Coronavirus Days--Week 6

I realize that my numbering scheme for the blog feels untrue, since I'm not looking at this as the end of Week 6, a chronicle of the past, but more the beginning of Week 7, the immediate future. Both feel the same, these days. A bit predictable. Less surprising than weeks ago. Seriously, though, it feels like a pile. Numbers. 42 days or 1,008 hours or 60,480 minutes, adding up like the number of dead, number infected, number asymptomatic. All approximations. All a way to account for the constant uncertainty I feel when I try to crystal ball when I can go places without a mask, when I will be in the company of a friend or a colleague, when I venture more than several miles from my home.

"What's your problem?"

I saw a no-mask man come around the corner, pushing a stroller, heading forward towards me and Whitman. He didn't try to back up when he rounded the corner and saw us. He didn't say, excuse me. He just kept pushing forward, his right of occupancy.

I went to cross the street, and once clear from his path answered, "wear a mask," pointing to mine.

"Go fuck yourself" he replied.

That was yesterday. Yesterday was the day after Mayor Hancock extended Denver's Stay At Home measures until May 8th, alleviating a bit of my stress after Governor Polis converted Stay At Home to Safer At Home. Yesterday, I couldn't shake the asshole altercation that began my day. I walked for miles after it happened, breathing, angry, thankful for Whitman's oblivion. I spent much of the day digging in the dirt, weeding to clear out space around the blooming tulips, a smile of colors. Some respite. And then more, when a guy walking on the sidewalk past my house looked at me, took his headphones off, and said, "nice garden." I answered with thanks, and for that moment, I didn't have that anger roll rolling. Good person.

These are the roller coasting days, except it's not really a coasting, but more of a harsh curve that swerves into a familiar block. Not particularly smooth but a settling in at times. Some evenings, Nan and I hang out streaming our latest flick, like "Killing Eve" or "Better Things," and it feels like it could be anymonthbeforethepandemic just chilling to close the day. For a moment, we forget that things are so completely changed from what we imagined at the start of 2020. For a moment, we feel safe.

Without Whitman, I took a long walk this afternoon, surveying Evans Street, a usually busy thoroughfare in my neighborhood. These were the signs along my way. These are the signs along most streets in most cities in most states. This is our present, for now.


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