DECEMER 13, 2020



So anyway. The skies clouded over as a prelude to welcome downpours refreshing the streams and lakes of Marin and healing the burn scars of Sonoma. We had no real Fall to enjoy around here, not a weeks long segue nor a warmish Indian summer, but an abrupt shift from triple digits to the 40's and 30's. Now the rain clinches the deal and we are deep into Winter but this time with no Revels to help us pass through the year's Longest Night.

With COVID we have all had to make adaptations. Luther's courtship of Jacqueline continues -- as it has for years -- but with the added despair of no possible kiss, no potential embrace. As owner of the Pampered Pup hot-dog stand there on Park Street he has always been open for takeout or takeaway, but Jackie's Hair Salon had to close down, then reopen under conditions, then once again close down and so this long, long courtship now takes the place of hours-long phone calls each day, wired flower deliveries and the small acts of devotion enabled by imagination and distance.

The Quirkyalone Club run locally by Amanda Stilts is enjoying an influx of new members, many of which pose the same question: "How do you guys all . . . function?"

"Beg pardon?"

"I mean, with no SEX? No sex possible at all!"

Good Vibrations has been deemed an Essential Business

"Fortunately Good Vibrations has been deemed an Essential Business . . .".

Which brings us around to the issues that face all of us right now. How goes Love in the time of COVID? All the bars and movie theaters are shut down. Restaurants are restricted to take out. How for the love of anything can one conduct a Dating operation?

This much concerns some members of the Household. Suan, a poledancer at the Crazy Horse should have had no problem with poledancing where touching the stripper way up there on a remote stage has always been strictly verboten. But no one is allowed to gather in cheering throngs so the place is shut down.

On the tamer side, there is no meeting for coffee in a diner. Instead those long walks on the beach have become a reality.

Javier, accustomed to looser relationships is experiencing a dry period. Perhaps this may encourage some self-discipline.

Duane, a computer nerd with the Livelong Medical Group has his own issues. Love with nerds tends to be mostly hypothetical and determined by algorithms that remain out of direct control.

Darwinism should have eliminated nerds from the gene pool long ago, simply through ineptness and lack of ability, but women generally have long been experienced with handling male ineptitude and dealing with impossible situations over millions of years. That is another function of Darwinism.

Duane imagines he has fallen in love with Miriam,

Duane imagines he has fallen in love with Miriam, the same nurse that Denby fell over with disastrous consequences for himself. Now, let us admit that nerd love is not very attractive. Duane, a sort of chubby, balding Dilbert character was poles apart from his Love Object, the tall, attractive, slim, liberally tattooed nurse.

This just returns us all to the same problem: there is no "dating" per se as usual. No coffee shops, no movies, no dinners by candlelight and certainly no huggin' and kissin' in this time.

Duane sits down and talks to Denby about his troubles in the Break Room, which due to COVID rules may have only two people at a time and be vacated between occupancy for four hours. A lot of people have been lunching in the parkinglot due to this rule.

"The problem with Miriam is that she has a dog," Duane complained.

"Do not talk to me about women and dogs," Denby said. "I have learned that if she has a dog she has a better companion than any man and besides the dog would quickly learn to hate you and you it."

"Denby, you are being cynical."

"I am not cynical. A fish does not need a bicycle. A woman with a dog has already supplied her needs. And keep in mind what they do to dogs kept as pets in this country."

"The dog is a female named Ladybird."

"Dude, you are way out of the running. Give it up."

"A guy can hope."

hope gets you nowhere

"Of course a guy can hope all he wants; hope gets you nowhere. Abandon all hope ye who enter these gates beset with Puti, those winged cherubs of yore. Personally I think you should take up a healthy sport like skirling to distract you from these unhealthy attachments. Do it while it is safely Winter and nothing is possible. "

"Denby, you are a cynical bastard."

"Stating the obvious will get you nowhere. Besides, you are going to get nowhere in the age of Quarantine with Miriam, and that is a fact as well. Aint no huggin' and kissin' in the Time of Close Contact Forbidden."

Rosalie carries a printed menu of abbreviated services

As far as that rule goes, it applies with qualifications to the Island's two official streetwalkers. The Island has only two ladies of the night because a walk down the main drag of Park Street in boots with high heels takes only 15 minutes at midnight and there is only so much traffic to feed business. So Rosalie and Candy have agreed between them in their private gig economy to work in shifts and with certain rules. Rosalie carries a printed menu of abbreviated services that do not involve being face to face. Masks are as mandatory with her as other protections. Yes, even the flushest john must wear a mask or its sorry buster, no play.

Leave it to the Island to host hookers with ethical concern for public health safety.

Now it approaches the annual Horror Days, kicking off with the Festival of Lights, Chanukah, and descending rapidly into the rampant consumerism that is the prelude to December 25th and the massive orgy of consumption that ends with great relief after January 1st.

The neighborhoods are all defiantly lit up with strings of bulbs and animated deer and at the Household of Marlene and Andre Mancini cobbled together festive lights made from LED's pulled from old circuit boards to string around the house.

the Crazy Horse, to everyone's surprise, is not considered an Essential Business

The Editor strolls down the aisles, marked with six foot distancing tapes, long after the staff have gone home. Lately he has been putting in long hours and getting little done with all the shutdowns and quarantines and such. So has Denby, as he is a classified Health Care Worker. Suan had the idea of performing one of her pole dance routines since the Crazy Horse, to everyone's surprise, is not considered an Essential Business. This, of course is a matter of dispute by many. But everyone had to remain 8 feet distant, wear a mask and remain distant from one another, so it kind of did not work out well. Since everyone is out of work, there were no tips. Everyone else has been sitting around the Household, playing mumblty peg and other appropriately socially distanced games.

The night was cold -- cold for NorCal -- and so the glass of the sliding door that led to the back fogged over as the Editor stood there. The lights Mancini had draped over the quarantine shacks, some of which had been insulated with foam and were now occupied to keep the Household population down in the middle of the pandemic, sparkled along with the houses built high up on the far ridgeline, artificial stars and planets rising up to meet the heavenly vast blanket pinpricked with millions of holes punched in it. Soon the comet would appear to the southeast.

The right pair won the election and by a convincing margin. The old, detested year of 2020 would soon end even as the vaccines arrive. Life is filled with savage brutality, suffering, and inequality. But help is on the way.