A personal journal of life during the time of covid-19
Thursday, March 26th, 2020
The Morning’s Butcher’s Bill (only a momentary snapshot)
Cases: 492,603 Deaths: 22,184
Cases: 66,057 Deaths: 946
The day starts on an inauspicious note. I’m waking up to Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference and it’s less than inspiring. On this her 80th birthday her remarks range from rambling to almost incoherent. She’s sounding less like the Speaker of the House and more like someone’s confused grandma. Perfect, an incompetent president and a befuddled speaker.
I don’t know which tone is more troubling, the addled one or the partisan one.
“We take some pride as I said earlier that congressional democrats in the Senate and in the House were able to flip this over from a corporate trickle down Republican version to bubble up, worker first, families first legislation….Can you believe that it was every Republican, 49 Republicans last night voted to deprive those on unemployement insurance of the additional $600 a week? How could it be that in this time of stress and strain and uncertainty about health and life and livelihood that they would vote that way.”
Such a seduction to engage in partisanship; the ravishing allure of getting in the last word, seems almost sexual with these legislators. There’s no need for McConnell to bait the left and Pelosi to piss off the right and then in the next sentence give a weak nod to bipartisanship. You’ve done the damage with the damning of your opposite.
Listening to Pelosi this morning and Trump yesterday I wonder, where is our leader? Who is going to be the man or woman who will set aside blame and have us believe it. Who will be rolling up his or her sleeves and getting to work and exhorting us to roll up our own sleeves?
Immediately following Pelosi, that man emerges but I’m saving him for last.
A Midday Run
A 45 minute run with Lexi is both refreshing and reassuring. The former is obvious but what about the latter, reassuring. I’m a rabid hypochondriac; one of those nuts who can mentally turn a case of constipation into a death dealing intestinal disease. WebMD is a bad place for me to visit. A nice long, cruising run with no effort tells me that on this day at least I’m still healthy.
My run takes me along a rec path that follows the San Pablo Bay coastline. At the entrances to the trail are the signs of the times that admonish social distancing and warn that restrooms are closed and handshakes are off the agenda.
For the most part the walkers and runners are cognizant of social distancing. For the other few I just stop and step off the trail.
It’s a beautiful day to be out. The air is crisp and the sky a dapple of brilliant blue and billowing cotton ball clouds. Whatever grey is in those clouds acts as a pleasing artist’s contrast.
After our run Lexi drinks some water and settles herself in the shadowed lee of my truck while I sit in the passenger seat, door open, looking out at the bay.
“It’s a beautiful view. I come here everyday just to look out at the bay,” says a hidden voice. A few cars down a man sits in the driver’s seat and looks out at the panorama.
“It is,” I answer. “And those clouds make it all the more so.”
“Sometimes I wonder,” says the man, “what this looked like 500 years ago. I think it looked like this.”
It’s Not All Gloom
I’m seeing gas below three dollars a gallon. That might still be expensive in other parts of America but here in the Bay Area it’s bargain basement.
From a personal standpoint I’m finding that there’s a bright side to my lack of hair. All I have to do is to take the clippers to what’s left and I’m good to go. If the barber shops don’t open soon we’re going to have a lot of men looking like hippies…bring back the 60’s man.
And where are all the robocalls lately? What happened to all those “upright citizens” who are looking to give me a new car warranty, fix my credit problems or want me to donate to the peace officer’s retirement fund? Where are those bogus IRS officers threatening me with jail if I don’t give them my social security number and mom’s maiden name? The woman who keeps telling me that my Apple computer has been hacked hasn’t called in weeks. Did she finally believe me when I told her, “I have a PC and by the way go fuck yourself?” Did they all come down with coronavirus? I n an odd sort of way I kind of miss seeing my phone light up with SCAM LIKELY so that I can answer, “FBI, this is special agent Elliot Ness, may I help you.”
The market went up again today. Maybe I’m only down by $45,000.00 now but there’s no sense in spoiling a day over something that I’ll just have to ride out .
Maybe the best news of the day is that today, today we might have found the leader that a tired, frightened nation has been looking for; Andrew Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo, the man who I’ve castigated for a week, stepped up. I guess this morning when he got up Mr. Cuomo fired the ranting partisan politician that he was a few days before and decided to channel a previous Governor of New York, one Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his first inaugural Roosevelt said, “In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”
This morning Cuomo, in calm, measured tones, delivered a balanced presentation of the facts. It was FDR’s “leadership of frankness.” There was no self aggrandizement, no puffing and no bull shitting. There was no sugar coating or false promises. He spoke of hard times and weariness in the days and weeks to come but he ended with words of assurance and hope that when we arrive at the other end we will all be better for it.
It’s the end of the day at a solitary kitchen table. Everyone’s in bed now. I listen to Cuomo’s speech one more time and then I listen to FDR’s 1933 inaugural; speeches separated by 87 years, each man facing his own monumental challenge. Each man speaking in his own firm, honest and inspiring way. Each leaving us with the vision of a leader rolling up his sleeves and asking us to roll up our own sleeves and forge ahead and persevere towards a better time.
“My personal opinion, not facts; I gave you the facts, my gratuitous two cents which is probably worth a penny and a half. This is a life moment. It’s a moment in the life of this country, a moment in the life of the world, it’s a moment in our family lives, it’s a moment for each of us. Each of us is dealing with it in our own way. And my observation has been that when the pressure is on is when you really see what people are made of; in a personal relationship, in a business relationship…people can be great when everything is great. The question is what does a person do when things aren’t great, and what does a person do when the pressure is on them?” And later, “Easy times don’t forge character, it’s the tough times that forge character.” Cuomo talked about all of us being tired, two weeks in and added, “who am I to complain about being tired when so many people are doing heroic efforts…During this difficult time let’s listen to the voices of our better angels…we’re going to get through this, the only question is how we’re going to get through it, and when we get through it. But let’s make sure that at the end of the day we can say that we are the better for it and our children are the better for it. And I believe they will be. ~ Andrew Cuomo, March 26th 2020. To view Cuomo’s remarks follow the link
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4th, 1933.
Off to bed late at night comfortably wrapped in a warm blanket of hope. There’s blue peaking through the clouds.