may 14 – may 17

may 14

Coronavirus confession: Last week I lost my resolve and allowed my 14-year son to go play spikeball with friends. Of course we peppered him with rules about social distancing and just generally trying to avoid spitting on his friends and receiving spit from his friends. And a complete decontamination would be required when he returned. They rode bikes for hours, stopped when suitable spikeball grounds materialized, swam in the lake, rode some more. I felt a little nervous, like we’re undoing everything we’ve been working to achieve, but it’s done.

In the end, I’m SO glad he got out, explored, engaged, and refreshed. A little time away from a bungalow full of brothers was just the right medicine. And in a follow up confession, he has repeated this outing several times since.

may 15

I’m not prone to panic attacks, in fact, I’m pretty chill. But right now, Ima ’bout to lose my mind. It’s an impossible and hopeless situation for millions of business owners. As if it wasn’t hard enough to start a business in this country (taxes! healthcare!), now they are left with zero income and the same big bills. This guy in Hawaii owns four successful Irish pubs, now closed, of course. Just over two months ago, he had zero debt and employed a healthy workforce.

“Let me summarize: They closed my business, shut off my income, offered an ill-conceived loan without the promised forgiveness, then offered me another loan of $1 million to put me $1.6 million dollars in debt — all while I remain with no income or promise of opening.

“Last week, I had to make the tough and sad decision of shutting down my businesses and laying off 80 employees. Now I am at risk of losing my home and every dollar of my retirement savings, because I am not allowed to operate or sell the very successful company I had on March 1.”

Brutal.

If I was on the fence at all about reopening, I officially began my descent on a certain side when I woke to this op-ed written by a physician/health policy professor at Johns Hopkins. He makes so much sense! Our primary goal should be saving lives but “extreme forms of [virus] mitigation can have diminishing returns.” Mass starvation, domestic violence, depression, deferred medical care… the toll is dire if the lockdown continues.

Obviously, with any kind of reopening, we have to protect those at high risk: the elderly, those with health-compromising conditions, and unjustly, disadvantaged communities. So, we adopt new, safe ways of conducting business. Like wearing a mask!

Johns Hopkins guy also reminds us that “not all reopenings are created equal.” Right?! Duh. New York city safety measures will and should look different than the state of Montana – where they’ve had 16 deaths.

What I like most about this piece is that he acknowledges our hardcore approach was necessary – in the beginning, we didn’t know what we were dealing with. Likely, our the shelter-in-place saved millions of lives. But now we know a little more about the virus. We understand that we’re in the woods for awhile yet and that a prolonged lockdown is unsustainable for our economy. With this new information, we pivot strategies. It’s okay to “change your mind.” I hate how this has become an indication of meekness. If you’re always learning and listening, your thinking should evolve.

In my bubble here in Seattle, we’ve hammered home virus transmission mitigation – masks and isolation are largely embraced. I anticipate a lot of wariness among friends when restaurants and stores start receiving patrons again. Which is a healthy response, I guess, but I wonder if we’ve too deeply encoded virus fear. It’s preventing us from thinking straight.

may 16

I went to deposit checks at my local Chase bank today only to find that location is now closed. In fact, I’d soon learn most branches are now closed, but I did find one location in the University District still operating their teller window. I don’t have a debit card for my nonprofit treasurer role, so I have to do all deposits in person. You know who else has this problem? The guy in front of me at the teller window. For 15 minutes, we listened to him yelling about how he “don’t do anything online.” Whatever transaction he was attempting required three different tellers and a lot of soothing talk.

We did our weekly apocalypse shopping at Costco today and I had to laugh at the fresh stock of summer toys: goggles, pool floaties, beach towels. Where do they think we’re going? I know exactly one person with a pool in Seattle. Are we all going to Green Lake?

may 17

My 11-year old is studying the events leading up to the Revolutionary War at the moment. When Paul Revere made an appearance in the lesson, I knew immediately: I must rap. I queued up the Beastie Boys song, but it seems I misremembered some lyrical details. Like, the Paul Revere they rap about is a horse and there is no mention of a midnight ride to Lexington. Nonetheless, I rapped it in its entirety. And Anders will never unsee that.

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