BTW: Milestones!

This is my 502nd post. I got this last week

And this the week before…

So it’s been a big month for me on WordPress.

But in realizing I forgot to post about said milestones, I was also surprised at how people find my blog. Even when – no, especially when I’m idle for a while. In checking my stats after posting about the odd things I collect, I noticed a bunch of clicks on old posts.

Like really old.

Turns out, some of them were the result of the following search prompts:

I don’t know if that’s all three clicks from whomever in Japan or maybe it is a combination of the two clicks from the U.S. and the U.K. Who knows, really? I do know it wasn’t the Aussie clicks, I know who that shy guy is. He doesn’t come around enough, but when he does, I’m glad to see him. 😉

Anyway, I am tempted to recreate that search – on Google and Yahoo, since I was reached through searches on both. I want to see just how many pages I have to scroll through before my blog pops up.

I’m assuming the full search term was:

Welcome to Oregon, don’t stay

At the end of the day, it’s been a great ride.

Out of those 502 posts, I collated several into a self-publishing practice book

Which wouldn’t have been possible without this blog and the confidence you readers have helped me develop while finding my voice. I’m a sloppy writer, preferring the title Storyteller over Author, but I’ve been fortunate enough to to create two books around the characters I’ve created and have a third in the works right now.

I’ve learned quite a lot along the way – and saved hundreds of hours in therapy – thanks to this blog.

And, mostly, thanks to the followers. I’m grateful for you.

BTW: Milestones!

Weird Accumulations

Do you ever look around your home and think to yourself, “I got some weird shit around here”?

No?

Just me?

I really do doubt I’m alone in this. However, as I have begun looking at my place with a more critical eye, things are jumping out at me.

Not a more critical eye…maybe more of a “What if?” eye.

Y’know…what if I died?

Ok, yeah. I’m pretty sure that one is just me. But the end result is I’m cleaning house a bit. A couple of disclaimers first:

  1. My home exists suspended in the moments following Thanos’ snap. Do not judge my inability to keep up with that level of dusting.
  2. I’ve typically been a purger throughout my fagabond (Chrisism) adult life.
  • That being said, aside from clothes I can no longer fit into nor emotionally part with yet, most of my clutter is just minutia. But I think that’s what will make whoever clears out the physical wake of my existence scratch a hole right into their head.
  • In no particular order, here is my crazy:
  • Random Coinage:
  • I have no idea where some of these are from. Whether I brought them home during my travels or picked them up as loose change without realizing I’d been given foreign currency until the CoinStar rejected it. But I’ve got them if I need them.

    Match Books:

    Some of these have moved with me to multiple residences, if not even multiple states. The Ripples matchbook has been to Florida, Texas, back to Cali, Oregon, Washington and then back to Oregon. They are scattered throughout my home. As a matter of fact, I got those Quark matches in Las Vegas at…Quark’s, the restaurant inside Star Trek: The Experience. I bought a box of them back in…2001? There is a book of Quark’s matches in every room.

    Still.

    Wine Corks:

    Because – duh.

    Keys:

    Three of those are currently in use. Two others are for my Key Buddy.

    I have at least three house keys from former residences as well as three more from people’s homes that I used to be either a Key Buddy for or a dog walking pinch hitter for – or both.

    Nuts & Bolts:

    Ok, I keep these around as both objets as well as mementos. But back in 90s LA, we used to have our own version of the 70s Key Parties. We called them Nut & Bolt Parties and that’s all I’m saying about them.

    Fortune Cookie Fortunes:

    I have no explanation. Other than the obvious:

    Ticket Stubs:

    Hey, the memory is going…

    And…honorable mention – which you may have noticed in a few pics above:

    Fingernail Clippers!

    I don’t have a set in every room, but I think the several I have in random jacket pockets hanging in my closet makes my per room average about 2 – and that’s including my car as a “room”.

    So…what crazy shit do you accumulate?

    Weird Accumulations

    The Last Coronavirus Death

    I look forward to being able to see all of this Coronavirus hullabaloo in our collective rear-view mirror. It can’t happen soon enough.

    But I think it’s important to acknowledge that if I survive this, then I feel I owe you all a warning of what’s to come.

    Coronavirus-related causes of death.

    For instance, the people who fail to appropriately recognize my weight loss accomplishments during these trying times…

    This is from Tuesday* and I’m still feeling it today. Yesterday was a rest day and today is supposed to be a stretching and urban hike day. However, the weather is so nice in Portland, I’m afraid there will be more people out than I want to risk encountering.

    So…maybe more stairs, but my poor little chicken legs…

    We’ll see.

