Close Call with COVID

Around the end of last year, someone I know went somewhere with me and sort of overlooked the fact that he and his wife had respiratory symptoms. One day later he called me to say he had tested positive, his wife negative.

I spent the next 2 weeks as quarantined as possible. I work remotely, so that was pretty – quarantined. I did not go anywhere in public. There were a couple of occasions where I had to enter a building briefly, but I stayed well away from people. My wife had been to a doctor’s office (routine visit) the morning of the day we got the news, so I told her to call them. Their reaction was pretty blasé.

A few days after getting this news, I came down with bronchial symptoms (fairly mild). I saw a tele-doc, who agreed with me that the symptoms did not seem to add up to COVID, but to keep an eye on it and go to emergency care if fever, loss of taste and smell, etc. resulted. She prescribed vitamins and an inhaler. And took the opportunity to get on to me about making sure my blood pressure is under control. Over 2 weeks later, these symptoms have largely subsided, and I have resumed my usual (but still pretty cautious) ways.

All of this was peaking around the time Trump once again tried to circumvent the election on January 6.

All of the above may serve to help illustrate why people deny it’s a real thing and why it keeps spreading. It’s almost like Schrodinger’s cat. One person taken and another left (my friend is fine; his symptoms were also fairly mild; apparently his wife never caught it). I wonder if I didn’t catch whatever virus (not COVID) my friend may have passed along from his wife. The farther it goes, the less we seem to know.

Make no mistake; I believe COVID is a real thing. We should wear masks, isolate, and take the vaccine. Beyond that, I think we’re doing a lot of imaginary things around it, because we still know less than we think.

Real Life Update (and last Twitter auto-update)

In which I make the usual excuses and focus on the collective, veering slightly to the personal

Very early in the Trump administration, I posted something that began with my favorite one-line poem-within-a-poem. Reynolds Price attributed it to Robert E. Lee, but I strongly suspect Price wrote it himself:

A country emptied by the fear of war.
from The Dream of Lee, Reynolds Price

And in that post, One Nation, I mused in a stream-of-consciousness way about the implications of a Trump administration and the way social media keeps eating our brains. If this scrap of writing has no other value, it reminds me that I had some awareness that something was up vis-a-vis the Russians at a very early date. Not that this makes me any kind of a prophet: quite the contrary. Questions about Facebook’s passive involvement or acceptance of such events were quickly swirling. But the nature of Orwell’s memory hole being what it is, it feels like something from a later stage.

Anyway, I wrote very little poetry after that. I have two intervening entries, one of which I actually wrote in early 2019 after kind of a spiritual shock, promptly forgot about in drafts, and have just published.

While I did not vote for the man, I have been impatient with the notion of letting someone live in my head. Not long after the inauguration, I had to dismiss a developer who worked for the company I then ran, because he became obsessed with the matter so thoroughly that he was not getting any of our work out the door. This tragedy (if I may use that term about losing a job as a developer) stuck with me – we need to soldier on, and keep working.

At least, that was my thought. If we consider the importance of “doing the work” in the sense that councilors, preachers, gurus and bartenders mean it, I have badly neglected the work.

As have we all, perhaps – since we find ourselves where we are. I thought about Price/Lee’s one-liner often at the beginning of the end of the Trump administration – COVID-19. The line worked perfectly. Taking “war” as metaphorical, it’s exactly where we’ve been for almost a year now (one may muse on the thought that “emptying” for a short while would have greatly reduced the toll of this particular war, but let’s keep moving).

One of the ideas behind my blog is that we creative writers veer between trying to create something eternal while being as stuck in the present as much as anyone – so keep shipping some code poetry and don’t worry about whether something ages or dates. But I have badly neglected the work.

Another thing that changed in the last two years – I was very underemployed for a year (so – worried about going bankrupt) and then got a fantastic job with a hosting company (so – learning that job, traveling a LOT before COVID hit.

Excuses, excuses. I thought about this blog frequently – and then scrolled Facebook or Reddit some more. Exhausted at the remains of the day, to evoke Ishiguro’s fabulous phrase.

And then the symptoms hit, which perhaps all creative types recognize. Sadness, to the point of tears. Bouts of nostalgia. Not being able to sing a silly song about Jesus without getting emotional, and not about your bad chord changes. Reading one’s own past work and tearing up, which may be the ultimate in narcissism.

I’d better get back to work.

One last thing: I’m unhooking the Twitter auto-post function after this post. I may tweet there occasionally, or may not, but something about social media bothers me right now, and feels like part of the problem.

Ideas and no time to write

More to do with professional life and prose writing than poetry, but just about every day at work now I get another idea for a work-related blog post and/or the need to write some copy for something. It has not been a big part of my job in the past, but my role is changing a bit and I’m finding myself more in a marketing role.

This would be absolutely fantastic for me as a writer if I had the time to do the work… unfortunately my concentration gets splattered all over the pavement on a daily basis. I have noticed that every single thing I do raises the idea of two more things I need to get done; this is the reflexive response of my boss/client. There’s a poem in there somewhere, as well as a Zen koan.


Line Breaks

Test line
Hot damn 
By downloading Apple Pages
from the Apple Store
I now have an editor
which lets me do line breaks.This isn’t really poetry,
but it does have line breaks.

Now if I can turn off auto-capitalize in preferences…

On My Complete Conversion to Apple Products

More of a “still alive” post than anything else.

On one of my blogs back in 2010 or so I dimly remember this “LOL whut” kind of post that I made from an Apple store. My son’s iPod Touch, which was fairly new, had broken down and I was there, and a little bit on the edgy side, to get it fixed.

I seem to remember thinking the iPads were kinda stupid. Now I’ve got one of those, of course, along with an iPhone, a Mac Mini, and a Macbook Pro. The Mini and the Macbook have only recently come into my life because of a job; I’d remained a resolute Windows user until this past month. I changed jobs this year from a Windows shop to a place where the owner wants everyone on a Mac.

All I lack now is one of those watches, but I’m still in “LOL whut” mode about them.

Participation Mystique

Re-reading William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition made me sadly wistful for a time in the recent past, when the book’s heroine Cayce Pollard could seem hip, cool, and high-tech by cabling up a cell phone to an iBook and sending emails to people. She could do almost everything she does in the book now with an iPhone, as owned by every high school student.Read More »