Because memories can be tricky things

Hey everyone.

There may be a Murder Hobos episode later today or tomorrow morning, before the game starts. I’ve got one in mind, but something else is higher on the list of what I want to write currently.

I’ve read about people who think the COVID-19 is a hoax. That the numbers are being faked, etc. I can’t say a thing about numbers. Statistics aren’t my forte, but I lean more toward cases being under reported over purposefully inflated. As testing isn’t readily/widely available, it’s truly impossible to know if someone who stayed home because they had the flu really had a milder than normal case of this stuff. Others simply don’t like doctors and won’t go in and get tested. But this post isn’t about that.

It’s to record, for my own reference later and anyone else who reads this, just how freakishly fast life at ground zero (King Co. WA) changed.

I remember first hearing about the virus in the news in late February. As in the last 2-3 days of the month. There were a handful, less than 5 I think, of cases in a single nursing facility in Kirkland. For reference, that’s approximately 35 miles North of where I live. Close, yes, but not alarmingly so.

March 7th: we went to downtown Seattle, then a Sounders game with one of my co-workers. By then, people weren’t high-fiving each other. We were doing elbow bumps. Emerald City Comicon was postponed. We walked around Pike Place Market. Normally, on a Saturday afternoon, it’s packed. On that day, we were able to walk side by side. Less than half of the normal crowd was at the soccer match.

We were starting to wonder what was next.

March 10th: we went back into the city to pick up a dress and shoes I’d purchased on Saturday but couldn’t take home due to bag restrictions at the stadium. The shop had closed early due to a staff emergency. We went to eat dinner, discussed me heading up the next day on my own to pick up the outfit. Found out that the restaurant (one of our faves) was going to stop serving lunch starting the next day.

Business was that slow. People were staying away out of fear of the virus.

March 11th: I went up and picked up my purchases. The train up was dead. Coming back, there were a few more passengers but everyone sat separated. There was an active sense of needing separation just in case the other person was sick and didn’t know it. If one person, even a car up, coughed…heads turned. Hand sanitizer came out.

March 12th: we made the decision to move our D&D game online. One player was recovering from bronchitis. Others, or their housemates, have conditions that make them fall into the vulnerable category. We didn’t like it, but we would still be playing.

About this time, the SCA kingdom I participate in announced all meetings/fight practices/events were cancelled for the month of March. It’s now extended through May 10th. June events are being cancelled by individual branches.

March 12th: the Governor closed all public and private K-12 schools, effective March 17th. Our son’s district met in the classroom on the 13th and 14th, then sent everyone home. Earliest return date would be April 27th.

March 19th: while I’m at work, I find out that the company is closing the store. Not just ours, every store in the world. We would remain closed through April 1st, with pay, and the next work day would be April 2nd. I got a call later that day from one of the managers, giving me the hours of my next shift on that day.

March 23rd: Governor Inslee shut down the state effective the 25th, for at least two weeks. That would push my return to work out by an additional week. My husband’s job is considered essential, so he’s still going to work. One person, on third shift, did test positive for the virus. That’s the closest exposure we’ve had, that we know of. This person worked different hours, and in a different part of the building.

April 1st: I get word that the company will continue to pay us, though the stores are closed, through April 11th.

April 2nd: the Governor extended the stay home order until May 4th. We haven’t received word yet about the school district.

I haven’t received word yet about my job. My 2 week surprise but paid vacation is now going to be 6 weeks long. At a minimum. And no word if I’ll get paid the second half or not.

In 4 weeks, we’ve gone from watching a soccer match with friends to wearing masks to get groceries. From shopping to arguing with airlines about refunds because a trip has to be postponed (Broadway’s closed). From seeing friends every week and sharing a meal while rolling dice to being acutely aware when someone is too close.

This is a fundamental shift in who we are and how we relate with others. We have people out there, fighting to save us, and others who still think it’s no big deal. You can’t fix stupid. If someone is going to decide it’s nothing to worry about and set up a birthday party, I can’t stop them. I can only stop myself from going. And try really hard not to scream at them when they (or someone they love) gets sick or dies because they had to throw a party for a 2 year old.

The kid won’t remember it. They might die because of it.

When this has been slowed enough to allow some sort of a step back to what used to be normal, we will have been without a lot of things we took for granted for 6 weeks or longer. It’s going to have us rethink what’s important. Do you need to get new decorations for your house every year for each holiday/season? Or is what really matters that the ones you love – be they blood family or chosen family – can celebrate it with you?


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