    *proper names of days of the week are estimated based solely on my best guess. I truly have no idea what day it is without checking.

    The Last Coronavirus Death

    Does This K Make Me Look Fat?

    I’d forgotten about this…achievement with everything else going on.

    Maybe that means I’m losing my competitive edge not being around other people. One thing I’ve noticed, having indulged in video chats with family and friends lately – ok, sure…I call them Virtual Happy Hours, but let’s call that Social Distancing Lubrication – is that we have to wait our turn to talk.

    Tech limitations being what they are – or maybe my laptop is old – the speaker/microphone tend to be something of a one trick pony. If you’re talking, you can’t hear, so if you want an actual conversation, you have to actually stop and listen.

    Bad news for these people who say they can do both, all they’re gonna be “hearing” while they talk over someone else is themselves.

    Perhaps that’s truly their deep-seeded happy place. Maybe now is when they’ll realize it. Or maybe they will realize it and come out of this better – actual – conversationalists.

    For my part, someone bothers to set up a VHH and then pulls that with me, I’ll turn the screen toward my sink and let them watch me drink wine and wash dishes while they conversationally masturbate.

    Now…what was I talking about?

    Oh, yes. Competitive edge.

    Soon after I started driving with Lyft last summer, I became aware of the fact that Lyft was a sponsor for Portland’s MLS team, the Timbers.

    It’s kind of a big deal around here.

    I noticed this when they ran a story on their blog about sending a featured driver to the match as a form of recognition. That sounded cool. I have actually never been to a match – they are harder to get into than Elton John’s post-Oscar party and I can easily drink better expensive beer elsewhere, so…<shrug emoji>

    But this sounded kinda like just my type of goofy fun.

    Then I read the present featured driver had 5000 rides and a 5-star rating.

    Ok, well, it seemed like I was gonna be logging a few miles before I got to his level. Plus, I’m aware that I can come off as quite a unit when I get going about something, so wasn’t expecting to maintain a 5-star rating long.

    Don’t even talk to me about that 98% Acceptance Rate. Sore subject…

    But, now you see the “K” I was referring to in the post title.

    It really only took about 7 months, and that’s driving ~25 hours a week. Of course, I should have hit it a couple weeks earlier…thanks, Coronavirus.

    An unexpected perk – and another way Lyft builds in recognition in their be-your-own-boss work environment is to award swag when you hit milestones. However, since my swag threshold kinda peaks at “sticker”, I didn’t pay much attention to this accomplishment/reward. My experience is that branded merch is pretty schlocky, so I tune it out.

    Not that I was ever a smoker, but remember those jackets you could redeem your “points” for from cigarette brands like Marlboro or Camel? Yeah, that’s the image I have of employer branded clothing.

    So, when I checked my PO Box yesterday and found a key to a package locker, I was completely surprised.

    Even more surprised at how surprised I was that I forgot something like this.

    I don’t know why that would have surprised me at all.

    But it was a cute little experience, taking this package home and being surprised again and again and again at the level of care they seemed to put into sending me this little moment of recognition in a fairly anonymous work environment.

    Seriously, that’s the inside of the lid. There was a note that was printed in a hand-written font by someone with an easy to make dirty name – think “Mulva” or “Bipple” – so I didn’t put that on blast here. The jacket itself was wrapped in a silver tissue with a 1K sticker holding it closed.

    Really, all this for a jacket I won’t wear?”

    But the last surprise – ok, second to last – was that I found the damn thing to be not only my style, but tastefully done, too!

    Nothing too garish. A current tech fabric style.

    Nice.

    Oh, and that last surprise?

    It fit.

    I asked for a Large, aspirationally. I’ll reluctantly admit that I’ve been apathetically resigned to XL lately, and they just do not fit my frame well.

    Luckily, iSolation has provided me with no excuses to procrastinate exercise lately, so my Large closet is getting less of a stretch lately, and this fit. Well, the arms are almost too short, which is normal for my gangly assed frame.

    So, call this grumpy old man pleasantly surprised.

    Plus, Myrt got something out of it, too.

    For all those times dinner was late because I was driving…

    Now, if I ever get back to driving, I can work on those Timbers tickets!

    Does This K Make Me Look Fat?

    We Need A Flood

    You’d think a little forced iSolation would be just the thing to keep an old grump like me happy. Or at least quiet.

    But, no. Even in the end times, I can find something to kvetch about.

    Ok, ok…somethings.

    At least I had to put more effort into it this time than simply opening the Facebook like the last time I aired out a good ire here on WordPress.

    This time, I had to go all the way to Gross Out to write off the chances for humanity.

