Venice of the canals being clear for the first time in living memory. That is something good to end on. The environment, our precious land, air, and water are getting such a nice break from the destruction, consumption, and pollution, we humans have been ceaselessly placing upon it. Okay here’s that picture for ya 😉
So much love to you all. May we stay calm, kind, and supportive of one another, from afar. That’s the best we can do at the moment…