What the heck is Pence’s Secret Coronavirus Strategy? There’s certainly something to be said about the level of competence vice president Mike Pence has, the man supposedly leading the Coronavirus Task Force, when several of his colleagues have now been infected by the very disease they have the mandate to confine and presumably eradicate. Am I missing something here? Are these folks running the country from the White House really that arrogant and unworried? I mean, sure, for most people, it’s non-lethal. But how the fuck do they think they’re going to get rid of this plague if they don’t help reduce the spread? Herd immunity? Sacrificing a few hundred more American lives? Is that the untold strategy? If not, then what is the secret behind the blatant disregard for the safety measures most of the world has curbed up to?
Elle’s here now. Great to see her again. Feels like such a short while ago we were this tightly knit unit living together, eating most of our meals together, chatting, arguing, and just living a fairly ordinary family life in Malmö. Now nothing is the way it was and though we are all dealing with this odd, new reality as best we can, there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind rewinding the timeline about a year and appreciating how things were more than I did at the time.
Bitte, a brief girlfriend from the early 1980s (a Swedish gal, but with a German name) once advised me to never regret that which you cannot change. Great advice but nonetheless hard to live by. If we just survive this pandemic, something good will evolve. In fact, I’m sure there has already been plenty of positive consequences. Certainly environmentally.
It’s been like five months since I arrived from Spain and I don’t think I’ve stayed put in Sweden this long in more than 25 years. So at least my carbon footprint has gotten considerably smaller.
My younger sister and brother in Alaska have unfortunately contracted the virus. Both are fine so far and as far as I know, don’t have any underlying health issues. So they will hopefully pull through without too much pain or long-term suffering.
I’ve been subscribing to Apple Music for quite some time – three years? I don’t know. Yet I find myself mostly listening to Groove Salad, the electronica channel over at Soma FM. I’ve been a fan since about 2003 and to this day, most of the tunes on their playlist are still an aggregate of instrumental and easily digestible tunes that work perfectly as a backdrop for when I’m writing. I’ve been doing a lot that today and will continue doing just that going forward. Of my creative vents, writing fiction is by far the most challenging. But it’s also the most fulfilling. The hardest part? Avoiding self-editing while I’m writing. It absolutely kills the flow and distract me from weaving my stories. The image above is a redesign of my preferred radio station’s current logo which unlike their musical theme has not aged very well.
After living with so many months under the shadows of big, bold headlines conveying disaster, tragedy, and destitution related to the pandemic, you end up expecting nothing less when you log on to NYT, SVD, or LAT. Classic conditioning. Our unconscious friend is still unconscious and we are still hoping for a miraculous turnaround – but preparing, mostly subconsciously, for sadness.
I shot this one morning while we were living on the outskirts of Hoi An in central Vietnam. We continue to make our coffee this way, but man, that trip feels super distant right now. Not just because of the time lapsed from October until now. The whole world was different back then. Nobody had any concerns about spreading or being infected by a virus. No hidden suspicious or irrational fears. A time when handshakes and hugs were abundant and generously shared. We shopped at open-air markets, enjoyed street food and didn’t wash our hands more than before meals and after toilet visits.
I doubt there has ever been a time in the history of our species where humans have been more preoccupied with self-negotiating and micromanaging our lives. Here in Sweden, where there is no lockdown, shelter in place or judicially enforced restrictions, we are admittedly more or less free to go wherever we want and socialize, albeit in small groups.
Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone is concerned about making decisions that could either be potentially life-saving or life-threatening. From what I have seen in Ängelholm, Malmö and Lund, few people, particularly younger folk, seem to take much notice of what’s going on in Spain, Italy and the US.
I totally get that the younglings feel invincible and that life seems blissfully eternal. They should absolutely feel this way – it’s like a prerequisite for their age and enables them to reach further, jump higher and instantly bounce back when they inevitably fail and fall. And I like to think that to a degree, I still have that mentality in place. But, being a middle-aged man with a mild case of asthma and a father that definitely wants to experience what it’s like being a grandfather, I am one of those paranoid dudes that constantly self-negotiates and weighs pros and cons of many of my most rudimentary daily decisions. Perhaps not so much while being fairly isolated here in Vejbystrand. But I am super-conscious of how I am feeling and even the slightest hint of a headache, sniffle, cough, or, really any strange feeling that occurs in my body, puts me in a state of hyperawareness. Oh, did I mention that I have a mild case of Hypochondria?