    Hey, I heard there was a wine sale.

    I had to get up and go out, anyway. The Silver Fox had snuck back into town to clean out his remaining supplies and thought he’d forgotten a bag on the counter. Turns out, he’d forgotten to pack the bag, which gave us both a good chuckle.

    He’d lured me out by innocently mentioning crackers – not knowing I’d been craving them. For my efforts, I Kramer-ed said crackers and tipped myself his pesto.

    So, now in addition to wine, I needed some cheese. Don’t worry, mom…I was also out of broccoli and salad kits and had those on my list, too.

    As if the disappointment of arriving and seeing no wine sale signs wasn’t enough, the other shoppers were apparently willing to bend over backward to drive my regret home.

    It all started out so promising, too. They had set up a DeCon station outside for people to wipe down their carts before beginning. Even though there was a cute guy there doing just that, I grabbed my cart by the horns and went right in without lingering.

    I think I already mentioned how easy it is to screw up DeCon, so I make my concessions for cleanliness and accept the risk of going out during a pandemic. Also, I made a mental note to observe this guy shopping. Sure enough, no gloves and no wipes inside.

    But he put on a good show of Pandemic Correctness and was easy enough on the old peepers.

    Aside from the DeCon set up outside, I was impressed that Gross Out was taking Social Distancing seriously and had laid down directional arrows to make aisles one-way. That effort reduced the amount of passing traffic in the aisles, making it easier to have a 6 foot space between shoppers.

    Or should have.

    Fucking idiots.

    Like, if they put some effort into their cluelessness, they could reach the level of disdain I generally have for the garden variety stupid Americans our country churns out…folks who aren’t really dumb, just oblivious.

    As I’ve observed on many occasions in the past, though,

    There is no bar so low that an American can’t climb under it.

    That needs to be on the Statue of Liberty. New Colossus can find a new home.

    Fine.

    New Colossus can stay, but I should at least get billboards for my slogan.

    Or needlepoint pillows…

    Anyway, the jokers I was shopping with were ignorantly pointing their carts whichever direction they pleased, arrows be damned. Then they were standing around talking.

    With the people in their shopping group. I looked at them like, “Can’t you talk in the car on the way home?” Or at least talk and walk?

    No.

    For the solo shoppers randomly careening through the market, I considered offering them the opportunity to lick me in order to truly avail themselves to my available germs, but decided against it.

    I did allow myself a couple opportunities to glare at oncoming shoppers and then look pointedly at the nearest floor arrow before getting out of the way of some of my fellow shoppers.

    That’s when it hit me.

    These people oblivious to the establishment’s efforts to protect their customers (from themselves, as it turns out) were the same customers that were wearing gloves and masks. I even saw one person wearing protective goggles.

    I knew goggle-guy was just a stupid American and not a weird Portland denizen because they weren’t ski goggles.

    Surely, these numbskulls weren’t all symptomatic and venturing out. No, they knew. Like some kind of Hillbilly Scout Troop had taught them to prepare for people dumber than themselves.

    So, there I was, suddenly feeling vulnerable to all these people who protected themselves from others with the same uncommon sense as their own.

    That’s when I thought a plague from a vengeful god wasn’t enough. We needed a flood.

    These yahoos might be able to hoard handiwipes and masks, but let’s see how long their lawn chair flotilla protects them from raging floodwaters.

    Actually, I’d probably be taking gulps – at least of wine – if a flood came. I bought enough groceries for 10 days – although I’m not sure how my wine stock will hold out – so I don’t have to venture back too soon. By the way, that’s about 10x what I normally buy when I go to the store…

    I also bought myself a little dessert treat, since I’d been craving chocolate cake lately.

    If I learned anything from Zombieland, it’s to enjoy the little pleasures – preferably one with a long shelf life. Sadly, the $5 bottle of wine I bought was one of the tastiest red blends I’ve had in a while…regretting not picking up a couple more.

    And just to end on a fun note, here’s a little quarantine meme for yas.

    We Need A Flood

    Since I’m Trapped In Bed…

    My mind – on the few occasions that it has been able recently – has punctuated my leaving my building with the opening lyrics to U2’s New Years Day.

    I push through the outer lobby door into the great, empty quiet and my volunteer mind just starts unbidden

    🎼All is quiet, on🎼

    …and then my active mind finishes with “today. All is quiet on today.”

    I can even indulge my innate weirdness and finish the thought aloud, since…what are the odds I’m overheard?

    So, as I’m trapped beneath my own inertia and only nearly finished cup of coffee in bed this morning, I take to the Insta.

