Sunday, March 29, 2020

Isolation Report, Week #3

[You could also read last week’s report, or even start at the beginning.]

This week was slightly better.

First of all, Trevor Noah has not in fact given up doing shows; he’s just been hiding them where I couldn’t find them—on YouTube.  They’re not full shows either ... just little snippets here and there.  But, still, quite refreshing to get some news, even if it’s 100% virus-related.  Surely there’s something else going on the world ... there was another Democratic debate, for instance.  But I’ve heard literally nothing about it other than seeing the clip where Biden and Bernie bump elbows instead of shaking hands, and that Bernie promised to fix this ebola pandemic while Biden swore he’d do something about this SARS outbreak.

That latter factoid from Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, who are also soldiering on, bless ’em.  But that’s all I’m getting: Colbert’s Internet snippets seem to have petered out, and John Oliver is in hiding, I think.  I was so desperate for news I actually watched a YouTube clip of Jimmy Fallon.  Fallon, I say!1

It has also, finally stopped raining and warmed up at least slightly.  Which means the plumber came out to fix our gas leak, finally.  Which means we can use jacuzzi again, which we damned well did, although only once so far.  After that, I switched the heat over to the pool; it’s probably too early in the season for the water to retain the heat overnight, making it infeasible to really keep the temperature up, but I decided I was going to do my best to let my little girl swim at least once this weekend.2

Because it’s her birthday weekend this weekend, you know.  She’ll be turning eight, officially, on Tuesday, so she picked this weekend to be hers.  And what a shitty time to have a birthday weekend!  We can’t go out to sit down at any restaurants, and we can’t go out to see a movie, and she can’t have her friends over for a party.  On the plus side, The Mother was so afraid that all her presents wouldn’t get here in time (due to shipping delays caused by ... well, you know) that she went out to Target and bought some just-in-case presents.  And then the real presents did make it,3 so then she had way more presents than she really ought to have.  But obviously she did not complain about this.

So that was a minor bright spot.  And she still gets to pick the meals ... we just have drive-thru and bring them home to eat.4  So far we’ve had Taco Bell and Panda Express ... not sure where to next.  Jack-in-the-Box, I’ve heard.  We’ll see.

So, you know, things aren’t as bleak.  But I’m still a little concerned.  Our president5 is going on about we need to reopen the country and get everyone back to work.  I started to wonder if people—such as you, dear reader—might think that this is what I was advocating, given some of my previous statements.  I hope not.  Besides not wanting to be associated with any opinion that Trump is holding, I think the larger issue is that I’m concerned that we’re acting like there’s only two options here.6  On the one hand the U.S. administration is saying no one should be staying at home and everything should go back to normal.  On the other hand, the majority of the social influencers—including, admittedly, all the folks I praise above—are beating us over the head with the message that we all have to stay indoors or we’re all gonna die.  But I’m the balance and paradox guy, remember?  I haven’t figured out a way to do both at once yet, but surely there has to be a middle ground in there somewhere ...

Perhaps I’m just feeling a bit sad that listening to my favorite media personalities has now devolved into hearing people yell at other people—especially young people—for daring to live their lives.  It’s like The Daily Show: Grumpy Old Men Edition.  You kids today!  You and your going to beaches, and having fun ... why can’t you cower in your houses like normal people!  The mayors of Italy are going out into the streets and yelling at young people.  The mayor of New York has threatened to walk around the city removing all the basketball hoops.  I mean, seriously, people!  Again, I really do understand the necessity for action on this disease (for a particularly informative—and refreshingly less hysterial—discussion, check out Trevor Noah’s interview of Anthony Fauci), but is a society of people shaming others for having fun where we really want to end up?

In any event, I can’t go on about it too long.  I have a ruthless master to serve.  There ain’t nothing like an eight-year-old to really milk the max out of being in charge for a birthday weekend.  At this point, she’s gotten into the habit of prefacing everything she says with “birthday request.”  You know, like: “Birthday request: bring me that glass of water.”  Or, “Birthday request: stop talking so I can hear the movie.”  It’s a ... special time.  I’m not sure I can say we’ll treasure the memories, but we sure as shit won’t forget them.


1 To be transparent, that was really only because Trevor Noah was his “guest.”  Such as guests are in the time of social distancing.
2 Addendum: Yes, both she and her elder brother got in the pool this afternoon and swam for over an hour.
3 Just barely.
4 For her brother, who managed to sneak in his birthday weekend just before everything went to shit, this would be fine.  It’s how he prefers to do it anyway.  But my baby girl is more of a social animal.
5 See, now I know what the fuck our president is up to, because I found Trevor Noah’s hiding spot.
6 I did allude to this issue last week, but I thought it worthy of further elaboration.

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