On this first episode of ‘What a Difference a Week Makes’ we’ll be exploring how life has changed in Valencia, and around the world, in just the last 7 days. Today, we are contemplating things we couldn’t imagine even a week ago.
THIS JUST IN – according to Candy Field of Portland, Oregon, USA (aka my Mom) – the local grocer Fred Meyer is requiring their warehouse workers to put in mandatory overtime work. To show their appreciation they are giving each worker 6 rolls of toilet paper as a reward at the end of each shift. You thought I was kidding about toilet paper being the post-pandemic currency? Think again.
I told Jeff about it and he just said ‘You’re shitting me.’ and that’s where we are now.
ON TO OTHER NEWS – I took the garbage and recycling out yesterday. I was going to film this momentous event for you to enjoy along with me – I haven’t left the building in days – but I was more focused on the task and somehow, I wasn’t quite sure you’d want to see it.
It felt weird being out there. When I breached the glass front doors there was not a person on the street. I ran around the small strip of grass in front of the building. I cut it too short and stumble but was able to right myself. Arriving at the dumpster, I stepped on the lever and was able to trigger the heavy lid with my own puny weight. I threw the garbage into the vast space, took my foot off the lever, hearing the lid slam; then turned to run across the street – dangerously without looking – and made my way to the recycling receptacles.
I had glass, plastic and paper and it was tricky because I was all alone. But one by one I was able to deposit the contents of the bags safely where they might be handled by the professionals. I turned towards the building when I notice I was not alone. There was a woman on the same sidewalk with her dog. We eyed each other with suspicion. Even the dog gave me a wide berth. She puller her coat up over her face and I ran towards the building, not feeling safe until the glass doors closed behind me. Sealing me in my pandemic sarcophagus. Whew! I made it home.
ON THE HOME FRONT – Amazon delivered today – they’re an exception to the movement ban. The buzzer went off for the front door. Jeff raced to answer it and the guy asked what floor. Jeff went to the door, as he always does to wait for the delivery person – NIE card at the ready. He heard the elevator go to the bottom, and then the sound change telling him it was on the way up. Finally the door opened. The deliver guy wasn’t in there – just the package. So our elevator is a dumbwaiter now. Good information to have going forward.
BREAKING NEWS – Jeff and I spotted a rare creature these days in Valencia. Homo Sapien Big Brass Ballsus is the official scientific name. Jeff looked out the living room window and said ‘Come here and look at this.’ I did and I, too, was amazed at what I saw.
There was a man – an older man – across the street sitting on a bench eating a sandwich. When he finished, he put away his napkin and pulled out a book and began to read.
‘What does he think he’s doing?’ I asked Jeff. ‘Is he crazy?’
We were both breathless.
‘I don’t know. LOOK! He’s put down his book and now he’s taking something else out of his bag. What is is?’ My eyes squinted. ‘I think it’s a candy bar of some kind. He’s unwrapping it. Taking a bite. Now he’s putting the rest back.’
‘No! He’s picking up his book again. He’s going to read right there, outside, in broad daylight!!’
We watched him for 5 minutes – I wish I was kidding – until the cops came and hauled him off. So – yeah. That’s where we’re at.
AND FINALLY – Sadly, I just spoke with a friend back in the US. His company is laying off 75% of its workers in the next week. So many people will have their lives and livelihoods made insecure by this pandemic. Let’s be kinder and gentler to ourselves and each other. There’s no other way we’ll get through it in one piece.
For my part – I’m grateful for all of you every day – who read the absolute nonsense of what I write. There are those who wouldn’t think I’d have so much to say while trapped in a small apartment during a pandemic, but they’d be wrong. You all are with me on this journey called life. I’m so glad you’ve stayed.