Joining the Roaming Horde

Today was a better day. Being proactive and taking my situation into my own hands, I started a garden. It is the middle of march and while there is still frost I was able to pull out some old recycling containers and turned them into planters. We have a home composter in the back yard along with a large concrete patio and little land to speak of. The garden will have to work with what we have. Small, nutritionally dense foods will be planted tomorrow and I will turn most of the beds into cold frames with plastic wrap. Getting outdoors and doing the physical labor was more enjoyable than I anticipated. Plus I could spend some time with my two year old daughter who helped clean the yard.

We went for a walk to a nearby park and watched as people purposely avoided one another. The wind was cold and the sun shined down without a cloud in the sky. I spotted a few jets but nothing to brag about. I have a feeling the airlines will be shut down soon people will be forced to stay indoors. After today I think I’m okay with that. There is and always will be something I should have bought. I should have bought Doritos, a Kevlar vest, or that cabin up north. But mostly I should have bought Doritos.

I watched a couple of Crackheads, sorry if that is politically incorrect (not sorry), check out at one of the local shops today. The guy appeared alright for the most part, the girl on the other hand had tattoos on her face and acted like she was on something. I’m guessing heroin. Her speech was slurred and she kept bobbing her head in any direction too lazy to make an effort to control it. These are the people I worry about the most. They fall through the cracks. They won’t get $1000 this month like the rest of the country, they don’t have an address to send it to. They will be on the streets looking for a place to stay, a home with no one in it to score some prescription drugs, or just rob someone for a quick score. Times will be tough for everyone and some will make things difficult for others.

Snack foods are quickly disappearing and while I wish I could still buy a burger I am finding some enjoyment from making my own meals. I worry about eggs, milk, and other items disappearing but what can you do. I don’t have chickens and the closest protein source is the stray cats outside and the tree rats that dig up my yard. Thankfully I have charcoal for the grill and eventually that one bottle of BBQ sauce will come in handy. GO bags are coming together the only problem is trying to figure out which firearm I would leave the home with if we had to Get Out. Sometimes I wish life was like a video game where I could carry two rifles, a pistol and a knife without thinking about the weight and ammo. I have my tools that I enjoy and the ones I wish I could become more familiar with. I could always bury a few in the backyard and come back for them later but who does that. If you have to leave you are never coming back and that is the reality.

Hunkering down means a serious commitment to staying in one place. This is the wild west and I am a settler surrounded by natives that have no interest in me being here. How do I get my point across that I am here to stay? I can see a time, after everything is said and done, when the powers that be have a policy “what happened during the plague stays during the plague.”

I picked up my weights today for the first time since my second daughter was born on February 16. It’s been a month and I have to say it felt good. The dumb bells didn’t feel as bad as I thought they would. The pushups were labored but I always hated doing them. It felt good and hopefully I can keep it up, working out every morning like I had before my world was turned upside down in more ways than one. I took my katana out of storage and set it in the study just in case. Using that is a workout I may need to brush up on. It has been a decade since I seriously took it out and cut the air with that blade.

My pipe is retired for the moment, the sweet taste of Virginias and nutty burley will have to stay in storage until everything is done. Turns out tobacco aggravates the virus and makes the infection worse than it needs to be. I can’t even smoke to take the stress off. Fuck you Coronavirus, I hope you burn in the lowest pits of hell. Thankfully my wine cellar is stocked and I should be good for a few months. After that, I might join the roaming horde looking for a nice Cabernet. You have been warned.


The Coming Lockdown


I have heard it more than once, “China set the example for how to stop this pandemic.” What that means? The people who horded food and other provisions will be the ones more likely to survive. Extreme measures were taken in China. People had their doors nailed shut from the outside so they could not leave their apartments. The number of cases hidden. Doctors were silenced because their openness about the illness making the country look bad. Countries continue to follow a path and the United States is no different. I have a friend that says he is leaving town if martial law is declared. The problem with that thinking is that when it is announced, it’s too late. There are rumors of interstate travel bans and the country going into lockdown. The CDC recommended an 8-week shutdown of all nonessential businesses and services.

John Oliver, TV host and comedian from the UK, recorded a show with no audience or background. They filmed in a white room, like the one Neo woke up in while training in the Matrix. No laugh track was used. The jokes lost much of their punch. Without someone there to validate his humor the show was flat and empty. He made valid points but without an audience what was the purpose? That appears to be our lives these days, living for the sake of living with few people to share the experience with. Should this be so difficult? Wasn’t this what our ancestors did before a hundred years ago, before cellphones and internet, a time when the newspaper and radio were the only sources of outside information. Man has lost its ability to function without electronic tools like the laptop I am writing this post on. I prefer a typewriter, a machine with one purpose and function. The laptop is designed to distract making any task take longer than it needs, taking us away from what really matters.

