Rapt attention

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bullet points

The quarantine and the constant rain are playing with my head and my circadian rhythms.  I woke up really early, warmed up with my electronic instruments for a minute to make sure that the world had not come to an end while I was sleeping and then went back to bed.

Didn't wake up until eleven. What for? Not like I have any work to go to... But the manner of being woken was different. It was the squawking of the scrub jay. "Hey man, feed me."

I'm like "Hey yourself, what do you think this is, a government program?"

He wasn't listening. Kept at it. I swear, someday I'm going to smoke that jay.

The rain has been epic this week, twice what was expected. Neighbor was at 5.3" this morning so we have to be up over 6" now.

Rainbow Creek is really high and the river is pretty insane too. Hope our bridge doesn't get tested again like in '93.

I am not a text person. Hate them, always have, for a variety of reasons. People, myself included, turn into dig artists and it is by nature, a total monologue. A nastier monologue.

Call me an old fashioned romantic, I happen to like discourse and dialogue.

So it is with great pleasure that I can tell you that I have not had any text downloads for about ten days. No memes, no videos. Nothing. Beautiful. Leslie's phone has been the same.

I called ATT today and found out that there is a tower that has been down about two miles away. Should be fixed tomorrow. Damn. What a nice break it has been.

I have been on the chat line with Bank of America for the last two days. I am self employed and the application for us folks was supposed to work today. But it asked me to certify that I had employees, which I do not. The chat guy says just fill it out to the best of your ability and gave me a link to a government website that also knew nothing.

So I did my best but it was not a good fit whatsoever and I may have just committed a felony. So maddening.

Similar to what happened at EDD. People from both the Supervisor's office and the Congressional liaison said fill it out with your own business as employer. Which I did, only to find out that the portal is also not ready. So will I get penalized for listening to a government person who it turns out knew as little as I did? We shall see.

I have a friend who has had a rocky road the last decade or so and we were discussing the current existential catastrophe, which I contend is far more personally earth shattering than the two major cataclysms of my lifetime, the JFK assassination and 9-11. And we both chuckled because of the beautiful democracy of the thing, everybody, no matter what their station, is essentially eating the same shit sandwich (except for some notable exceptions way beyond my paygrade, I am sure.)

Even the pearl clutchers have been knocked about in their hermetically sealed bubbles. The tragedy is so equal opportunity. But those of us who have taken some hits from fate over the years are seemingly in better shape to deal with the emotional turmoil because we had little faith in the solidity of the life situation anyway.

Disaster has been nipping at my heels since I was about thirteen years of age, like a little vicious terrier, never far away, no matter how far I get ahead, so I can sort of laugh a little bit even though the future forecast looks so downright shitty. Does that make any sense? You make peace with it.

As Robert Crumb once so ably put it; Have another hamburger, nobody gets out of here alive anyway.

I am getting serious for a second. Probably deserves its own post but I wanted to bring something up, with as much respect and deference for the perspective of both sides as I can, so close to Easter.

There is an interesting conversation going on in Kansas, between the Democratic Governor and the Republican legislature. The Governor, Laura Kelley, issued an executive order telling people to, among other things, shelter in place and limit church gatherings. The Republican legislature overturned her order, saying that she was encroaching on religious liberty.

She is now suing them back.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia chapel interior
Now I respect religious liberty myself, the freedom to believe or not believe is very important to me. But it is not absolute.

I can agree for the sake of argument that it is maybe not fair to make a baker bake a cake for a same sex couple if it goes against their sincere religious convictions. Or officiate a wedding.

We can debate it but I can make a case for either side for the sake of our hypothetical.

But if a landlord says, no renting to same sex couples, my understanding of the bible forbids it, or a restaurant says, no jews allowed, or an employer says that I won't give you a job because your spouse is of a different race, well then I do have a problem with it.

And while you may enjoy your freedom of religion the rest of us all should also have certain rights to have a freedom from your religion.

Congregating during a pandemic is just such an occasion. Your faith notwithstanding, you are putting others, believers and non believers alike, at significant risk.

Now I have heard religious folks say, well, you run into people at the grocery store too and no one says anything about that? Religion is just as essential to us. And they say it with sincerity.

And with equal respect and sincerity, I would contend that the necessity of feeding ourselves and our families trumps the need to worship collectively.

Some will not agree with me. That is cool too.

It is definitely a two way street but your faith should not trump my safety.

Happy Easter anyway.

I thought that I was a liberal but I actually think I am a conservative now. Take the pandemic; there are a large number of Republicans advocating for a return to work, somewhere around the first of May, irregardless of where the state of the pandemic stands. Now how is that conservative? They contend that the cost of dead people is < the problems of an economic collapse, which will lead to depression and suicide numbers that, blah, blah, blah.

I would think that a truly conservative person would say, hey, wait let's be sure.

Let's be sure. We do not yet know about the exact nature of this beach, way too early to be declaring a premature victory. Let's be truly conservative. And not come out of our smials until it is safe.

