The Distance Between Us

There are, as of yesterday, 39 Wuhan Coronavirus deaths in the United States, according to the CDC.  Twenty-two were in a single nursing home in Kirkland, WA.   The median age of victims: 80.  Most had correlated health problems. But now you can’t buy canned soup or bottled water in Van Nuys.  There is no rice left at 99 Ranch market.  Our answer to the long odds of infection is consumer-driven scarcity.

Since Wednesday:
-MLB spring training
-and the NCAA tournament have gone on hiatus.
On Monday, LA Unified is joining them, setting the table for an unprecedented child care crisis among hourly wage earners.

We are in the grip of maximal measures.  We won’t be using any more toilet paper should the virus reach the San Fernando Valley than if it didn’t, yet we buy out every roll in the store anyway because it feels like we are doing something.  We are under the sway of cable news, where catastrophism prevails, everyone is a Fake Expert for Five Minutes, and all roads lead to the Oval Office, as though there was a special button underneath a desk called Pandemic Wing Attack Plan R, press here to release whup-ass.  

Wash your hands.  Cover your cough. Stop touching your face.  Settle in for some binge-watching.   First principles, from actual epidemiologists, now arouse scorn. That’s all?  There has to be more to it than that!   Don’t tell me about washing!  What’s happening? Who do we blame?  

Mrs. UpintheValley just poked her head in the door, greatly agitated, to announce the LA Public Library system will be closed for the rest of the month.  She gathered the books on the coffee table into her arms like Diego Rivera’s flower girl, assessing by touch if they were sufficient to last the duration.

This just in: MacLeod is no longer serving peanuts.   Social distancing has officially begun in earnest.

That looks to be about six feet apart.  Like contented canines let us disappear inside our homes…for the places we normally gather for solace are now off-limits. Let us use this crowded fortnight, after the diversions of wine, fornication and Netflix are exhausted, to consider how isolated we have become from one another. Maybe this contagion can be repurposed.

4 thoughts on “The Distance Between Us”

  1. From LAist. Sent around to a few friends, with my commentary at bottom…..
    “……The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced plans to cancel in-person instruction starting Monday as the coronavirus spreads worldwide. For the next two weeks, coursework all 472,000 students will continue online.”

    ———Well, OK…….but……..

    “….LAUSD leaders also announced 40 “family resource centers” will open to provide care for children on district campuses next Wednesday, March 18.

    Once they’re open, the centers will be staffed on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There, children “will be able to have a warm meal, engage with their peers and pursue their different studies,” [Superintendent] Beutner wrote. ”


    So you are closing schools, then turning around and opening “resource centers”???? Even a hayseed like myself understands this negates the whole purpose of closing schools in the first place.

    1. I assume Redbox won’t close, though all the “libraries” will. The rectification of names continues–

    2. Close the schools/open daycare is cognitive dissonance in action. It’s the bureaucratic contagion that takes hold when no one wants to be the outlier. No one wants to take responsibility for skepticism.

      1. It accomplishes something, by separating two herds–those who made this decision knew what they were doing and why. But no one will admit it. I don’t think this case is as much cognitive dissonance as just hypocrisy of the liberal sort.

        For what it’s worth, my school district’s first response when parents demanded they close was, “Closing schools won’t keep kids from congregating.” Eventually, the perceived threat became personal enough, enough parents realized that they were perfectly capable of keeping their own children home, and here we are.

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