    The ‘gram does not disappoint, putting this before my eyes

    Now, it seems @DrMabuse2009 may not share the same appreciation of U2 as I. Or he does, and just knows a funny drop-in when he sees the chance.

    Either way, I appreciate both: good music and legit pith.

    Plus, U2 does kind of keep on putting themselves out there, so I suspect they are none the worse for the unsolicited pop critiques.

    It reminds me of the old U2 joke:

    They were performing in Ireland and at the end of one song, as the crowd was clapping its appreciation, Bono ordered the lights down and continued a slow rhythmic clap as the crowd grew silent.

    Clap.

    Beat.

    Clap.

    Beat.

    Clap.

    Beat.

    This goes on – undoubtedly while the crew did crew things in the dark and the rest of the band took a hit or a leak or something.

    Because, why wouldn’t I try to fill in the negative space in a joke?

    Anyhoo

    Eventually, Bono starts talking.

    “Every time”

    Clap.

    “I clap my hands”

    Clap.

    “A child in Africa”

    Clap.

    “Dies of starvation”

    Clap.

    Beat.

    Clap.

    Beat.

    Cl-

    “Well, quit fookin’ doin’ it, then!” comes a shout from the darkness.

    Anyway…apparently, there’s new U2 music for those who are so inclined. Basically, anyone who didn’t switch from Apple to Android back when my fake former classmate, Tim Cook, gifted an automatic upload of a U2 album to everyone’s iTunes account.

    Since I’m Trapped In Bed…

    Patience: Zero

    This made me think a lot more than it should have.

    Sadly, I spent a lot of that thought trying to think myself out of that response. Additionally, I think truly wise humans are patient. I am not even pretending to elevate myself to the level of a patient person.

    Case in point, when I posted yesterday’s blog there was a quote about arguing with stupid people lurking just outside my consciousness. I could feel it out there, but no matter how hard I squinted at the dark edges of my mind…I just couldn’t make it out.

    A fellow blogger lit a match in the comments, reminding me of my search. But, true to my impatient form, I was done with it, so I manipulatively told him that I knew he’d know the quote I had been trying to recall.

    Now, he – being not only wiser than I, but more patient as well – refused to bite. Instead, giving me just a little more illumination so that I could find it myself.

    So when I saw BreitBarb’s tweet this morning about these stupid Americans that seemingly can’t spell while using technology in 2020…well, the shortcoming seemed obvious to me.

    I think people are smart enough to know that a dotted red line is a literal red flag. They choose to ignore it.

    Then again, I’d also think that somehow, someone during that whole “someone ate a bat in China*” thing and caused Coronavirus would have thought, “I probably shouldn’t serve that” or “eat that” or what-have-you.

    Now, unlike a certain senator from Texas, I’m going to go ahead and say, ok…culture. Admit that I can’t fathom the custom, regardless of how much effort I put into it – the perks of being a picky eater. Then walk away, lest I embolden or be perceived as racist.

    China’s approach, on the other hand, was to drop new legislation from its fake capital Kibosh, stopping the custom. This effectively gutted what I gather to be a $72 billion annual industry for China. But prioritizing science over culture or custom, China demonstrated concern for not only its population, but the world overall and stopped the root cause of this outbreak once and for all.

    And we can’t even get Americans to capitulate on spellcheck. No wonder Portland is on track to be the new Palm Springs.

    I’ve no doubt our stupid American indulging country will trip over itself to fill the void left by China and crown itself “the best” yet again as it finds a way to start churning out future Patients Zero.

    Someone has to do it.

    Plus – I mean – hedging ones bets is the smart thing to do, right? We can’t put all our world annihilation eggs in one basket – best to diversify and make sure we pick up that literal pandemic torch that China seems to be dropping.

    China – Rituals and customs that put world health at risk should be changed.

    Probably the US – Hold our beer.

    * I have – in case it isn’t completely obvious – drastically dumbed down the path CoV-2 took from Horseshoe Bat in a backwater China community to the present human virus causing the global COVID-19 pandemic – is saying global and pandemic redundant? Anyway, the exact path from one species to another is presently unknown.

    Not that Trump supporters and climate change deniers would accept scientific fact as proof of anything.

    But!

    If you can activate their racism triggers – an easy enough endeavor, it seems – then they’ll believe anything. Ergo: this started in China when some guy ate a bat.

    Obviously.

    Patience: Zero

    Hey, Hippocrates

    Well, I’m sure he never foresaw a future of social media connecting us all. If he had, do you think he would have weighed in?

    Instead of “First, do no harm” do you think we would have gotten something like

    First, educate thine dumb ass

    I thought about sprinkling in a few literallys and figurativelys to that fake quote, but there’s already enough confusion in the world.

