A penny for your thoughts.

The First Thousand Mark

Twelve days after the first recommendations for a shutdown, the virus continues to spread and the death count has reached a first milestone, a thousand dead, together with the number of infected folks, and swiftly, our country is leading the world in the number of cases, more cases than China at the height of the epidemic. Twenty one deaths in Connecticut including a young health worker whose colleagues have deplored the lack of protective gear. Sad and scary for the younger folks, it’s not only a boomer thinner, covid is an equal opportunity killer. In the meantime, our leader still waffles and pushes mix messages on just every aspect of the crisis. His motto “like you’ve never seen before”, repeated time and time again with different wording, “like the world has never seen before”, a passe partout sentence usually uttered for big things to come, economy, tax breaks, wall, Iraq, whatever his mind is fixated on at the time, can now describe his response to the pandemic. We now have a crisis “like the world has never seen before”, and a president bungling it “like you have never seen before”. It’s actually not a surprise to see him nearly despondent as he his facing this crisis. He shot himself in the foot when, pushed by his base and the will of the Republican Party to further inequality by cutting taxes on the higher tax payers, and by stripping the different systems designed to help the nation in case of a catastrophic event, he and his administration have left health responders shortchanged in personnel and supplies. That virtual bullet will hurt him more than the bone spurs he suffered, the same bone spurs miraculously helping him to obtain several deferments  of the drafts for the  Vietnam debacle. He was finally declared exempt of serving our nation. It is mind boggling  that the politicians showing the American flag pin on their lapels and preaching their love of the flag and the nation, would line up and pledge full blind support to someone who showed such poor patriotism when the country was looking for bodies to fight a war. But they bow to him with a cowardice “like no one has seen before”.

Anyway, Siegfried, the third part of Wagner Opera is on. The elaborate sets, the medieval style of the costumes is just eye candy from the tv screen. I find the music more lifting than the two previous parts of the ring. The scene of Siegfried and the birdie is adorable. Never mind that it turns into a bloody slaughter, the whole act is riveting. Staying put is not that bad in this environment.
As Siegfried winds down, a wave of sadness engulfed me, and my thoughts went to Nice, as this is where Carolle and I were supposed to be today. But that’s pre-covid, before we cloistered and the airlines and the borders shut down. I will miss la Rue Catherine Ségurane, the street of the Antiquaires, directly bordering the Vieux Nice, five minutes away from the Port and the Mediterranean walking South, two minutes away from Place Garibaldi walking North. When in Nice, it is definitely a neighborhood worth spending time and discovering. I enjoy visiting the Marché aux Puces overlooking the Port de Nice. As a habit, every Monday I visit the Antiques Market at Cours Saleya, and  the Marché aux Livres by the Palais de Justice, held bi-monthly, in the Vieux Nice. We are sure going to miss Nice this spring.
Earlier in the day, idleness leading to thinking, and of course, a lot of my thinking is related to the virus, covid is always not very far in my mind. Actually, my thoughts were not only fixed solely on covid, instead I was thinking about viruses in general and he bubonic plague in particular. Then my thoughts went from ethanol to Eau de Cologne back to the plague, and wondered if they had ethanol in the Middle Ages. So I went to the Encyclopedia Britannica  (just kidding) and l looked up on ethanol, and besides learning that folks started bottling it eons ago, I also found an allusion to its use during the plague. Eau de Cologne is about 70 to 90% ethanol. Good enough to kill viruses. A note to survivalists out there looting the stores, when all virus are gone from the pharmacies, the last store to raid is the beauty store, but stick on with the best, the most alcohol content, don’t be cheap and buy the weak stuff, it will not protect you.

Today, March 27, the news of the day trumpets that Congress just passed a 2bn dollars bill, the buoy to keep the economy afloat, over the objections of a lone Republican objecting to the procedure. He was concerned about the deficit, go figure, I thought that objection to deficit was a ghost of the past for the party. His pleas, drowned by both sides of the chambers, earned the world a new word: masshole, soon to be perused in your favorite dictionary.

Needing fresh air and distances from the depressing news, we attempted a walk around the neighborhood, but after less than ten minutes walking, Carolle tripped on the uneven sidewalk and we had to walk back to the loft. She was holding on to me and did not fall, but still, twisted the leg that suffered  a hamstring a few month ago. I hope the fear of being stuck inside was more distressing that the pain. That’s one of the problems with sidewalks here in town, the maintenance is left to the adjacent property owner. Snow removal is left to them and every winter bring a strange basket of obedient owners shoveling  snow  from the walks and having to return, sometimes several times a day, shovel  at work to remove the snow plows threw back unto the sidewalk while clearing the streets. It happens every winters,     for every snow days, the same ritual. Sysiphus is not alone.The silly ordinance leads to a cacophony of substrate in various states of decay. This dereliction by the town and state government, in lieu of saving money makes for a poor and obviously dangerous  pedestrian environment. It was a terrible idea from the start and now it’s an expensive problem to solve. But, if maintenance was taken back by the states and the towns, it could put tons of folks to work, employment would translate to collecting more taxes to grease the gears of the capitalism machine. Capitalism for the people, and for all to benefit. Besides, not only homeowners do not own the sidewalks but they must also provide a right of way for the town and the state, adjacent to the walk. They don’t own that small parcel of land, but they are responsible for it. What’s the rationale behind that?

My ranting about broken sidewalk seems somewhat silly in view of the coming apocalypse but in a strange ways, bring me back to mundane daily life. And yes, despite covid, life goes on. David Brooks on television, tells us that “…so we have sort of seen an institutional failure from the White House on down.”