Twenty-ninth Entry


Handwritten sign on white paper that says  Closed For Virus next to Business Hours list  

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

This morning, I was thinking that virtually no one in this city has gotten a haircut in over a month. For me, it has likely been two months.

Austria is opening up slowly.
The three-week-long Tour de France has been postponed until August 29.
In Japan, the number of Covid-19 cases has tripled in three weeks. Tokyo hospitals may be overwhelmed. In Osaka, where many people wore white gloves when I was there more than twenty years ago, there is an urgent call out for rain gear, even ponchos—anything to protect medical workers.

The TSA screened 90,500 passengers yesterday; one year ago the number was 2,466,000. That is barely four people instead of one hundred. No screening lines, assuming some TSA staff are working.
Ridership on NYC subways is down by 90%, but the trains are running.

Consumer spending was reported to be down by 8.7%. It must be higher in New York City. I have heard that consumer sales make up 66% of the US economy. Sometimes the number is 70% or higher. I don’t know exactly what that means; clearly, it indicates that we do a lot of shopping. Perhaps that is what now makes us “great”.

Last night, I walked around the corner to pick up my first take-out meal. I had never been to the place before, they were happy to have a customer. We had a gentle, present interaction as I collected my dinner and paid with cash. It was fun to eat something I had not cooked, and I felt fine doing so, since I had learned that the corona virus does not survive the digestive tract. I would get take-out more often if not for all the plastic.

This afternoon, while working, I listened to a typical radio interview, this one with a woman working from home and taking care of kids. The third grader was learning remotely but needed direction. In passing, with a list of other things, the mom said “I looked over and my youngest was at the edge of the yard eating a bush.”  Somehow that summed up these odd days.