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Quarantine Day #1

Actually it’s day three, but who the hell starts a plague diary then? This will be rougher than my usual verbiage. Nature, beast, etcetera.

How often do you come face to face with a time when nobody really knows what the world will look like in two weeks? Usually it has a predictable rhythm and form. A song you heard in your mother’s womb. Now we adapt. Improvise. We’re a jazz band making the walls hum in a dark basement club mismanaged by blind Republicans.

Spent the day at home, remotely connected to my PC at the agency, churning out a bunch of words for a bunch of clients in several industries. Every business now needs messaging.

Due to the crisis. Precautionary measures. Closing early. Closing today. Team working from home. Wash your hands. Maintain six feet of distance. Out of prudent concern. Sanitize. Hopefully temporary. Will keep you updated.

And spotty government messaging growing darker every day. Could last weeks. Months. Two years. Life as we know it. Stay in place. Stay inside. Hospital crisis. Respirator shortage. Market collapse.

A bud whose husband works at the local hospital said they got the first two confirmed cases today. It’s in our valley now. Thought about informing my coworkers on our instant messaging app, a little bubble of doom popping up on their screens, the two dozen of us strewn across the local landscape, but management keeps insisting that we display positivity (and other delusions). So I refrained.

I figured they’d hear the news soon enough.

An Instagram bud texted me from Rome. “The doctors are having to choose,” he said, “who lives and who dies.”

I was solid, nearly cocky, in the real recent past. I was gonna ride this fucker out. Social isolation? No sweat.

Three days later, and endless hours of writing and researching and seeing how this thing is gonna shut down nearly every industry across the planet, indefinitely, my toes peek over the abyss. Will our clients flee? Will I keep my job? My apartment? Where would I go? What would I eat? Could I feed my dog? Will I get a check from the government? How long could it possibly last me? How have six thousand hours of post-apocalyptic television left me so unprepared?

Also, as I’m learning, when it comes to the other virus, undetectable doesn’t mean unconcerned. Not way down deep, where the facts can’t touch. Will cross that bridge if needed. For now, I’m good.

The pandemic has stripped some parts from my rickety flying contraption of mental health. Gym closed. AA meetings shunned. My shrink wants to Skype. I had a mild panic attack this morning, realizing I might go months without a tight fade from the barber. First world problem? Fuck no, dude. Life or death.

As a veteran introvert I can handle the seclusion better than most, maybe, but I know from experience that it can take a toll, how far you can burrow into your own brain when there’s nobody nearby to crack the window. Smooth Operator is trapped in a hotel in Chicago following the death of his dad. We FaceTime every day, more than once, usually. Keep cracking each other up to keep from cracking up.

Single, alone in my joint save for an 8-pound chihuahua, I can’t stop thinking about the thing I can’t have–casual fucking. What will we become, if we go months untouched? It can’t be done. I’m guessing dudes across the planet will slip out and brave death for the relief and oblivion found in a fuck. For the reminder that you’re worth touching.

Rocky terrain at the edge of a cliff. Best to stay in the day, breathe, and chat with the chihuahua.

I feel a bit better, writing shit down.

I saw a video today of two quarantined musicians in Barcelona, serenading the city below their balconies. Applause rang out from the surrounding windows. Beauty and human connection still possible, maybe, if we try hard enough. Can you hear this tune I’m singing?

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