Week 1: State of Emergency
Pandemic announced worldwide. My coworkers and I discuss at work.
Kansas City announces state of emergency for the city. My coworkers and I discuss at work.
(**My day off, but also the first day of working from home- unknowingly. I haven’t been back to work since, and no one knows when we will go back.)
Have a mild sore throat, and let my friend know. We cancel a planned wine and game night that night, because she has two twins that fall within the at risk category during this pandemic. We had planned on celebrating Friday the 13th.
We have dinner with my family later that evening, and do not touch one another. My mom wipes down the door handle after we leave.
We hang out in the evening with some friends. We discuss the pandemic almost exclusively and mime hugs without touching one another.
We go for our regular weekend hike. We stop by Martin City Brewery on the way home. Today was supposed to be the city’s St. Patrick’s day parade, and it’s a big day for service workers to make money. The parade has been cancelled due to the virus. Waitstaff are still wearing beads and green shamrocks, but are obviously disappointed. While there are people at the brewery, there are also still empty tables, which has probably never been the case on the day of the parade. While there I get a call from my boss:
“So, the libraries are closing indefinitely today. But you will still get paid. Any questions? And would you like to be on an organized group chat with your coworkers to stay in contact?”
I tell her I have no questions, I’m very relieved we will still get a paycheck, and I opt in for the solidarity texting among coworkers during this strange time.
The last democratic debate is that night with just Sanders and Biden. The virus is the prominent topic. I feel that this is a time when chaos within “systems normal” shows exactly why true societal change is necessary. Medicaid/ healthcare for all no longer seems radical, student loan interests are being cancelled, and traditional values are being questioned. Maybe Sanders still has a shot to beat Biden in the primaries?
My boss sets up the coordinated group chat between our fellow coworkers where we share how we are spending our time.
Day one of working from home, and I’m starting to imagine social collapse is possible. Something I’ve kind of always dreamed about. Fuck capitalism, and all that. But at what cost?
Mutual aid groups start popping up around the city- neighbors taking care of neighbors- anarchism in practice.
Went to Costco, masks and gloves for many. After I loaded my groceries in my car, a man near me said he would take my cart. As I walked it toward him, he said, “PUSH IT, PUSH IT!” he didn’t want me near him. New world.
Later… all restaurants and bars become “take out only” at midnight, by city mandate. We went to our home pub and toasted to the end of socializing for awhile with strangers. Tipped the wait staff well and helped them use up their perishable vegetables by purchasing my favorite veggie stromboli.
We start our “COVID creative coping” youtube channel- tune in for daily content during the pandemic:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAO1Y3E8RzQeCOySdizeSbQ
Took advantage of this time out of the office and stopped wearing deodorant for the time being. I take fenugreek seeds daily now and will have maple syrup smelling armpits for the remainder of this pandemic.
Went for a walk with friends around 4 pm outside, my only outside activity/ social activity for the day. Friends did not want to come inside of our apartment. It will be interesting to see if their feelings get stronger about not being in contact with others, or less strong. Will this get scarier, or more boring for the general population?
After the walk, I spoke to neighbors out on their porches and met a fellow OCD sufferer with the exact same OCD symptoms as me. Feel super understood. We are both thankful this pandemic is not triggering our particular OCD.
The governor of Kansas cancelled public schools for the semester. Of the stores that are still open, kids are hanging out with coloring books in the lobby while their parents still work. The governor of Missouri is still in denial this is happening. There is no federal direction/ decisions being made. Cities and states are making all the calls independently in the US.
New York City, where the largest outbreak is, is considering a shelter in place order similar to Oakland/ San Francisco. There is a power struggle with the mayor of NYC/ the governor of NY going on right now though, so we will see what happens. Today is kind of boring, wondering if all of this staying at home is necessary. But the number of cases have quickly doubled in the area in the past three days.
Testing locally for the virus is only allowed for the very at risk/ those in hospital beds.
Joined an online activist call to pressure governors to release all immigrants in US detention centers before mass deaths occur. Prisons/ detention centers do not provide germ-x due to the alcohol content, and inmates have to pay for overpriced soap at commissary. On top of that, the close quarters and lack of healthy meals or healthy lifestyles make many more than the general population at risk from this virus.
Day 4 of isolation: 9,400 cases of corona in the US.
My OCD is starting to ramp up a little bit due to the uncertainty surrounding all of this. Not worried about catching COVID, but I am worried about the same old shit I am worried about on my not as great days. I am pissed because I have been doing so much work on my OCD this year, and am going to have to find some way to still practice exposure therapy that does not involve crowds/ other people. Carp will get to be my germ bucket test subject. OCD support groups online/ anxiety support groups are telling people not to judge themselves and their symptoms during this time. A spike in anxiety is going to be inevitable, even for those without mental health concerns.
Additionally, my work sent out an email to all staff, telling people not to expect ultimate productively at this time. They said it’s okay to not get much done, as we are all adjusting to working at home. They stressed that people need to prioritize mental health over productivity — something I never thought a workplace under capitalism would say.
On the bright side, it looks like China succeeded in containing the outbreak, after struggling for 4 months with it. No one knows if it will pass quicker, or linger longer in the US due to our lax policies. It’s looking like it might be longer for us… but we have no idea. The “right to try” is being proposed federally.
Walked and bought “crowlers” after working from home all day, at the brewery we were the only people inside. Had to use the restroom, but decided that was probably frowned upon to use public restrooms at this time.
The bartender spoke little, and let us taste a few IPAs before buying. We were all obviously conscious of the pandemic, and so much was left unsaid, but was also said at the same time.
On the way home I listened to a podcast that quoted a doctor saying “The virus is patient, people aren’t”.
Carp and I talk on the back porch with our neighbors about the possibility of people getting bored with all of this, and thinking it’s fine now with the nice weather. Will restaurants rebel and open their door again in direct violation of city wide emergency mandates to keep closed? What would enforcement look like?
The entire state of California went into “shelter in place” lockdown today.
Later… Deaths in Italy surpassed those in China. The US is on track to follow Italy’s trajectory.
My bud Jess (currently in Oregon) and I finally start the podcast we have been talking about for a year titled “Clothing Optional, Tea Required”. Stay tuned for the first episode.
Day 5 of isolation
Finished week 1 of working from home! They are saying the height of this shit won’t hit for 6 weeks though. I am supposed to start working in the library again at my second job in April, as long as things don’t change course. The library is not open to the public though, only staff.
Getting books read, blog posts accomplished, started running again, and started a youtube channel and a podcast. Things I haven’t been able to do in a long time. Enjoying my time home very much, and trying to make the most of it daily.