As a San Diego native I am getting a little tired of the California bashers. There's the door. We are the strongest economy in the nation, one of the strongest in the world, we want to take care of our state, and its people, or most of us anyway, and we go our own way. We have the sierras, the redwoods, the beaches and deserts. You don't like it here, leave, you will not be missed. Sure there is a tough housing market, we have high gas prices and taxes and homeless problems, yes, we have them. There is only so much water and so much room. So take off, enjoy Prescott or Boise, get away from the liberals. Be our guest. We won't miss you.

We are okay with that. Or most of us anyway. Check out the Mayor Pro tem of Lake Elsinore. Somebody buy him a bus ticket.


Kerr A. Lott said...

I smoked a jay today. Two of 'em.

Isak said...

I spent a good portion of the morning doing the same thing, Robert. Applied for unemployment for the first time in my seventy-five years. And went through the same issues you went through. As as self-employed antique dealer one runs into the dilemma of who was your employer and for me as well what did I earn per hour? I also have yet to send in my 2019 taxes, so I used my income from 2018 as my earnings, divided the gross by twelve and then the twelfth by four to find out a weekly "salary" and then figured fifty hours a week that I'm at it although it seems more like twenty-four, seven days a week, and as such came up with an hourly wage. If they want to haul me off to Federal prison, I will tell them that I did the best I could after having been advised to do the best that I could. I think I wound up underestimating which will probably earn me much less unemployment benefits than I "rightly" deserve,if and when I get anything at all. Ah well. If we wind up in the hoosegow maybe we will wind up being cellmates! Checkers, chess, or mahjong, my good man? Wordsmiths that we both fancy ourselves, why don't we settle for Scrabble....

Scrota Voce said...

Let's save 1% of the population from certain illness that might run for two weeks, and destroy the lives of 25% through suicide, bankruptcy, broken homes, mental health issues, squandered savings, record unemployment, ruined businesses in the thousands, rioting, sick outs, protest marches of millions, flash mobs, increased murder rates, alcoholism, increased drug addiction and lost revenue from government bailouts.

Yeah, let's do it!

Mr. Natural

Hudgins said...

The old saw "Do no harm" comes to mind here.

Blue Heron said...

I hope that we never have to visit a future where your vision here is shown to be as shortsighted and deadly as I think it could be with your attitude here John. You love to lowgrade that "certain illness." Watch Doctor Strangelove again or maybe those videos of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Or consider John Donne for a second. You remember him.

Roy Jhciacb Cohen said...

Because you can’t be pro-life and pro-gathering simultaneously.

If you gather for Easter, and as a result people within that gathering get ill or worse, die, that would be a tragedy.

If you gather for Easter though, and people get ill or die as a direct result of that gathering, and they were not a part of it, that would be a greater tragedy and you would lose your moral high ground — for forever.

Scrota Voce said...

300 million have had colds and seasonal flu since October with 250,000 to 350,000 dead worldwide, according to the bible of
pandemics, the CDC.

And no one built a hospital in 10 days to care for them, no Javits center, no Red Cross ship in the harbor, and no trillion dollar bailouts.


Rod Serling

Blue Heron said...

You are a broken record and I do not want to respond because I just say the same thing over and over again. The flu doesn't kill healthy people this quick and damage their hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys like this. You really don't know shit.

Anonymous said...

The Trumps and Bob Magees of the world will make us all pay for electing a black man as president twice!

Anonymous said...

I watched “The Story Behind the Famous Hotels” On Youtube and on Netflix ’Tiger King”

My daughter on Maui told me there is a 5000 dollar fine now for loitering or sitting on the beach you can walk or run but not walk.
I feel like I’m living in a science fiction world. thanks for your blog and pics that always interest me. Love and Peace, Ida

Jon Harwood said...

Ya' kno this feels a lot like the vaccine debate. It only takes a few minutes for everyone to step away from reason and into just being pissed off. There are going to be a whole lot of pissed off people and no matter when you change the isolation rules it will be "wrong". My guess is that the White House will come up with a fairly early date to start "opening up" the country. I doubt the country will respond in any lockstep fashion. Florida and Mississippi will open up real quick as will states with low illness rates. Then we will get a whole bunch of different scenarios from nasty outbreaks to "no problem". Then we all get to cherry pick our examples to "prove" whichever point we had already decided was right.

Places that decide this is all a hoax may get some rude surprises. I plan to observe holed up in our hacienda as I prefer survival to the illness. Those manly men and tough women who want to take their chances will do just that, take their chances. Some will be lucky some won't. Then we can do round two of cherry picking our examples to "prove" our prior opinions.

What a country!

Blue Heron said...

Hey Jon, You sound good from over here at the Sommers silo.

Anonymous said...

Just in: Texas is easing lockdown order to "restore livelihoods." This will be fun...

Sam Houston

Julie Reeder said...

It's important to have all these conversations. I love reading them. I'm feeling bad for the blue jay though.