April 10, 2020

Had to go out to get the dog and I some pills today. Two hours back and forth. At the vet you park, call them using the number on all the signs they’ve put up where ever you parked, give them your credit card over the phone and they bring out your stuff. Malia brought out Sailors pills and we talked about Vegas who she really liked and a possible puppy in our future. We were both wearing masks and gloves. Her mask had a flower print. Mine was behind my skull bandanna. Everyone at the Berkeley Animal Hospital is doing well.

Speed limit on the freeway without a CHP in sight is evidently 85 mph now. Saw a CHP at Broadway and everyone slowed down. Hadn’t been out for over a week. Things have changed. Lines are outside stores now so only smaller groups are allowed inside at a time, and once inside the line to checkout isn’t near the cashiers. The security guy motions to you when a cashier is ready. The line stretches through the produce and everyone is wearing gloves and masks now. All the check out stations have plastic see through around them. We don’t have bullet proof but hopefully virus proof and even the younger folks at check out are full glasses masks and gloves. Something as mundane as going to the grocery store has a new, unforeseen sheen in these Pandemic days.

Speaking of gloves, we’ve always seen those random gutter gloves around here, the result of some smarmy liaison in a random car with random people doing random things involving bodily fluids but now the gloves in the gutter are ubiquitous. Thrown from cars like cigarette butts. And parked car dashboards more often than not have N95 or other masks UV pulverizing off lipid shells of possible COVID that may have been trapped in them the last time you left your house.

There are people out and about. I counted them when I drove into Berkeley and then Oakland. Some couples, some single persons. There were no large groups. I got to about 20 walking around with no masks. I assume the couples were sheltering together just out on walks. Off Shattuck, that park past the Starry Plough towards 24 had people with dogs chilling, but there was still social distance between them.

In the store all vegetable seeds are sold out. What little toilet paper or towels there are, are one per family only. There is no antibacterial pump soap. I was able to get the crows peanuts and most of the things I went out for.

Back home, decontamination, clothes to the washing machine, phone, keys, glasses, goggles, everything else wiped. Provisions going inside cleaned, provisions we can wait on go to Dad’s Quarantine Van for 7 days. Always, the shower with lots of soap and hot water.

But yea.. life is extremely different than it was three weeks ago. Surreal. Reminds me of that Stephen King book “The Mist” that I dreamt about last night when I heard something that sounded like a massive trumpet sounding on 580 a couple blocks from here. Whatever my dream was merged into that low long amplified sound out on the freeway, moving slowly like some huge spirit tromping along in a fog of malevolent uncertainty. I thought about Hong Kong and Japan during the last big corona viruses that moved through there. I’m assuming we are having our American moment with the same threat and this is a response other countries like them already know how to deal with, right?

We can get through this. Ignore the Feds. They’re a total failure and in way over their heads right now and watching those mini MAGA briefings are painful. The Doctors are good when they basically use vocabulary Trump doesn’t understand to walk back his BS. But we have leadership here where we live. For my California friends, I feel so fortunate to live in this Nation State with you where we evolve rapidly to challenges like these. We have science. We will survive this.

Stay safe my people.

N95 behind the bandanna
A LOT more produce than last trip. Dry goods and frozen food shelves are looking empty
25 in the store at a time
Victory Gardens in full swing
Every vehicle, masks on the dash
OMG gloves everywhere. The new cigarette butts.

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