Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Entering Month 3: Update from the Q-Life

Since I entered the Q-Life on 10 March, two months have transpired and the third is upon me. As I've admitted here before, my sheltering in place is not nearly as tough as some.  I can do much of my job from home, and as my clients are also laboring under the impact of the virus, they are quite accommodating. I have a large enough house to have space set apart largely for myself, and my domestic situation does not include other humans in need of great oversight. Some people are really struggling...financially, psychologically, or both. I have a lot of sympathy for them. The hardest thing for anyone to figure out these days is "how does this all end"? I'm neither a math guy nor an epidemiologist, so all I can do is pose the questions that I consider and that form a good bit of conversation around my house these days, questions like "Does anything really change without a vaccine?" and "Won't there be a ton more deaths if we open the economy too quickly?" and "I wonder if my college is going to have classes on campus this fall?"  All are good questions and I have no answers. One question I don't hear from the others I live with is "what is this doing to the economy?"  This is the luxury of class and position, and sometimes I have to remind others that there are a lot of people truly suffering economically right now, and that suffering is fueling some of the protests underway. Clearly, there are other factors in the protests (political performative theater, identity politics, COSPLAYing), but this pain is real and the pressures to find a middle ground between open and Q-life is probably for the good. We need to find a way to "manage" things while people work and live.

One development that has me truly worried is the slow, grinding, decline of the meat and poultry processing industries as the virus ravages their work-forces. Presumably, after the workforce gets sick and recovers, these industries would be somewhat less impacted by the disease and could "come back", but in the meantime, people are going to suffer and die, and that is a tragedy. 

May is always a big month around the house. Both Kittens and The Kitten have their birthdays in May, and Mother's Day adds to the fun. Lord Bezos of Amazon (all praise be upon him) has made some of the logistics of pulling these events off easier, but birthdays are a pretty big deal around here and they are getting squashed a little. My proposal to shift birthdays a month to the right (with provisions for further shifting) was not adopted.

The younger members of the tribe are getting more restless with the requirements of the Q-Life, and their "salami-slicing" tactics designed to slowly wear down the resolve of decision-makers appears to be having some success. Maryland is still very much in lockdown, but a drive Saturday over to St. Michaels revealed a good bit of humanity on the streets (most with masks, thankfully), and no shortage of cars on the road, etc. It begins to give one a glimpse of where we might be going soon, with social distancing still stressed, mando-masking, lower density in shops and restaurants, etc, while life goes on elsewhere. Even under these conditions, the virus is likely to continue to be spread, and people will continue to be hospitalized and die. The more dedicated to mitigation we remain, the fewer get infected. 

To end this cheery update, I brought my 10 year old Jag (260,000 miles) to a local mechanic with various maladies in need of attention (don't shake your head--this has been the most reliable car I've ever owned). Among other pathologies, it appears mice ate through the wiring harness to one of the fuel injectors.  Country living.

Be well, friends. 

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