    Case in point, I’m just wrapping up a 24 hour Facebook detox, and considering another 24 hours.

    The impetus?

    Not one, but two lengthy comment-versations with a former co-worker about posts they made about both COVID-19 and the economic stimulus package that was working its way through Congress. The biggest challenge here has been weighing my natural desire to “get the last word” versus attempting to help her – I knew I’d blow the gender neutral identity thing sooner or later, so I just abandoned it – understand how dangerous it is to spread inaccurate information.

    Fortunately, her friends and followers were there to jump in and start calling me names in order to provide a perfect (and perfectly missed) illustration of my point.

    One of the points I took issue with was her assertion that the economic bailout was going to provide $750B in aid to some industry – airline or auto is what’s coming to mind, and I really think it was airlines…but I am still restricting myself access to FB so I can’t verify – on top of their prior and unpaid bailout of…$750B from the 2008 economic crisis.

    I mean, you see why I have a problem with this, right?

    Just to be clear, I’m not out to call anyone stupid. My point has been to share my knowledge and reason with others. Maybe (definitely) I’m not 💯 right 💯 percent of the time, but I try to live up to my friend BreitBarb’s point that we’re all entitled to our “informed opinion”, particularly when it comes to important things like health and welfare.

    Or the politicization of either.

    Here’s the deal, even with generous up or down rounding, $750 billion just isn’t an historic bailout number. The closest I can come is the 2008 financial sector bailout. But that was ~$810B all tolled.

    Sidebar: Told?

    I dunno, I think the most recent information I have seen on that expression came down on the “told” side, but I’m talking math, so “tolled” as a synonym for “tallied” makes sense.

    This data is all from doing research I told her I wasn’t going to do because my point wasn’t me being right, it was her being inaccurate. The closest I came before shutting down my FB and walking away was just offering the potential that she had meant millions instead of billions.

    But since I wasn’t killing my quaran-time on the Facebook, I started thinking about writing projects and ended up here. Obviously, this is merely a procrastination technique to avoid working on my non-fiction project that needs editing. Still, my blog also provides a type of therapy, so at least it’s partially productive procrastination.

    Here’s what I found – and I really kind of focused on airlines, so…allow me that and bear with me.

    20-Now

    2001

    Obviously, neither equals $750 billion by a long fucking shot. That 2001 airline bailout was even adjusted to 2008 dollars, which is when the article was published.

    Key point: the source of the 2001 bailout was ProPublica – which is decidedly not Fox News or FB click-bait, so definitely not a valid source of information as far as my friend is concerned.

    Basically, in addition to spreading unverified inaccurate information, my former colleague is also unwilling to retract or delete this info. Her best concession basically amounted to a “Yeah, but…” and what we really don’t need while were fighting a virus on a national level is to simultaneously be fighting a case of the yeahbuts.

    Interestingly, my reason for clicking on her thread was because – knowing her political leaning – I really wanted to know where she came down on the bailout versus my own thoughts. I just never expected her to add in such wrongness voluntarily.

    My issue with the bailout had been how it seemed unfairly weighted in favor of big business over small. As a Portlander, I value my community’s small businesses that help maintain the quirky Portland vibe. Saving them is my focus, so seeing big biz allocated $500B (see? still not $750B) in this package and small biz only allocated $350B seemed unfair. Particularly after the big biz bailout in 2008.

    She never really addressed that opinion of mine. She was very busy agreeing that yes, small business needs help but then moved on to how big business – airline or automotive – never paid paid back the 2008 bailout, Obama ruined the healthcare options her special needs son had available to him and that student loan debt should never be forgiven. With nothing but vitriol to support her rant.

    I don’t know much about big business not paying their prior stimulus packages back – I actually thought they were pretty good about that, but that’s just a recollection – but I did point out that paid back or not, having used so much of their profits on stock buybacks in the past years de-merited their request for aid now and should move small business to the top of the bailout priority heap. If big business had saved the profits they reinvested in their own stock for a rainy day, maybe they wouldn’t need so much assistance now.

    I’m betting that buyback strategy helped minimize their tax burden, but I’m not googling that, so take it as an opinion only. Still, Bloomberg said…

    I left the thread thinking that for the day, we’d managed to agree on two things she posted and wildly disagree on two others. But those two things we agreed on were inconsequential topics, like “water is wet”. My other thought was my complete understanding as to why she thinks college debt is unworthy of bailout or forgiveness.

    She as much as said that people with degrees go on to earn a bunch of money so they could pay their damn bills. Which is interesting given her qualified support of bailing out big business.

