We’re settling in for the long haul. When things first shut down they said it was for two weeks, but it has been clear for a while now that this is going to be more than two weeks.
In the 1970s, I was stationed on a Coast Guard ship out of New York. Usually we went down to the Caribbean to look for drug smugglers, although we did a lot of other things, too. One time we were tasked with an Ocean Station. The idea was to go out into the middle of the ocean and take weather readings. Now there are weather satellites to take care of that, but in the 70s it was still a job for Coast Guard ships.
We were to go out and sit pretty much in the same place for two weeks. With no big storms and no rescue calls, one day blended into the next. But it was only for two weeks — no problem. The day before we were to be relieved by another ship, we got word that it had broken down and no other ship was available. We would be there another two weeks. A supply ship came out to bring us more food, but otherwise we just sat there watching the weather. It wasn’t the first time nor the last time schedules got changed. We did our job until we didn’t have to anymore — end of story.
This shutdown is a little that way. In the beginning we wanted to know how long this would last. Now we know it’ll last until it is over, so we might as well make the best of it.
I’ve seen projections. The first one was developed at the University of Washington, I think. Like all these models, there were a lot of assumptions. One problem in the beginning was that there was little reliable information available. But as the modelers learned more, they revised their assumptions. At one point it looked like it would be at least July before we could go out, and not even then for higher risk people like me. Now it looks like it could be as early as June. Regardless, we’re going to be inside for a while. It’ll be over when it’s over and not before.
I’ll do my job until I don’t have to, and right now my job is to stay inside and not drive Andrea crazy. I can at least do the first part even if the second part is not assured.
I read this morning they’ve developed a test for the antibodies. That would be wonderful, but I don’t expect it to be available anytime soon. It takes a while to refine things like this, and the dismal state of testing in this country doesn’t give me much hope. The leadership vacuum at the federal level just means it’ll take even longer.
I got word that a dear friend on the East Coast died. It wasn’t from the pandemic — he’d had Alzheimer’s for years and was of deteriorating health. Ordinarily I would try to go to his memorial service, but these are not ordinary times. My heart goes out to his partner, though, a dear man I’ve known almost forty years.
I’ve been warping my loom — putting the warp threads on it to prepare to weave. I haven’t done that in a while. I’d gotten too busy with other things, but now I have fewer other things. And I find weaving to be somewhat meditative. I’ve been checking the loom and removing the extra heddles. Usually I don’t bother with the slow and tedious process of taking the extra ones off, but I have the time and find the tidying satisfying.
It’s funny, but even with all this time on my hands my days seem full. Andrea continues to be busy helping neighbors get on Zoom, and I don’t seem to get to all the things I want to do. I think we’ve slowed down — or at least I have. Taking the time to straighten my heddles is one example. I feel myself adopting the island attitude — tomorrow will be the same as today, so I can do that then, or the next day: What difference does it make?
I wonder how many of us will come out of this with agoraphobia. When I walk in the neighborhood, I shy away from others. I ordered groceries online. When I went to pick them up, I found I was fearful of the nice young woman who put them in the trunk of our car. We weren’t close to her — she was probably at least ten feet away — but it was unnerving. I don’t want to be afraid of people.
I hear talk about returning to normal, but will we? I certainly hope enough of us learn something from this experience. Will we go back to unbridled consumption and valuing only those who win a bigger pile? Or will we realize the value of the nurses and cleaning staff, the teachers and daycare workers, the farmers and migrant workers, truckers and grocery clerks? Will we continue the current healthcare system or will there be a more concerted effort to provide it for everyone? Will we draw back into ourselves? Or will more of us realize just how interconnected we all are? Is this pandemic a wakeup call or just a blip?
Andrea and I continue to be well. I hope the same for each of you.