Sunday March 29

The store has now closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.  We're expecting it to stay closed for at least a couple of weeks.  I've been given instructions on how to apply for unemployment.

It feels unexpected, living through a time like this.  It's the sort of thing you read about in a Stephen King novel, or watch in a documentary – but never expect to experience yourself.  There is an eerie silence on the streets – no people to be seen, very few cars.  Time feels both stretched thin (how bad will this get?) and wasted (what else can you do really but wait).  I'm reading a lot – I'd been wondering if I would ever get back to reading (as opposed to listening to books on audio); now I've discovered it was only lack of time that was stopping me.  And I'm cleaning, resting, constantly checking the news, spending time with my parents . . .  Why then say that time feels stretched thin, wasted?  Because I feel always, always as if I'm waiting to see . . . just how bad it will get!  One can't do anything else.  I look out the window, and how easy it is to imagine people with guns, walking singly or in small groups, ready to steal whatever it is they think they need, to have their way no matter at what (or whose) cost.  I would be, I must admit, pretty defenseless against them . . .

But also, I notice the quiet.  It took me days to realize, it's not that nature too has been shocked into silence.  It's that humans are usually making a great deal of noise, much more than I'd ever realized.  I knew about air pollution, water pollution, land pollution.  I'd never before realized how much noise pollution we make.  I wonder what the effects of that might be?

Tuesday April 7

I remember the day after the 2016 presidential election I remarked to someone at work:  It feels like a coup.  It was.  There's a takeover happening, and it's happening right now.  It's a deeply, genuinely anti-democratic movement.  Their leaders are already in power, and they are continually and ever more aggressively rigging the system in their favor.  What will the end be?  Bankrupt the country?  Inspire a revolution?  It feels like things are going to get ugly for some long time.  It feels, frankly, like it could be the beginning of the end.

Thursday April 9

Despite all the awfulness going on – the overflowing hospitals, the steady move towards an autocratic government, hopes for a valid election in the fall starting to flicker; despite the fact that this really could be the beginning of some kind of end, that at any moment the dominoes could begin to fall – despite all that, for me personally at just this moment in time, what I'm having is the longest paid vacation I've had in over a decade.  After three weeks of enforced inactivity I almost feel rested.

2:30 p.m.

I could go for a walk I guess.  Though last time I went, I found an injured bird – a robin – flopping about near a brick office building under a bush.  It bit me when I picked it up to examine it – like being pricked with tiny scissors.  I dropped it immediately; it eyed me suspiciously.  It didn't seem terribly hurt I didn't think; probably it had flown into window and been stunned.

Friday April 10

It snowed overnight, probably for the last time this year.  When I woke up this morning there was a thin layer of white fluff covering everything.  It felt like X-Mas – though when I opened the front door to let the cat out I could hear birds singing.

The whole country is paralyzed, shut down, crashed.  And everything's so still.  The snow adds to it today, this blanket of stillness covering everything.  The birds are back though.  It's spring.