Saturday, March 28th, 2020
The Butcher’s Bill 6:30 PM, PDT (only a momentary snapshot)
Cases: 663,037 Deaths: 30,851
Cases: 123,498 Deaths: 2,211
With the exception of Bio-Rad most of the businesses in our little town of Hercules exist to support the residents who commute elsewhere. To call Hercules a town is overestimating . Hercules, or more accurately the town’s planners and low rent politicians want our little berg to be a player. Hercules started out in the 19th century as a company town for a dynamite manufacturer, the Hercules Powder Company. Since then it’s become a bedroom community. During the three decades that we’ve lived here a string of mayors and city councils has left in their wake a series of half baked schemes meant to turn Hercules from a spec on the map to a dot. Most efforts have resulted in massive expense with minimum results.
Our own home is in the Refugio Valley, which starts at about sea level and gradually works its way a few hundred feet up over about a two and a half mile stretch. Our home is typical of 1980’s developments; two stories on a slab sitting on a smallish lot at the upper end of the valley. Here at the far end of the valley we’re not exactly isolated but we’re not in the midst of it all either. And given the current viral state of affairs I’m more than happy that we’re in the far reaches of a speck on the map rather than a dot, or a splotch.
HOA is the acronym for homeowners association, a private association with a governing board that establishes standards and maintains the landscaping in a residential area. I and most of my neighbors like to refer to the board as that bunch of busybodies with nothing better to do than hassle you over the basketball hoop in your driveway and a trash bin that’s visible from the street.
I’m sifting through the mail while I walk back home from the mailbox. There’s a letter from our HOA, the Refugio Heights Homeowners Association.
“What do these assholes want?” I ask myself.
I open the envelope to find out that I’ve been busted for not having a completely landscaped front yard. They warn me that if I don’t dress up the yard in 25 days then…then…then what? The stocks? Public shaming?
In normal times I would just be irritated but since we’re in the midst of a pandemic I let out a noxious fog of billingsgate.
Cora and Jessica gather around the letter and Jessica sums it up.
“This is non-essential, tell them to go fuck themselves.” Ah, daddy’s girl.
The board president lives just about 3 houses up. Thankfully for all concerned he’s sheltering in place inside his home.
And so my task on Monday is to call the county board of health and verify that dressing up the yard during a pandemic that’s ratcheted up the unemployment rate is non-essential. After that I’ll call the HOA administrator, ask him if he’s living in an alternate universe and then tell him to fuck himself. That was the original idea. I’ve calmed down some and I’ll work it out.
I try to imagine the board meeting in which someone floated the notion of hassling the community in the midst of the biggest pandemic in decades. Did anyone at the table suggest that maybe this isn’t the best time to tell their neighbors, some who may have just lost their jobs, that they need to leave their shelter in place in order to get materials for a major DIY?
The news out of New Orleans hurts my heart. It’s one of my favorite cities, one that I’d thought of visiting in late spring and once again she’s going to have to resurrect herself from another catastrophe. She’s called the Big Easy and there won’t be anything easy about this. Remarkable resilience. In retrospect was it such a good idea to have Mardi Gras on the 25th of February? The finger pointing is in full vigor with NOLA’s mayor pointing out that the Department of Homeland Security which is responsible for pandemic preparedness never raised the alarm. And why not, because just the day before Mardi Gras, Trump tweeted,
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
That was the same day that the market dove 1000 points off a cliff.
Still one wonders what Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat was thinking when she apparently took Trump at his word.
NOLA turns into our kitchen discussion. All those people who gathered in one big party and then spread out to the four corners. How many were carriers?
And On a Personal Note
More personal by the day I guess. Found out that a relative in the Philippines is just recovering from coronavirus and a friend who’s a travel agent got furloughed until June.
Still working on the 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I’ve got two books going. 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos and A Double Life, a biography about Norman Mailer. I’m thinking crossword puzzles next.
Started season 3 of Ozark, the series about a mom, a dad, a daughter and a son who share the family hobby of laundering money for a ruthless drug cartel.
Another sleepless night last night. Those sleepless nights have an upside. I get some of my best writing ideas and I actually remember some the next morning. Turning on the lights to jot something down could put a strain on my marriage.
Staring at the ceiling I take some solace in the fact that my primary care physician works out of the Vallejo Kaiser. Vallejo is in Solano County which has reported only 34 cases of covid-19. In the event that one of us has to go to emergency the ER chaos should be about as it always is.
I do recall one idea that I’ll act on this coming week. I’m going to invest in a globe for the house and give the kids geography lessons. I really don’t want to see my grandchildren become the adults who can’t find Europe on a map.