14 thoughts on “Sheltering in Place”

  1. Welcome to my world.

    It’s actually not so bad, as long as people are just here to visit.

    – I’ll be glad when things get back to “normal” so that everybody goes back to their world, and lets me enjoy mine.

    – I’ll be glad when things are back to “normal” so I can get my power steering fixed on the car.

    Beyond that, I’m fine.

    When everything is “normal” I enjoy going out into the world and getting my “people vitamins”. During this time when everybody is jangled I see that everyone will be more comfortable with me staying home. I will be more comfortable as well, since going out would expose me to so many people who are upset and radiating anxiety. Those vibes are not fun to be exposed to. People are not fun when they are upset.

    During “normal” times everybody is happy to see me at their restaurant, store or Post Office. Now, not so much.

    I need everybody to relax and enjoy this time of quiet contemplation. Sadly, it is a unique opportunity that most people will not appreciate while it’s happening, or even remember once everything is back to “normal”.

    In terms of Story, I can’t see anything that I can use in future projects. I haven’t even bothered to set up a folder to put things in. I’ve seen all the movies, read all the books. I’ve collected stuff like this my whole life, and am deeply familiar with most stories, and events are not matching fiction.

    This is not Contagion with Matt Damon.
    – Watched that again the week before things got strange.

    This is not The Stand by Stephen King.
    – Busy reading the original again.

    A rough Timeline of events:

    Just as everything started, I went to Sam’s Club on a Wednesday to get my usual 12 inch apple pie, they were out, so got a big wheel of cheese cake — with various flavors — instead.

    That Friday I went to Albertson’s and got my usual stuff, just as the Governor closed all schools for three weeks.

    The next Monday, my friend who contracts with the Department called me for lunch, and we found a place that was open, seating every other table to space people out.

    Then Wednesday, the Governor shut down the restaurants except for take-out or drive-through.

    Today we are ordered to “stay home”, not “shelter in place” they have different legal meanings here in New Mexico.

    Interesting things I’ve seen so far:

    I got to see a “run” on Sam’s Club. A “run” on Albertson’s.

    I’ve stopped watching the news because all those gregarious people in the news rooms seem to be going out of their mind with anxiety when they can’t stand close to others or touch them whenever they want. All those “happy smiling people” are not so much anymore.

    This clip from the PBS Newshour is beyond bizarre, to me. They are all in their own screens.

    Shields and Brooks on American life amid a pandemic

    I’m now going to go have a piece of cheese cake for supper, and watch episodes from the TV series Sanctuary, then read more of The Stand.

    I’m not quite sure how to close this post without offending jangled people. Try not to make a mess, or start rioting. Was that too much? Oh, well. . .

  2. Well, me, I’ve been here before more or less.
    That time there was no going out because everything was shut down.
    Now there’s places to go but it is more prudent not to go.
    Big difference: online is working. Streaming makes up for a lot. Plus hour by hour global updates. Small consolation

    I can deal with it.
    Beats waiting out a zombie apoca or asteroid impact.
    (I do see story fodder for an asteroid impact story.)
    As is, I expect the worst will be over just in time for hurricane season.

    • Felix,

      This is the one article that was worth harvesting.

      Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘SuperSpreaderʼ

      I’m feeling a bit loquacious of late, since everyone is trapped at home, and I have their attention.

      I went out into the World today to go to the Post Office and Sam’s Club. Everybody was well behaved, not making a mess or rioting, just as I asked. Well done.

      Sam’s had my 12 inch apple pie, so things are getting better. As I finished at the self-checkout, I lifted my pie, turned to the lady behind me and gently laughed, pointing out that this was my “essential”. Smiling, she agreed with me, and I was on my way.

      Concerning novels about “asteroid strikes”, the one I like best is Lucifer’s Hammer, by Niven and Pournelle.

      – I like the irony that the one guy who did everything right, drying meat, stockpiling booze for barter, had everything burn when his van was hijacked.

      – I like the one group who were wise enough to carry a large cooking pot everywhere they went, because unless you fully cook human flesh, you can get sick.

      You see, sailors and castaways referred to people as “long pig” because we taste like pork.

      – Yes, see, I did go there. Deal with it. People must know these things so that they are prepared.

      That reminds me. The Friday, when the Governor closed the schools for three weeks, I was at Albertson’s when they were having the “run” on the store. All the people had full carts because the kids would be home for three weeks and they had to feed them.

      They were consolidating the kids in one house so that the parents could work. That made sense.

      When the people would say that they had to stock up because the kids would be home:

      – I did not ask, why didn’t they have essential food in the house for a least a month as a rule.

      – I did not point out, that if the house ran out of food, they should Sacrifice one kid to feed the many.

      – I did not point out, that though the small kids were the most succulent, that they needed to butcher and eat the oldest child first.

      – I did not point out, that they had to be sure the meat was fully cook to avoid sickness.

      – Remember, that’s important to know.

      None of that seemed to be appropriate at the time, so instead, I gently smiled, never grinning. Grinning in those situations seems to upset people. So to help keep the crowd calm, so that they would not make a mess or riot, I gently smiled and made the occasional joke. I would hold up a bag of Lindt Lindor 60% chocolate and say, this is my “essential”.

