Mission Impossible. We found paper towels! Lots of them. Eve placed an online order at Target for pick up. This was my chance to leave these four walls and enjoy a fleeting moment of freedom from the comfort of my own home. But it came with a set of instructions as designed by Eve.
Put on gloves to go into the store
Stay six feet away from everyone else
Sanitize the cart
Put groceries in the back of your car, on a towel.
Close the trunk and discard the gloves
Use disinfectant once you get back in the car
Leave the groceries and walk away from the car
Then begins Eve's grocery sanitation process.
9 parts water to one part bleach solution
Apply liberally to all products and allow to air dry outside before being brought into the house.
Apples, which she would have preferred not to buy at all, have to be washed in a warm sudsy water.
And this is our life. I returned from the mission and the hot water was already running so that I didn't have to touch any knobs. I did my 20 second scrub both on hands and face before I was frog marched to the laundry room to remove all clothing that was exposed to the air. We are clean again. I'm wondering if the car needs any extra sanitation after this adventure, but I suspect I can simply wait three days for everything to die since I have no plans to use the car other than to shop.
Cheaters Put Themselves First. They are everywhere. We are supposed to only leave our home for "essential" trips and yet it's not clear to me that every trip is perfectly essential. I'm the first to feel the need to cheat. Is it essential that the dog get three walks a day? I can justify those walks ten different ways but that's not the point. The point is that we are all supposed to do as good of a job as possible at going to ground and staying there. It will save lives. There are the cheater who are taking a hike with friends with the plan that everyone stays 6 feet apart. And there's the young college graduate who wants to fly across the country to NYC (the location of the most concentrated problem) right now to be with a boyfriend and start a career. This desire seems to prioritize the needs of the individual over the family--in this case a mother in a higher risk age group that's left to fend for herself. Finally, there is the young career superstar who lives in NYC with a great job and great friends who simply refuses to shelter with family in safer environs. This is new to all of us and we don't have a lot of perspective to use right now in order to make good decisions, but this is a time where our character will show. This is a time to see if you stand for yourself or you stand for us.
N95 Mask. Regular surgical masks, or the kind you see people wear on the streets of Japan, are not enough to keep the virus out. Sure, it will help if the wearer feels sick and potentially protect others but we're told it will do little to protect the wearer from the virus. N95 masks, however, are designed to filter out the little virus buggers. These are the things that doctors across the country are screaming for. Without them they are risking their lives with every patient they see. We have no masks and until one was offered we were happy to leave the masks to the professionals. But a neighbor offered us a single solitary N95 mask for our household to use as protection. We didn't say no. We didn't immediately drive the pristine mask to the closest hospital. We kept it uncertain about what might happen next.
Stand Your Ground. That 6 foot space bubble we are all expected to keep is a little more challenging to maintain than I would have thought. The sidewalk really only has enough room for one person forcing someone walking in the opposite direction to walk in the street in order to maintain 6 feet. In a store aisle if one person stops then there is no way to pass and maintain a 6 foot bubble. Even when I worked hard to maintain my bubble, I'm at the mercy of the next guy to make sure they honor the distance as well. How long until the first shooting in Florida with a "stand your ground" justification not for an attack, but because someone violated your space bubble.
Forecasts. Throughout my career a part of my job has to been to forecast results. It's never easy and I've missed the mark more often than I've come close. A forecast is less about the number, however, and more about the process and the logic used to generate that forecast. I heard Tony Fauci today decline to forecast with so many unknowns but he uttered the phrase 200,000 deaths before showering the potential of optimism. As I write, the death count in the US is just over 2300. The best model is Italy and while Italy appears to have flattened at about 5,000 new cases a day. We haven't seen that number substantially fall, and at the same time the US national quarantine is a far cry from what's expected of the rest of the world. Here's my forecast: By the end of June, Italy will have seen 63,000 deaths (at about 10,000 today) and the US will have seen 400,000 deaths or roughly one out of every thousand Americans. I hope I'm wrong. We'll see soon enough.
Sociology. How long will it be before anyone volunteers to go and see a sporting event? I think time has shown that Americans have relatively short memories. Somehow we're built to forget pain and yet at the same time we're smart enough to learn from our mistakes. I can tell you that I'm happy to watch sports on TV for a while. A big part of baseball, however, is shots of the fans watching the game. It may not be the same if there aren't crowds there. What about movies? Does this kill the movie theater? The stage play? Or even the airplane's middle seat? Businesses are going to have some tough choices to make. I heard that the large retailers have already green lighted the creation of a "sneeze guard" between checker and customer to facilitate human transactions. Maybe the checker-free model that Amazon is experimenting with will start to accelerate in acceptance. At the moment decisions about whether I work from home or work from the office is being made for me. But if the government says that it's ok for me to work with people again, I'm not sure that I want other people making that decision for me. Would I leave a job over it? The honest answer is a definite "maybe."
Comfort food. Eve has been cooking up a storm. We had one of her grandmother's beloved dishes that we call "porcupines" this week which is basically meatballs with rice in tomato sauce. Last night Eve made one of her mother's treasured dishes of homemade beef jerky. It's amazing when it's fresh and made with good meat. There is an upside to all this "at home" time but I'm worried about gaining the Covid-19 pounds!
Anderson Cooper's Hair. I'm watching your hair Anderson. I think you've had a haircut in the past week. We need to see our TV people looking like real people if they expect us to stay inside.
Crazy Freedom. I drove to the city to take Scott some food and one of his text books. Never got out of the car. Round trip in record time. The streets weren't largely empty except for the homeless and there are a lot of them! Two days in a row outside the house. What a wild feeling. Need 5 days of forced detention before my next excursion!
Free Hand Sanitizer. A distant neighbor (who we don't know) posted the offer of free hand sanitizer on their porch and then publicized the address. Eve asked me to take two bottles if I could. I felt bad taking two. Sort of like when the bowl is left outside on Halloween, was I going to be one of those people to take more than my fair share? Turns out that there was only a single bottle left when I arrived. Virus karma.
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