1.104 FOPAL, novel

Sunday 3/15/2020

For the first time in decades I did not walk out to a coffee shop for my Sunday morning paper and nosh. I was going to; and then I asked myself (actually I kind of was hearing Marian’s very grounded, practical voice), “Can I really justify exposing myself to coffee shop servers and customers, for that?”

The thing is, however small the risk, I don’t take it on my own behalf. When I expose myself to possible infection, I am in a real sense, exposing my 240 Channing House neighbors also. If I was still living alone at Tasso street, fuck yeah I’d go. But things are different now. If–or should I say when?–the virus gets in here, people are going to die. If we can make it with no illness through the year to a vaccine, it will be a major triumph for the CH management and residents. It’s not likely, really; but as long as our streak maintains, I don’t want to jeopardize it.

So from a boring breakfast in the dining room I went to FOPAL. I was the first person there, and the only one as long as I stayed, which was 2-1/2 hours, to 11:30. I did a bang-up job if I do say so, sorting at least 15 boxes of books, carrying 12 filled boxes out to their proper sections; and to top it off, at the end I got out the vacuum cleaner and cleaned the pig-sty of a floor in the sorting room. Turned out the lights and left, imagining the surprise and pleasure of the next volunteers in: open floor space and clean and tidy.

This work is I think, pretty virus-safe. Latest I’ve read is that live virus can survive on cardboard for at most a day. So all those boxes and books that have been sitting for at least a day (mostly for weeks), to be sorted, are virus free. I wore latex gloves just the same, and sanitized my hands when I left.

In the afternoon I read about how to write cover letters to agents. And wrote up a short account of my London trip for the CH newsletter. Which made me imagine riding the Underground when now, two months later, the corona virus is a reality. Brrrrrr.

Later in the day came word that

  • The Vi, a nearby upscale senior residence, has a COVID-19 case.
  • All staff and residents will have their temperature checked on entry to the building. There’s a new temperature check station set up in the lobby.
  • Governor Newsome has issued a proclamation urging all people over 65 to remain in their homes.

I went down to supper at 6:30, but the remaining entree choice was not appetizing, nor suitable for take-out in a box, so I returned to the room and made a cheese and salami sandwich.



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