      BTW, I do apologize if anyone was drinking tea while reading that last bit, and ended up spraying all over their monitor. These things happen.

  3. FWIW, for anybody interested in the progress of the pandemic, MSN has an excellent live database that is not only country by country but (where available) region by region. For the US that means county by county. Or parish, for Louisiana.


    It provides context that the panic sprrading media ignores: the pandemic is not uniformly spread. There are lots and lots of counties with but one infection and many states with double digit totals.

    The other distinction the media doesn’t make is between the infected totals and the critically ill.
    The US has over 50,000 total infected, which exceeds the total number of ICU beds (50,000 out of a national total of nearly a million), but of those less than 1,200 (to date) are critical.
    Context matters.

    One nugget: Westchester county near NYC (very upscale) has more infected than all of California plus Washington state. NYC is 60% of NY state which is 40% of the US total. (NYC plus adjacent counties Nassau and Westchester add up to over 80% of the state.) Add in NJ and Connecticut and maybe half of the national total is in the tri-state megapolis.

    Story fodder if you stop and think. Concentrating people is not good, come pandemic time.
    And China is creating a 100M unified urban area.
    Yeah, great idea Emperor Xi.

    • Also good insights here:


      Their live database is sortable and they keep an achive going to February at the bottom.
      Their table includes columns for infections per capita and deaths per capita.

      Again, potentially useful story fodder about where and how real pandemics act.

      Something to do while sheltering in place other than writing or watching video.
      (Or replaying Fallout 4).

  4. So this thing finally let me create a login. Not sure why it didn’t before now, but glad it finally let me.
    We are supposed to shelter in place, which isn’t great for kids because they closed the parks and playgrounds. The kids miss their friends too. Elementary school kids are going to be bouncing off the walls.

    • Amazon made all their digital kids content free for subscribers.
      Audible, Freetime, ebooks, and Prime.
      A good time to do a free trial or one month signup if you’re not a member.

      (As for signing up, I was running out of email addresses until I thought to use a VPN. It kept creating accounts but never returning the activation email. Word press seems to think some locations are more equal than others.)

    • My local school principal leads the pledge of allegiance every morning at 8:35 in a live facebook stream, followed by helpful tips for parents. My 5th grader’s teacher uses Google Classroom to hand out book sections to study and related assignments which are handed in the same way. She leads periodic classroom lectures using Google Hangouts Meet, which is hangouts for groups of 50 or less. Hangouts is also used to do small group projects with peers. His mom is riding herd and I try to take him out for PE at noontime. This kid is as busy as we are.

      • The whole point of being homeschooled is NOT having to get up for nonsense at 8 am.

        Learn the new rules, learn to be efficient with learning, learn not to waste time on the timewasters provided continuously by schools.

        Dig into something in depth. Read a whole book in a day. Watch your favorite cartoons. Do something real. Like cooking. Or laundry – you know, skills you will need in college.

        Most of all, learn how much you actually like your own kids.

  5. PG. Shelter in place and stay home does not – or should not – mean you can’t go out for a walk. Doing so is very important to mental health, IMO.

    It also helps to support your local restaurants that have figured out how to do take-out (which most localities allow.)

    If you are personally concerned about social distancing, as I am, investigate grocery pick-up. Order online and pick up at store without going inside.

  6. Shelter-in-place means I get a chance to unbury myself from my Must-Do List, aka, “the avalanche.”

    I can’t fathom being bored in this situation, because there are so many projects! In one lull, I finally got around to installing the bigger SSD I’d bought ages ago. I downloaded all the games backlogged on GOG and Steam that I never got a chance to play. I may get to them just as Shelter-in-Place ends 🙂

    During another lull, I got a chance to finally watch HBO’s “Chernobyl.” Highly recommend it.

    Speaking of Allynh’s “cannibalism” plots, there was a scene in the second episode of Chernobyl where Emily Watson’s character is dealing with a government official who refuses to order the evacuation of Pripyat. He was obese, maybe 400 pounds, which was suspicious in a land where the grocery stores are so sparsely stocked that Yeltsin was astonished by a Texan supermarket. It made me think of the episode of “Biography,” where they focused on Andrei Chikatilo’s upbringing during the Great Terror, when Ukrainians were starved. Allegedly his brother was killed by cannibals.

    “You didn’t want to see a fat guy approaching you during that time,” a historian observed.

    Chikatilo grew up to become a Soviet Jeffrey Dahmer. But neither man was fat, so also beware of thin men with that “lean, hungry look.”

    Then there was the plot Anne Applebaum documented in “Gulag,” where two gulag escapees take a fat friend with them, with the intention of turning him into dinner on their trek. But once they ate him, they realized they still had miles and miles to go, and only each other left … Beware of your skinny-jean friends, if you are Rubenesque.

    Well. That was a dark set of plot bunnies …

  7. Things become much more dire, and the sheltering properly more critical, when you are in any of the ‘unworthy’ groups which will not get appropriate medical care (not that we get it now) in a time of rationing due to horrible planning: older, chronically ill, or disabled.

    The antithesis of enjoying retirement.

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