    My counterpoint was to concede that I partially understood where she was coming from in regards to student loan debt. However, not all degree program careers have the financial return she was projecting upon them.

    My example: teachers.

    I’d have thought that – having a special needs son – she would agree with the low pay teachers suffer through after taking on not only Bachelor level degree debt, but in many cases advanced degrees in order to specialize in fields like special needs.

    Nah.

    After all, if you allow your position to show cracks in its foundation, it’s as good as being wrong. Then the liberals win. Because that’s – I gather – how irrational thinking versus critical thinking works.

    Because: game, set and match! Because, because, because!

    All the while, I’m thinking I should just unfriend her. Arguing with myself about it, actually. But she’s not a bad person. Quite the opposite. She’s quite nice. Just culturally trained to support dogma instead of disposed – through education in disciplines like science and math – to think critically about information she’s presented and arrive at that informed opinion BreitBarb champions.

    Flash backward a couple of days to me in isolation watching Instagram stories. A local business owner – and I’m sure in his own mind, influencer – had posted a story about he and his wife taking an outing for grocery supplies.

    This was after a story featuring his dog in a diaper running around awkwardly, captioned with an equally awkward “someone’s first period”. Ok, a) probably get your damn dog fixed; and b) if you’re a man, maybe err on the side of never discussing a woman’s reproductive issue publicly. I mean, would you put your daughter’s first period on blast like that?

    But, back to grocery shopping!

    What could possibly go wrong there, right?

    I mean, seriously…not much. Supportive of communicating best practices here in the quaran-times, I am.

    My opinion is two-fold: the first is snarky historical Xtopher-ness. Twenty or so years back, even before anti-vaxxers, I posited that hand sanitizer was taking the place of hand washing and shouldn’t. I also tossed out how too much use of hand sanitizer would probably just erode our body’s natural process of developing immunities naturally.

    Not that I’m saying this situation would have been prevented. I’m just qualifying – or indicting – my own stance on potentially overcorrecting behaviors.

    Case in point:

    I watched a clip of he and his wife entering the store with handiwipes and gloves.

    I saw a video of them arriving home and setting up a decon area on their back porch. That everything in packages should be wiped down with bleach outside before being tossed inside to the clean area.

    Having a “clean hand” and a “dirty hand” for unpacking and handling the groceries once the decon area is established. If you cook, think of how you dredge things before frying them: wet hand, dry hand. If you don’t cook, you’re probably going to die of starvation or malnutrition anyway, so…

    I saw them take off their outside shoes before entering the house.

    They talked about washing veggies.

    I mean, top level…not bad information. My inner-germaphobe appreciated that they were trying to spread good knowledge.

    Then my inner germaphobe got into a fight with my recreational hypochondriac.

    What about their outside clothes? Can’t germs live on clothes as easily as the bottom of a shoe?

    I mean, I’m a little germaphobic, but I still wear my shoes inside. Hell, I’m even laying down on the all weather carpet in my building’s hallway to do crunches during my isolation workouts – I don’t post them on Instagram, but I’m still doing them! – so this shoes off/clothes off/shower germs off approach to leaving and re-entering ones home is overkill unless you’re coming from a hospital.

    In.

    My.

    Non-expert.

    Opinion.

    That controversy aside, I worried when I saw him demonstrate bringing things into the house that have inner packages.

    Think boxes of microwave popcorn.

    He specifically mentioned this separate from his “wipe everything down outside” segment because the inner packaging hadn’t been exposed to any contaminants recently. Sure, maybe a worker in the plant it was packaged in had been exposed and/or symptomatic, but that was long enough ago to safely assume any virus in it would now be dead. His videos were to combat bringing live outside germs inside due to recent handling by other potential carriers-slash-shoppers.

    Ok. Sure.

    Back to inner packages.

    We’re going to take them out of the exterior packaging, leave the outer packaging outside and bring the safe, germ-free-ish inner packages into our kitchen.

    I’m onboard with what he’s saying.

    Not, however, with what he’s doing.

    I watch him reach outside and pick up the popcorn box from the decon area, open it and toss the three cello-wrapped snack bags onto his kitchen island.

    Got it. Ok. Except

    No gloves.

    Not that gloves or not is the issue here. Try and open a box of microwave popcorn – while holding it – with one hand. He couldn’t. I watched him use both hands, and since he specifically said he wasn’t bleaching the outer package because he was leaving it outside, gloves or bare handed handling became moot. If he didn’t bleach the outer package, he transferred germs onto the inner package after handling the outer packaging with both hands.

    Just kidding, but I think where this virus is concerned, we’re all wearing red shirts, IYGMD.

