1.105 shit gettin’ real

Monday 3/16/2020

Was going to go for a run this morning but woke to wet streets and drizzle. Plan B was to wait until the green pixels moved off the radar map and then go for a walk.

I used that couple of hours to start writing my agent query letter for Pelajis. I mentioned building a list of possible agents. Now I have to craft a query letter. The agent query letter is a peculiar literary form; it is as tightly compressed as a sonnet, aiming to describe the plot and the excitement of a book well enough that a jaded literary agent will be intrigued and request the full text to read. On Reddit I got a pointer to a great site, Query Shark, where for a decade a working agent has been critiquing people’s queries. She’s brutal about it. The directions for submitting your own query for dissection include, you must have read all the archives. That’s something like 300 posts. Well, I’m starting to read them. But this morning I also wrote a query letter, which I think stands up pretty well. However, I will keep reading all the archives for a while.

So, off on a walk, where I changed my plan twice. My first plan was to walk down Middlefield to Piazza’s market, pick up some peanut butter, and buy a pound of coffee at Peets. However, a short way into the walk I pictured walking into Peets, standing in line, with people around me. Sneezing germ-laden people. Do I really need this?

You know, I thought, I bet Peets sells online. Still walking, pull out phone, open Safari, tappy tappy uh-huh. Not only that but they are encouraging online sales in the current situation. OK, so I won’t go there. If I don’t go there, I’ll just go as far as Safeway and get peanut butter.

Same line of thought. Do I really need to go into Safeway? I bet I can get Skippy Super Chunk from Amazon Prime. So now I have no destination. I circle back via Embarcadero and Alma, stopping briefly at Ace Hardware to get a phillips bit to replace a worn out one. Also not necessary and I probably should have skipped that too.

Later in the afternoon came the announcement that all five Bay Area counties are mandating “shelter in place” for everyone. Closing restaurants and bars except for take-away. All non-essential businesses work from home. A cascade of emails follow.

  • From Channing house: until we have a case of COVID-19, which we don’t yet, the dining room remains open. However, housekeeping will now distribute linens and toilet paper weekly to your door, but will only clean your room once a month. The housekeepers are needed to do extra sanitation work.
  • From FOPAL: we’re closed, don’t come by.
  • From Sutter Health: you have a non-essential appointment coming up (eye exam), please reschedule it. I canceled it, since I think rescheduling short of September would be a waste of time.
  • From Channing House: we need volunteers to help housekeeping distribute linens to doors, and to make beds for residents who can’t make their own. I sign up.

I check Amazon. Huh. Skippy Super Chunk is out of stock and it is not known when it will be back. Damn hoarders.

Later in the day, an email on the internal list reminding that several groceries offer delivery or pickup. I go to the Safeway link and aha, I can set up a pick-up order for Friday morning (earliest available) for that peanut butter. Well, I have to put at least $40 in the cart, so I add a few other things. Friday morning then, I will take the car out for a 2-mile round trip. Which will be the first time this week, probably.


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