DECEMBER 30, 2020
ONE DOOR OPENS, ANOTHER CLOSES BEHIND
It has been quite a year on the Island, my hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.
The bicycle people had only just begun to enjoy their triumphs in lane re-routing, painting of dedicated lanes, installation of concrete berms when the big COVID hit the entire World, extending its fingers even into insular places like the Island.
Fires raged across the Golden State, which affected many of us here who owned farmstead property going back hundreds of years or who had family that had retired to the foothills of the Sierra. All of us knew friends whose homes were consumed as entire towns were laid waste.
Then came the disease. Pooh-poohed by some because this pandemic was politically and socially inconvenient, the pandemic swelled around the world from its first observation in the US in December of 2019, with the federal government slow to respond until March to acknowledge there was a problem.
Then, on May 25th, while the nation was dealing with local lockdowns due to the pandemic, a young man named George Floyd was brutally murdered while under police custody in Minneapolis, igniting a nationwide rage of protest. Black Lives Matter became a phrase common even here in our Bay Area Bubble.
While the Nation mourned and locked down, to greater and lesser degree depending on the reddishness of the State, and protest raged the Island held its own special course.
The largest impact upon daily Island-Life was the Pandemic. COVID19 quickly divided an easily divided people into two camps: the Maskers and the Anti-maskers.
Dodd had no illusions about the virus and what it could do.
Mr. Howitzer belonged to the Anti-masker group, formed by an allegiance to the White House Baby Boobie who naysayed and derided masks and the significance of the disease. Some time in June he held a Spring Fling party during which poor Dodd was the only person present who wore a mask and gloves. Dodd had no illusions about the virus and what it could do. Mr. Howitzer invited the usual financial Elites and even included a few rock-ribbed Republicans, most of whom had stepped back from supporting the GOP in view of the bad behavior and foul language erupting daily from the White House. While the Neocons shook bare hands, embraced one another and kissed one another's cheeks all night, Dodd remained behind the hosted wet bar and disappeared towards the end of the affair to emerge for cleanup once the majority of the guests had left around midnight.
Of course during the event Dodd was briefly talked about. Talking about people who are not in a position to defend themselves is a trademark of NeoCons.
"I see the manservant is wearing the Liberal Flag over there," said Mr. Tuckus of Tuckus, Dithering and Quibble, esq.
"Drank the kool-aid, yes," drawled Val Locust.
"I hear the disease is not much worse than the flu. My nephew Barnaby got it and was right as rain after a week of headaches and sniffles."
"Clearly a leftist conspiracy to increase the power of the government over individual rights. Damned Socialists!"
First the diarrhea . . .
Two weeks after the party fully two-thirds of the guests had come down with COVID19. For a few individuals it was indeed like the flu. For the rest . . . it was not. First the diarrhea. Then the eyes inflamed like burning coals. O2 counts dipped below 88 which is worse than experienced by a mountaineer ascending Everest. The Blathers got put on respirators. Massive amounts of steroids were administered to the entire law firm of Tuckus, Dithering and Quibble. Blood clots in Mr. Stanchion led to DVT requiring Xarelto and in Mr. Tankk, Warfarin. Yes, that stuff which is also used to kill rodents. As the symptoms wore off, leaving quite a few people dozens of pounds lighter, the aftereffects began. Blood pressure readings of 201/119. Toes turned purple. Blood tests indicated liver, spleen, kidney and lung permanent damage from the sepsis caused by the virus.
Then, weeks later, the teeth started falling out of people's heads - COVID attacks the fine capillaries systems that nourish the maxillary regions. Mrs. Cribbage had to have an entire set of dentures made for her at age 42.
Mancini, Pahrump and Denby built the first quarantine shack
As for the Hoi Polloi, Marlene and Andre's Household was not exempted from the ravages of the Pandemic. Packed in to confined spaces in the old rehabilitated farmhouse, the disease quickly raged through the inhabitants much like it does in the poorer communities where people have no place to practice social distancing. Not when six people are sleeping per room. Mancini, Pahrump and Denby built the first quarantine shack for the first victim, Jesus, who eventually took a turn for the worse and had to be transferred to Marin General ICU. Martini quickly had one built for himself while still healthy, and then followed one after another shacks for Suan, then Tipitina, then, in May Denby himself, each shack becoming a little more rickety as the Household lost person-power to build them.
Pahrump built himself a dugout lodge of pine and redwood boughs, figuring the old ways were the best and he bathed in the dwindling waters of San Geronimo Creek.
Spring revolved through a very hot summer into the hottest autumn in memory.
On the Island Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez held their self-quarantine up in the 2nd floor apartment on Central Avenue across from the Mastic Center. Mr. Sanchez built a small office to work from home and made another for Mrs. Sanchez so she could continue to give instruction to her Longfellow students remotely, using Teams and Zoom. The one benefit here is that this situation allowed the new parents to care for their newborn infant without concern for daycare issues.
Others who have survived the Angry Elf Mafia attacks have bunkered down in their respective abodes, Zooming and Chatting like mad whenever possible and relying on the new system of take-out for diversion.
somehow massage webinars did not go over so well
Some businesses have become quite innovative. Many of you might have enjoyed the Zoom Pizza Webinar, in which the main Zoomer arranges for pizza\sandwiches\Mediterranean food to be delivered during the Webinar. Borg Rubbitsom tried this on behalf of his business A Touch of Wonder, but somehow massage webinars did not go over so well as other subjects. "Now breath deeply with your eyes closed and imagine Brunhilde's fingers pressing . . . here . . . ".
The self-quarantine situation works better for some than for others. The Quirkyalone club has been going gangbusters since self-isolation has been enforced. If you think about it, Zoom and Webchat are the best venues for people who do not want to engage in any risk of icky exchange of bodily fluids. It is all about flirting with no sex ever involved. Just like Freshman college.
Others who are more driven need more direct outlets. Mr. Burby, solid East Ender and eminent Rotarian, found himself at 62, divorced and devoid of prospects in the era of COVID where Huggin' and Kissin' is Prohibited.
So Mr. Burby researched the available options and landed upon one solution that seemed to resolve all of his problems.
his future wife: Elise, the Real Doll.
On a cold day in December the UPS man dropped off a long box that Mr. Burby quickly brought into the house via the garage. With the shades drawn and inquisitive neighbors rendered dormant, Mr. Burby unpacked what was to be his future wife: Elise, the Realdoll.
The camera pulls back from this scene to reveal the Editor reviewing the detritus of the year's end at his desk with the little lamp sending out such light and warmth as it could. All looked to the new year and a new, more capable and experienced Administration in Washington DC. Adults had entered the room and were now taking control over the misbehaving children.