    Regardless of my assumptions as to whether he really did wipe down the outer package before filming this segment or whether we’re assuming worst case scenario germs where none likely exist…the thing that worries me here is the assumption people like my Facebook friend will make.

    That I saw it on the internet and therefore it’s a fact.

    Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 and certainly do not employ any critical thinking to assess the factual-ness of what you just saw.

    Plus, rules are for other people, I don’t have to wash my hands because my junk ain’t dirty because I showered today, I’m not sick so I can go outside or visit grandma since she’s lonely…

    We aren’t all going to die.

    But some of us will – a larger number than you or I are probably <cough,cough> Spanish Flu! <cough> willing to consider.

    My only certainty in these uncertain times?

    Stupid Americans notwithstanding: stupidity is a constant in the universe.

    Stay inside, wash your hands and first, do no harm.

    Hey, Hippocrates

    COVIDness

    COFITness?

    How do you properly portmanteau COVID and fitness? Regardless, I should probably emphasize the “co” since what motivated me today was my obnoxiously fit friend’s – Filipina Fox – Instagram post yesterday.

    Not mad, jealous.

    She took a page out of my home workout book from back when I was obnoxiously fit. When I was living in Seattle, my condo was in the top floor of a 13 floor building.

    See also: How to not make money in Seattle real estate – buy on the 13th floor and laugh about it.

    Anyway, my home routine included running stairs. Including the basement flight, my route from 13-LL was 1/10 of a mile and I used to knock out a mile or two a few times a week when the weather was shitty.

    Usually before catching a car to a bar.

    Party-orities.

    I’d been thinking about doing some what-I-call-running of the stairs in my building during quarantine, but have been expertly procrastinating. Not (only) because I’m lazy, but I started quarantine off with some reasonable exercise – starting with a couple of long walks in the early days followed by a HIIT home workout and a two mile hike later in the week.

    Except

    After that HIIT/hike day, I found myself sore. Just a reasonable soreness on day two, prompting me to reason, “Give yourself another day to fully repair and then get back to it on day three.

    Except: part deux…

    I was more sore on the third day after my work out. Clearly, I needed another day to get my next level procrastination excuses up and running.

    Filipina Fox posted her workout story yesterday on day four of my HIIT/hike workout.

    This morning, I woke up to a shame double-whammy. First, the traitorous Facebook:

    Yeah, five years ago I could eat a 5 lb tub of licorice. At least, that’s what I tell myself these days.

    Then the Filipina Fox has to chip in helpfully with this pro-tip:

    Already knowing I was doing this, I playfully demurred hoping she would not have any of my resistance. Riding to the call, she fully enabled:

    But I still felt I could balance the reward with a little exercise. I’ve got a decade plus on Filipina Fox, so I thought that afforded me the option to adjust my workout down by a magnitude or two.

    But it was also a HIIT/stair workout, so there were six upper body supersets mixed in between each six floor stair circuit.

    Forget COVID-19, I’m making this quarantine about CoFit-20!

    Also, about pizza, beer and now licorice!

    COVIDness

    Oh…Hello, Darkness

    My old frenemy.

    I know this will shock you, but someone out morosed me yesterday.

    Even worse, it was a healthcare professional that I was giving a Lyft to work.

    Between the story I’m gonna tell you and another story about a nurse I took to work last week – and I swear I wrote about it, but heck if I can find it now. Anyway, that nurse was telling me that her local bar – one I’m familiar with – was planning to stay open for regulars during the forced shut down.

    And she wasn’t just ok with that irresponsible decision, she was excited about it.

    So, yeah…between that bad decision maker and the nihilist I’m gonna tell you about – well, I needed a day off. Just a lil time to restore my faith in the medical professionals I’m encountering.

    Ok, enough foreplay.

    For the first time in what seems like months, I got a ride call to a hotel. I’m sure it’s just been weeks two to be exact – but that’s still a long time in Lyft Land. Sure enough, I pull up and there’s a guy standing outside with luggage.

    Yes!

    Again!

    I’ve been wrong a lot lately.

    No, this healthcare professional was going out to Hillsboro to do some training. Ok, that’s still a long ass ride, which takes some of the sting out of being wrong. But given ride traffic being down so much, I wasn’t as optimistic about my prospects for a return ride as I’d have been with an airport run.

    Regardless, none of that’s the point. Geez…I’m really having a tough time starting this story.

    <deep breath>

    Ok, so he brought this up.

    I merely told him that I was glad to be able to help folks in the healthcare field get to and sometimes from work in the current environment. Maybe I followed that up with a probe about what he does, and then he was off and running.

