Tuesday, March 24, 2020

went into town today, five out of six of us, and came back to a peaceful mountain retreat where we expect to spend the next week or so, before we have to go back again. we'd gone ten or eleven days without going into town. we'd been virtually sequestered as a family. having three teenagers, it was no small feat. but in town, we had to stay in the same car.

we had a limited agenda. we got four five-gallon jugs of drinking water at the water place. we got groceries delivered at walmart, by the carload, and got some prescriptions. we went to mcdonald's; that was for the kids. and finally, we got gas; we were out of gas.

the kids watched out the window as we drove past the deserted town. people are not supposed to be out and about, although rumors that they were fining people or stopping them, i think, were false. for a moment i envisioned being stopped in a car with five, being asked why we were all different races, and having to explain that we were one family. but no, i don't think they are that militant about it. they have asked everyone to stay at home, to shelter in place, and we're doing it. most people are cooperating.

it's not like we have beaches in new mexico. but in fact, we have so few people, that if people were really violating the restriction, everyone would know it immediately. the kids seem to understand this in a basic way. we are not mean to them, or abusive; we are gentle, and in fact make very few demands on them. they are having an internet holiday, and only the youngest is bored, as she really loved the social interaction of school.

the oldest, eighteen, didn't even want to go to town. to him it's an excuse to stay home and do what he wanted to do anyway, make youtubes, play games, play on his computer. he's been monetized, i think, on his youtube channel, so we could consider it a kind of part-time job, and will stay that way over the summer, if he keeps at it. but mostly he's doing it because he wants to. you'd think after eleven days, he'd be in for going for a ride and seeing the area. no, not really. he's content to stay in his trailer, take his dog for a walk, and come around regularly for his dinner.

one kid is desperate for the mcdonald's. he started to break down in about the eighth day. a while ago he'd decided that nothing mom made was fried enough, or addictive enough, or whatever. he understands the price - now we are risking our lives, to take a ride down into town. but his point is, he needs it. bad. he needs it before he can even sleep.

people were keeping their distance at the water store. they had the door open, so you weren't breathing enclosed air. they had every other spigot closed, so you wouldn't be standing near someone as you served up your water. they were vigilant. but life was going on. it was clearly a new way of living. there were plenty of cars on the road; people were up and doing business. these places that dealt in food and water, they were selling plenty of food and water. and meds, lots of those too.

i'm wondering what "non-essential" really means. to me, alcohol, and a sit-down restaurant, they are non-essential; at mcdonald's of course we could do the drive-through. but other places? it's a kind of fuzzy line, and i could see arguing even about alcohol. well if booze is essential, how about pot? the world seemed to be going on. the thrift store, maybe, was closed. dollar shirts may be essential to some people, but it's an indulgence i suppose to most of us.

there were elk by the road, as usual, deer passing through. our canyon, as peaceful as ever. it's spring in the mountains, and i guess if some people are giving the message of hope, that's good, i'll hope. things seem to be moving both directions at once, like the stock market's wild fluctuation - wildly up one day, wildly down the other. they say, bring back the economy, and soon, and others say, stay home, please stay home. maybe both are possible. we'll stay home as long as we can, or at least until we know more. the damage could be severe, in the economy, but it seems to be picking up in nature. less traffic, better air, animals moving back in, dogs and cats getting to know their owners better.


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