One Year Later I look back at what I wrote in my COVID journal. May 15, 2020. “Today I met Dan for a first date on a trail in Forest Park. There were tons of people on the trail, which surprised me. People were very cautious though, some had masks, though most didn’t, but people were visibly pulling their shirts up over their faces when we passed, or turning their backs to us until we had passed. I think I will not take classes next term at Portland State University if it’s all online. I don’t like online classes.”
I did take the summer off from school in 2020, which I am going to do again this year. Summers are so busy that it makes sense. But as you know, online classes continued for a year.
May 16. “Didn’t want to hike today because it’s raining. It’s good I didn’t leave because I got word from Flavia that Manja was having an online birthday party in Italy. Her husband set it up. That’s the first time I’ve done something like that I think: a group gathering online. It was definitely the first birthday party online. I stayed on for over an hour and got to meet several of Manja’s friends, her man, her dog, her parents. It was really fun and poor Manja said she had been speaking and hosting the party for 6 hours!”
Manja, as several of you know, is a buoyant blogger living in Italy. She had been planning a larger-than-usual birthday gathering because her birthday in 2020 was a big 5-0 celebration. Sadly, her gathering of international friends had to be postponed. I benefitted because this way I was able to celebrate with the others. Not only are Manja and I nearly exactly the same age, but we are kindred spirits and friends. Once more, I find myself grateful for the world that blogging opened up to me.
May 17. “Apparently Oregon is in Phase I of opening up. Oregon total cases 3623, total deaths 137. Columbia county 16 cases, zero deaths. Benton county 51 cases, 5 deaths. Cowlitz county 68 cases, zero deaths. I’m still feeling reassured by these numbers because they are comparatively low in the places where I spend most of my time. Total cases in U.S. 1,467,065 with 88,709 deaths. There are still people protesting about the business and event shut downs, but it’s apparently a minority of people. Many of the early resisters are now on board and when it comes to sending their kids back to school or going to a restaurant, these are the people now saying they aren’t ready yet. Lots of people in the US are ready though. Wisconsin’s supreme court declared the stay-at-home rules unlawful, and that night bars opened in Wisconsin. And were packed. No gloves, no masks. The governor of Wisconsin must be about to have a breakdown. In two weeks when all those people start getting sick and clogging up the hospitals, they’re going to blame the governor. Because people are idiots. This is one of the main things the pandemic has taught me.”
May 20. “I gassed up for $2.39 a gallon. I know it’s lower in other places, but that’s the lowest I’ve seen in years probably.”
Today in my town, gas is $3.45 a gallon, so we’re climbing in prices again. It has gone up about 10 cents since the hacking and hoarding of gasoline in the east and southeast US.
May 21. “After his invitation, I’m planning to meet my friend Vladimir. I’m going to ask him if he wants me to wear a mask while we’re walking together, which is something I haven’t done with anyone I know yet. This will be my first meeting with a friend since mid-March. It seems risky and maybe reckless, but we will be outside.”
Vladimir chose his home partially because of how close it is to the spectacular St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park on the Willamette River. He never tires of it, and when I visit him in this suburb of Portland, we nearly always walk to the water and out onto the dock where the LOVE sign is always there.
Here’s a little info about the LOVE sign at the top: