social distance skeleton crew, day four
Thursday, March 19 2020
I was in foggy state last night when Gretchen told me something interesting. Her old girlfriend Barbara, the woman with whom she lived prior to our relationship, apparently contracted the coronavirus early in the pandemic. She'd ridden on one of those long-range discount buses to or from New York City and then, some days later, started experiencing a (what we would now consider ominous) dry cough. Soon thereafter she had a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually she felt so bad that she went to a hospital, where she was given intravenous fluids. Recovery ended up taking a full two weeks, though now she's pretty much back to normal. At no time was she actually tested for coronavirus, but those symptoms sound exactly like what might be expected for a healthy person in her late 40s. So Barbara and probably tens of thousands of others are not part of the coronavirus statistics we keep hearing. Hopefully she got some immunity from the experience and is in a good position as the peak comes through. In some ways she's lucky to have gotten it early, before hospitals become uselessly overextended. Unfortunately for Barbara, her doggy daycare business has been destroyed by the pandemic, since most of her customers now work from home and no longer require her services.
At noon today, I drove to the center of Red Hook to get some provisions for the multi-month hunker-down to come. First I went to the liquor store, where the door was wide open despite the clammy chill, probably to encourage air circulation. The cashier was wearing rubber gloves but no mask. I, the only customer there at the time, was allowed to browse freely. I selected a half gallon of cheap vodka and a $37 bottle of 114 proof Gustaf Navy Strength Gin.
Then I drove to Red Hook Natural Foods (which was nearby) in hopes of finding something fun to eat for lunch. While I was there, I saw that they had some good organic produce, so I bought a cauliflower and a container of cherry tomatoes. For immediate eating purposes, I got a thing of "General Tso's Tofu." The cashier was wearing neither gloves nor a mask, and he apologized for being a bit understocked. I'd been impressed that the store had what it had and said, "You're doing pretty good." As I left I cheerfully told him to "Enjoy the apocalpyse!"
On the drive back to work on Elizabeth Street, I passed the house that had been proudly flying a DONALD TRUMP 2020 flag. (11 Elizabeth Street, I think.) Today, though, that flag was gone, replaced with an Irish flag. It's hard to imagine St. Patrick's Day being the reason to take down the Trump flag. Perhaps Trump's response to the coronavirus had finally passed some threshold of awful, worse even than had he shot a loser pedestrian on 5th Avenue.
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