OYL March 11

Things are heating up in my COVID journal and I have more to say each day. I’ll group the entries to try and reduce the number of posts.

A poster at school in the first week of March, 2020.

“March 8, 2020, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency to address the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.”

“March 9, we heard that the entire country of Italy was on lockdown. I complained that many of the participants at the upcoming Shamrock Run were probably going to be coming from highly infectious Washington state. I began to get a little nervous about that idea.”

My completed poster for my Democracy class. “You’re Not Welcome: Is Hostile Architecture a Cost-Effective Approach to Homelessness?” Hostile architecture is when the design of buildings or open spaces is specifically constructed to discourage people from spending too much time there. Examples are metal spikes in window sills so no one can sit, sharp rocks under overpasses so no one can camp, park benches with slopes and metal armrests through the middle, so no one can lie down.

“March 10 my poster was due. The professor had emailed us saying if we felt uncomfortable, we didn’t have to go to our last class on Tuesday. Only 3 people came to my Democracy class, because of the coronavirus maybe? My Conflict Resolution class was full as usual though.”

“March 11, Trump announced a European travel ban without telling any European leaders, and US tourists flipped out and swarmed the airports. I began questioning whether my trip to Arizona set for March 25 was actually going to happen. Bill Grady (whom I was planning to visit) called me and talked about options for how I could still enjoy myself safely in Arizona if I decided to come.”

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with someone who was a former Portland State University student. She explained her major, and the two buildings she was in most frequently. She was hoping to share memories about campus with me. I asked her to describe one of the buildings so I could have a sense of where it was, and she was astonished, “How can you not know where it is? That’s a major campus building.” Well, the answer is, I spent exactly one term on campus Jan-Mar, and then there was a pandemic.

Isn’t it wild to think that as late as March 11, we knew there was a pandemic and it was shutting things down, but I was still planning to go to Arizona to visit friends? Luckily, by this time all airlines were offering a no questions asked policy in canceling flights if someone wanted to cancel, so I held that in my mind as insurance.

And the hand-washing was really quite hilarious to me. So many people began complaining about how washing their hands dried their skin, or they complained about having to learn how to wash their thumbs in addition to the rest of their hands. And nurses had to invent a strategy for washing hands long enough, by singing the Happy Birthday song while washing. It was like Hand Washing 101 going on. I shook my head in dismay to be faced with the facts of just how dirty my fellow human beings are, that a good hand scrubbing was a new adventure for them.

7 thoughts on “OYL March 11

  1. It’s pretty awful that it’s still much the same one year later. But I remember that initial mistrust, of everybody and everything Other. What an ugly concept and yet it was real. And now? Half of my family are against vaccines. I have no idea in which country I’m getting mine and when. I still cannot leave my tiny municipality in Tuscany where there is nature, one town on the hill, the sea and not much else. It’s pretty but it’s all there is. I’m a city girl after all. I miss human contact – I have two bestias, one human and one canine – and slowly losing my mind…

    1. Awful! You are right. Yes, things were scarier for me back then too. We were so worried about viruses lying in wait on every surface. I wish you ease and speed to get the vaccines as soon as you can. I was thinking about your parents, have they had an opportunity to get immunized yet? Some of my family members – one studying medicine no less – are choosing not to get vaccinated right now. I am hoping they will reconsider once they get access to a shot. I just received the latest email from my healthcare provider. They have been gradually dropping the age limit with each email. Inviting all patients XX years and older to make an appointment. Today’s dropped to 55! So close. I’ll be in the next one.

      It’s sad you have been separated from others for so long. I have had some opportunities to visit, and we’ve taken precautions. One blogger friend I visited in her home, but we checked in with each other beforehand to see if we had been isolating first. I had one girlfriend come over and we stayed outside in the cold in masks and visited that way. It was lovely, but not good enough. I want more. Thank goodness for your two bestias. Please don’t lose your mind. But if you do, I’ll help you find it.

    1. I word it differently. I would say the high rates of homelessness are so sad. My project looked at how much money was spent to construct hostile architecture, compared to how much money it would cost to provide tiny homes so people have a place to go other than shop fronts or libraries. At least here in Oregon, it is possible, and there are places, where the expense is lower to simply provide them cheap housing.

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