Day 6 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Saturday, March 21, 2020Live to Blog from the Dog House

I dodged serious, probably life threatening, injury today from a banana. No, it wasn’t like the slipping-on-a- banana-peel-thing you’d see in a movie or on TV. (Has anyone ever really slipped on a banana peel like that? If you know someone who has, please let me know. I’ve always thought it was just a clownish pratfall.)

I’m not sure which of these was the culprit, but I’m sure it was one of them.

My run in with a banana was nothing like that. It was an airborne banana. Well, nearly airborne. Okay, it didn’t quite fly but it could have. And it might have if I hadn’t immediately apologized for the supposedly tasteless joke I made. Of course, I could have said to the banana thrower, “Geez, some people just can’t take a joke,” but I’m sure that would have really required me to actually dodge a flying banana.

In fact, the concept of a “tasteless joke” is really in the eye of the beholder. You be the judge.

It all started early this morning when I volunteered to dodge the coronavirus to pick up a few groceries at the store. I left with Clemencia’s shopping list in hand. Remarkably, I found almost everything on the list at Aldi and Shopper’s – except toilet paper of course. We don’t actually need any but, hey, since I was out shopping I may as well see if there is any, right? Only being prudent. As an aside, I was really impressed with how decently people treated one another today. Everyone kept an appropriate “social distance.” People were polite and gracious – except for one moment at Aldi when one pallet of toilet paper magically appeared. It was all gone in 2.578 seconds.

Upon returning home and carrying all of the groceries up four flights of stairs (with the help of our building’s elevator), Clemencia undertook the task of putting away the groceries while I returned to my car to retrieve my coffee mug. On the way back upstairs, I had a great idea for a little joke to play on her. (Now, for a little bit of context. Once or twice each day we take our temperature as a way of monitoring for early indications of COVID-19. I usually take mine when I first get up in the morning and again early in the evening.)

I returned with my mug, walked into the kitchen, and our conversation went, more or less, like this:

  • Me (with a solemn, slightly fearful, expression on my face): “I didn’t want to tell you this until I had been able to pick up these groceries and make sure we were well stocked. I took my temperature this morning and it wasn’t normal.”
  • Clemencia (with a look of horror on her face): “What? What do you mean? How high was it?”
  • Me: “Well, it, uh, it was a little low – 98.5.” (Followed by a really big grin on my face.)

Thank God she was unpacking the bananas at that moment and not the cans of beans. Still, as soon as she raised the banana, I immediately apologized and avoided the near certainty of banana puree on my face.

Now, really, you be the judge. I thought that was a terribly clever joke. Obviously, Clemencia did not. In fact, she was sure it was in poor taste. (The bananas, however, were quite tasty. We each enjoyed one at lunch.)

Speaking of bad taste, a friend mentioned to me that her nephew told her of a new name for the coronavirus which may be going around. The name is informed by the risk it poses to older people of a certain generation. The name is “The Boomer Remover.” Okay, it is easier to say and, yes, it even sounds kind of funny, but…I…just…don’t…like it. On this one, I agree with Clemencia.

Me…thinning on top, fuzzy on the bottom. But not fungus.

Sock Offensive Update: I’m still wearing Bert (left sock) and Ernie (right sock) each day. It is now 5 days since I started wearing the same pair of socks daily. Not much has changed except I think the socks are beginning to look a little bit like me: thin on top and fuzzy at the bottom. Is that some kind of fungus? Maybe they are picking up some of my DNA?

Quaker Meeting on Zoom: Our Quaker meeting is having Meeting for Worship by Zoom tomorrow. It is a very good public health move in the age of COVID-19. Kudos to us for doing this! However, it could be a bit odd because we are “unprogrammed” Quakers. “Unprogrammed” doesn’t mean we don’t have a plan, though sometimes it does take us forever to make a plan. It means we don’t have a pastor or priest, or a liturgy, or music, or preaching, or the usual things that go with Protestant or Catholic worship. Unprogrammed Quakers (also known as Friends) have been meeting in “waiting worship” (which looks and sounds a lot like silent meditation) for nearly 400 years. Mostly, the only sound heard in a Meeting for Worship is when a member of the congregation is moved by the Spirit to rise and speak. (Well, not the only sound – sometimes there is gentle snoring from a Friend deep in waiting worship or the rumbling of a hungry tummy as noon approaches.) When we meet in our 200+ year old Meetinghouse, it is not uncommon to look around and see people across the room with heads bowed listening for the still, small voice of God. Sometimes no one speaks for the hour. Other times there may be many messages. But Meeting for Worship on Zoom…hmmm…we’ll be able see each other very up close and personal. I’m wondering how that will go. I’ll let you know.

It is the weekend and you may be making plans for next week already. If so, join us for the Virtual BYON Coffee Break/Happy Hour on Thursday, March 25th at 5:00 PM Eastern. Connection information on Zoom is below.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands and remember, please, the seriousness of this coronavirus outbreak. One week ago (March 14) there were 2,800 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. Today (March 24, as of 4:43 PM Eastern) there are 24,148 cases. This is 2,000 more than when I last checked at 1:43 PM and nearly 9 times higher than it was one week ago. Analysis of the growth of the virus in Wuhan, China indicated the number of cases would likely double every 6 days. If that were still true, we’d only be at about 6,000 today. The growth rate here in the U.S. is far exceeding that expectation. It is truly exponential. Today alone the U.S. has moved up two positions – from 6th to 4th – on the list of 167 countries with the virus. Only China, Italy, and Spain have more cases than us. This blog is intended only as a diversion, not a distraction. All of us need to remain engaged, mindful, and intent on doing everything we can to avoid spreading the virus.