Tuesday, March 24 2020
Day two of the work-at-home phase of the pandemic was going nicely this afternoon when Gretchen came into the laboratory and sat down on the short run of steps leading down from the teevee room. She was either eating something or trying to formulate a sentence, and it was alarming. Then she told me something troubling. It seems the guy who runs the Woodstock Emporium (next door to the bookstore where she works) had come into the store while Gretchen was working there on Sunday (the last day any customers were allowed inside, and then only one at a time) bringing his new puppy, knowing Gretchen would want to see it. Then of course Gretchen had buried her face in the puppy and gave it kisses, because that's just how she is with puppies. Well, what Gretchen had just learned was that at the time this business owner had been waiting for the results of a coronavirus test. And the results of that test turned out to be positive. Mind you, Gretchen didn't learn this from the business owner calling everyone he'd been in contact with to report the situation. He'd posted something about the result and self-quarantining on his Facebook page, adding that it would give him lots of time to train his new puppy (which someone else at the store happened to come across). Gretchen could not believe the narcissism that would cause someone to behave so thoughtlessly. To me the business owner's behavior seemed almost willful in its terribleness. I became so enraged that I left a one-star Yelp review on the only chocolate shop I could find near the bookstore on Google Maps (since Gretchen had called the Woodstock Emporium a "chocolate shop"). But then it turned out that I'd smeared the wrong establishment, so Gretchen made me delete my review.
The immediate result of this news was that now Gretchen has to (morally if not legally) self-quarantine. So too would her boss, who also was in the store when the business owner and puppy came through. The original amount of time for the quarantine was seven days, but the real number for such quarantines is always 14 days, and that was what it soon became. And of course if Gretchen is quarantined in a house with me, I'm sort of quarantined too, though perhaps not as much. (If we need provisions, I will probably make brief runs to a store.) Infection by the coronavirus produces a disease with a wide range of severity, and there was no knowing how bad it would be for us if we ended up getting it. But it seemed like the best thing to do going forward was to practice social distancing in our own house. I would be washing my hands more and sleeping in the master guestroom downstairs.
After posting something about it on Facebook, one of the business owners's former lovers told me I was being counter-productive for shaming the person who had put me in quarantine. And then Gretchen told me to remove the post because, as she said, "I work in Woodstock." She didn't want the tsuris.
Meanwhile, I'd taken 120 milligrams of pseudoephedrine and now needed a drink to calm my nerves. So I made a small somewhat-abstract doodle of painting on a two inch by four inch canvas.
Later I joined a brief Google Hangout happy hour of the Mercy For Animals diaspora. Dan and Allison were there, but Cameron was mysteriously absent. With Dan was his new little baby Lane, who seemed to be in good spirits, unlike Allison and me. (For much of the call, Allison was swallowed in darkness.) Regarding the video happy hour as a safe form of social drinking, our little group was way ahead of the curve in perfecting the form. Now even colleagues of Dan's wife had started having similar happy hours; they were actually having one at the same time.
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