Yesterday I went for a hike in the woods with my family. My daughter crying that she wanted to go home and my wife losing her mind unable to enjoy the hour we had walking along the stream. I remember when this wasn’t difficult, when a child could find something to play with and enjoy. There is a hope that this will bring us back closer to what is really important. The stock market dropped another 3000 points today and while the talking heads on the television were discussing a depression or market volatility most people I know didn’t care. Already poor or accepting that their retirement was gone last week there is little apathy for a system that repeatedly screwed them over time and time again.

I have a feeling that my three-week mandatory leave will be extended and that we have not seen the end of things to come. The National Guard is already an hour north from me in Grand Rapids handing out food to those who could not afford to run to the store. Humvees should spray paint “free candy” on the sides while building the trust of those who may be locked away later for curfew violations or congregating in groups of ten or more. We are living in a dystopian novel and while China acted out 1984 America is heading towards It Can’t Happen Here.

The disease is real, I have no doubt about that. The opportunity to use it for some other end is there. The odd thing is that no matter who we vote for, the end will turn out the same. The gears are turning and the person who ends up in that oval office will do the same thing regardless of promises made on the podium. I don’t know the exact path we are on but Iran is digging mass graves, Italy can not keep up with the number of cases in their fully modern healthcare system, the UK is finishing their breakup with the EU by closing their borders completely, and even Mexico is not letting Americans in as an odd twisted revenge handed down by fate. America will put its own twist on it as we do with all things. We might have crematoriums instead of mass graves to create jobs. Interstate travel might be banned while counties do the same thing per state. At this point the government can do what it wants since they declared a national emergency, at such a time all civil rights are suspended. Throw in the NDAA and Patriot Act and well, you sir, are shit out of luck. What is surprising is the number of conspiracy theorists that have not used this virus to argue their agenda. I remember a time when Agenda 21 was a common topic. Somehow everyone became so fixated on this virus that these theories about a New World Order and martial law had been forgotten while the plot of a poorly written dystopian novel acts out in our own lives.

Target was silent today. Long lines extended out from the three aisles the store had open. A girl walked around cleaning the debit card reader between every interaction using window cleaner. I shook my head and ignored her when she asked if I would like the machine cleaned before use. Two aisles of cleaning material that kill 99.9 percent of germs and she uses glass polish with a brown paper towel. Just infect me now why don’t you? Get it over with? Everyone from the federal government to the supermarket do not appear to be taking this pandemic seriously and I am mentally exhausted. Is that the point, to ware us down so that we will just go alone with anything in the end?

After this the world will try to come together. One currency will be suggested along with wiping away the debt. Surveillance will be the new normal, although it already is. Medical records will be public knowledge for the safety of all. Thought police will make social justice warriors look like the internet trolls they are.

I think about these things. I could be a task to try to make sense of all of this, hoping that there is some plan, no matter how evil it would be, that was set in motion for some purpose. We have a desire for fate. Answers for those things that randomly happen. The longer this goes on the less random it is and the more people become responsible. People are dying and this will continue. When it is over there will be a push to move on and try to forget what happened without forgetting the lesson learned of washing your hands. The government will pat themselves on the back talking about how great their response was and how many lives they saved. Bills will be passed to make sure nothing like that will happen again, even though it will, and you will lose more rights for the sake of some deranged utopia.

Then I wake up. Its all a dream. I’m still here in my bedroom with a crying child on the other side of the wall and bills coming in the mail. Regardless of the fantasy world we create for ourselves to make sense of the mess our lives are there is a reality that pulls us back in. The coronavirus is not here yet in my county at least but the rest of the people around me act like it is and maybe that will be our saving grace. I hope that this virus is just a simple bug that we can figure out and forget about in the end. It’s appearing to be something more, a life changing phenomenon that will be with us the rest of our lives. The past two weeks have felt like 9-11 every single day. I didn’t realize what was happening that day and weeks later I was still processing it. It wasn’t until months later that my 21-year-old mind comprehended what had happened. People I knew where going to war and a president I didn’t vote for was turning the country into a fully divided two party system. Every morning I wake up and have to remind myself that this is the apocalypse and that my daughter needs her diaper changed, the baby needs to be fed, and unless I feel like being a total psycho for the rest of the day, I need to make some coffee. At least in the end we still get to have coffee, so I have that going for me.