Taking a Little Break

I’ve been away for a while. Frankly, I had to take a break. Too much focus on this novel coronavirus was getting a little too heavy for me to carry.

So what did I do in the past week?

I read Albert Camus’ book The Plague. It was first published in 1947, and I was astonished at how many parallels could be found in this fictionalized account of a French city hit hard by plague and our world today in a global pandemic. Wikipedia calls the book an “existentialist classic.” It certainly does reflect intently on the human condition, the meaning of suffering, the intent of God, and all those deep questions that I love but probably bore the average person. I intend to reread it again in a week or too, after I’ve considered it a bit more. It’s certainly a book I can recommend, although I’m not entirely sure that it lightened the emotional heaviness any.

The weather has been chilly, and my feet were aching badly due to my intense walking regimen. So I stayed inside for most of the week. I don’t like missing my usual exercise – deep water running in the Kroc Center pool. The Kroc Center is a recreation center located a little more than a mile from my apartment, a gift to the community from Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc. Generally, I run (yes, run) laps in the pool several times a week for a little more than an hour, which is about a mile and a vigorous workout. But the Kroc Center shuttered its facility the middle of March under the governor’s social distancing guidelines, and I’ve struggled to find a substitute. Well, all this is to say, I bought a bike.

My new bike.

I took a spin on the bike on Sunday. I believe it is the first time I’ve been on a bike in nearly forty years. Turns out, you really don’t forget how to ride. I’ll have to work up to any real distance, but this should help quite a bit as the weather warms up more.

Yesterday, we met up with my grandchildren, sitting outside in the piazza in front of Morris Civic Auditorium. We’re being exceedingly careful, since my son Zac is still going to his workplace every day. He’s our weak like. But we’ve done this a number of times in the past weeks, just to talk or walk together. Can I say for certain that the children are always at least six feet away from us? Probably not. But we do all try to follow the rules, and our visits help ease the loneliness for everyone.

My grandchildren, social distancing.

What else am I doing? I have a picture puzzle almost finished. I’m making masks out of blue shop rags, which posts on the Internet are claiming offer some decent filtering. I’m hand-washing much of our daily laundry, to put off using public laundry facilities as much as possible.

And, like everyone else is finding, enduring a month with all salons closed is taking a toll. My bangs no longer are bangs. Ordinarily I wouldn’t let my hair grow this long, but now that I can tie it back, maybe I’ll be less likely to touch my face.

Anna’s hair is getting long too, but thankfully it’s still holding a nice shape. I told her, if nothing else, there are always headbands.

An extended care facility about 13 blocks from our apartment building has become a local epicenter for COVID-19, with more than sixty confirmed cases and several deaths. Today another death was reported for our county (St. Joseph Co.), bringing the total fatalities here to 12. As of today there are 472 positive test results. Statewide, there are 670 deaths and 12,097 positive cases. If I understand correctly, we aren’t expected to peak locally for another two weeks yet.

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