Federal stormtroopers are in Portland rousting protesters. The president has a new pandemic strategy; he’s ignoring it. Not my problem, people! The other day I was riding down a residential street and saw a man outside, taking a smoke break. Above the waist: Oxford-blue shirt and tie. Below the waist: Some sort of shorts so flimsy they may have well been boxers. In one hand, a cigarette, in the other, his phone. His posture said: I am so sick of this shit.
So are we all, my friend. Someone messaged me the other day to tell me her boss had taken a shit during a Zoom call. Carried the laptop into the can with her and took care of business. No one said a word, because: The boss.
“Surely she thought she was on audio only?” I replied. “I mean, otherwise…” What conclusion could you draw from behavior like that? That she has dementia? My correspondent had no explanation. Needless to say, neither do I.
There’s a comet in the sky now, too, which would normally be something to marvel over, and it is, but on top of incompetent governments, played-out American workers and shitting-on-Zoom bosses, it feels like an omen. Like the star of Bethlehem, or the red comet in the Game of Thrones books that announces dragons are in the world again.
Today I spent an inordinate amount of time researching recipes for deep-fried tofu. Kate was coming for dinner, and I wanted to do a fake-chicken sandwich. It turned out OK. Concentrating on one stupid thing like a tofu marinade at least made a certain kind of sense.
So I took a bike ride. I looked at the water:
And I looked at the lighthouse, strictly ornamental:
I imagine there’s some sort of weather-recording equipment up there. All the charming details of seafaring – charts, maps, lighthouses – are now obsolete. GPS changed everything. On the other hand, maybe someday an electromagnetic pulse will take care of GPS, and we’ll be adding bulbs to that thing.
The fumbling of the virus was not a fluke: The American coronavirus fiasco has exposed the country’s incoherent leadership, self-defeating political polarization, a lack of investment in public health, and persistent socioeconomic and racial inequities that have left millions of people vulnerable to disease and death.
And in the Times:
Over a critical period beginning in mid-April, President Trump and his team convinced themselves that the outbreak was fading, that they had given state governments all the resources they needed to contain its remaining “embers” and that it was time to ease up on the lockdown.
In doing so, he was ignoring warnings that the numbers would continue to drop only if social distancing was kept in place, rushing instead to restart the economy and tend to his battered re-election hopes.
Casting the decision in ideological terms, Mr. Meadows would tell people: “Only in Washington, D.C., do they think that they have the answer for all of America.”
This is the world we live in. Let’s take it on for another week.