    Turns out, he’d just hired 40 nurses for his company.

    Forty!

    I asked if they were going to be working three 12s, which seems pretty standard for the nurses in Oregon. Just conversational, low impact chit-chat.

    He confirmed that, but also said that they’d probably be working six day weeks instead of three simply due to the current situation.

    Made sense to me.

    My mind wandered to the last time I talked work weeks with a nurse and how he was working six 12s…pre-COVID-19. I tune back in and this guy is talking about how these 40 nurses will make more in the next eight to 12 weeks than they did last year.

    I’ll take “Things I Can’t Say” for $500, Alex.

    He was talking in the neighborhood of $5000 a week. Somehow, while that was spinning bitterly through my mind, he moved on.

    I tune in around the time he’s talking about how at some point, we’re going to have to start changing our mindset about old people.

    “Sorry?”

    Oh, it’s just that between not having enough respirators to treat all of the COVID patients that we will end up having and the length of time we will have to actually isolate in order to let the virus die out organically…old people are going to be impossible to protect.

    Usually, I keep both hands on the wheel when I’m driving. Passengers actually comment on it, which makes me mad at other drivers. But I literally took one hand off the wheel and casually pinched myself on the leg.

    Awake.

    Although, in the “believe it or not” category, I’d have surely chosen not awake.

    I suggest that we can surely protect our Oldie Hawns with isolation for two or three weeks. He agrees, but then counters with, “But not four or six or twelve weeks, which is a more likely timeframe.”

    On top of that bombshell, he points out that regardless of our commitment to protect them with private shopping hours or cloistering old folks homes or doing no-contact supply drops at their homes; younger people will not tolerate longer isolation.

    They will break the rules. There’s going to be cheating. And they’ll look at it like speeding – considering it a victimless crime. But there will be victims: people 70 and above. Even people in their 60s if they aren’t themselves vigilant.

    I was about to pull off the freeway. No joke, I saw floaters.

    So, we’re basically going to start having to decide as a country between life and grandma.

    I tried to change the subject.

    Slightly.

    “Well, shorter isolation would definitely be better for the bars and restaurants.”

    But he stood his ground, taking my new topic and using it as a boomerang back to his expendable seniors.

    Oh, yeah. Americans would never admit it, but they’d choose bars and restaurants over grandma every day.

    Well, other Americans would never say it, I mentally corrected while wondering what this guy’s grandparents did to him.

    Even if younger generations could muster the collective discipline to stay home longer, you know the GOP is gonna revisit the topic of killing off old people for the good of the country.

    “Say what, now?”

    He had absolutely no problem sharing his Expendable Octogenarian Conspiracy Theory with me.

    Sadly, it revolves around a completely believable assumption that the GOP would float a notion that – for the good of the country and economic recovery after COVID – seniors with the means should waive their Social Security benefit. Somehow that would morph out of healthcare de-prioritizing Oldielocks patients in exchange for treating younger COVID patients with a better chance of recovery.

    First, to salvage future contributions to the country by younger generations, old people would forego – willingly or not – medical treatment. Then, they’d cede their monthly government stipend – if they were able. And let’s face it, the “able” would be the ones who remain since they could afford private care during the pandemic.

    He made it sound patriotic.

    It was dispassionate. And sickening to listen to.

    I didn’t even have the strength to poke holes in the theory – like the fact that the mean age of the GOP politicians had to be within the age group he was writing off. He’d taken care of that…they were the wealthy ones.

    Very tidy.

    I think what makes me most upset about this – and what subsequently made me want a day off driving and what made it hard to finally get around to starting this story – was that maybe I’m afraid he’s right.

    I lived through one political class extinction level event. It’s not unreasonable after surviving that to expect to experience another. And the GOP’s base would allow it.

    Enthusiastically.

    Don’t believe me? I’ll screen shot some of the BS my friends post on their Facebook pages that makes its way into my feed – and by “friends”, I mean people that need to be saved from their own lack of perspective. They’d volunteer for this plan my passenger laid out even if they fell within the affected group…the truly sad thing is that no one would know if they understood that they were volunteering or if they were just reflexively and ignorantly agreeing with the plan like any of the other self-serving things the GOP has done (to them and the rest of the country) over the last three decades.

    Damn. Now I’m depressed again.

    Time for a beer…before I start weighing in on whether losing 40% of the Boomer generation would offset the GOP’s base in the 99% population self-selecting out of the…shituation. I mean, that…that would probably help move the country forward. But I’m not one to suggest stupid people don’t deserve to live. I’m sure one of them will ignorantly get around to pointing that out soon enough.

    Oh…Hello, Darkness