Avocado toast and bacon improved my state of mind yesterday morning. Lunch yesterday helped, too. We had leftover (from the night before) cioppino. My wife found a recipe that married the Italian-American dish to Korean flavors (the latter courtesy of gochujang). The seafood components of the magnificent dish included cod, shrimp, and bay scallops. Absent were the mussels and squid I crave in “old-style” cioppino, but I didn’t really miss them because the flavor was so good. Oh, and she included firm tofu in the stew. Instead of serving it with bread, she served it over rice. Oh, the joy!
In spite of my gustatory satisfaction, though, the reality of COVID-19 continued to grow closer yesterday. With every passing day, it seems, we learn of another positive test, nearer and nearer and nearer. Yesterday, Little Rock media reported that all previously “presumed positive” tests had been confirmed. Simultaneously, the local newspaper reported that a member of the Village United Methodist Church is being tested; in response, the church is cancelling all services and activities for the immediate future (which our church already did, a day earlier, but not in response to a threat posed by a suspected case of the virus on our “home turf.). I read this morning that a couple from Camden, in the southern part of the state, are in isolation after their return from a vacation in Italy. I am relatively sure hundreds, maybe thousands, of people throughout the state have been exposed to COVID-19 in one way or another and in one place or another; whether they develop symptoms remains to be seen. And so we wait and we watch and we wonder.
I went out and about yesterday, despite suggestions to the contrary from the CDC, et al. I went to a different grocery store from the one I visited a day earlier, the latter at which I found more rice and dry kidney beans (but, alas, no dry pintos) and some canned pintos; I bought a little of all three. And I went to a liquor store. As I sat in my car, about to leave with my cheap gin, I got a text from a church/writer friend, inquiring as to my whereabouts. Long story short, we met at a coffee shop and sat and chatted until the place closed at 3:00 p.m. I hope I did not expose myself to the virus with my wanton recklessness yesterday. Today, I plan to go buy gas for one of the cars and I may attempt to buy potatoes if I find them. Because what does one do in the midst of a pandemic if one runs out of potatoes? (No, I just checked; we have potatoes. If I bought more, I would have to store them in the trunk of the car.) After complete my explorations, I may stay in for the duration, though probably not; if nothing else, I’ll address the certainty of getting cabin fever by taking brief drives to see the world around me.
I’m so fortunate to have the luxury of preference; a lot of people have no choice but to go to work and risk exposure to a world that’s growing more dangerous by the minute. And others suddenly have no work and no paychecks because the rest of us are locking ourselves in our houses. Ah, the sustenance of guilt is assured no matter which courses of action we take.
As I look at the week ahead, I see that another World of Wine event is scheduled for Thursday. I strongly suspect it will be cancelled; even if not, I doubt we will attend. We’ve already paid (handsomely) for it, though. I had scheduled Subaru service for next Monday, but I cancelled that already. The following week my wife has two back-to-back days of doctor appointments in Little Rock. Whether the doctors will cancel is as yet unknown; and if the doctors don’t, I suspect my wife won’t, either. If she goes, I will go as well.
I am restlessly waiting for the pandemic to reach its crescendo and then subside. I hope that actually happens. And I hope it happens without the massive numbers of sicknesses and deaths that have occurred and are occuring in Italy and Spain and Iran and…on and on. Humor helps us wade through the morass. But this morning the little bit of it I could muster has temporarily left the building. It will return. I just hope it doesn’t bring the virus with it. (That was a failed attempt at humor.)