Monday, March 23, 2020
5:15 am—Wake-up. After a stretch I sit and contemplate what the day holds—applying for disaster relief, answering emails, refilling prescriptions, doing the laundry, and writing. None of that sounds appealing to me so I look at Rupee, our elderly Chihuahua, who is still sleeping, and consider what movie to watch tonight. Then the pissing and the day.
6:30 am—I’ve been at the computer for an hour and already consumed a pot of coffee. Time for breakfast. As I open the refrigerator door, Rupee springs to life and is at my feet, tail wagging. No eggs. Rouses has been out for two days now. Fruit and cheese it is. And chocolate. Always chocolate. Rupee devours his kibbles and I take him outside for his morning toilette. Back to the computer. This morning is the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan website. I’ve been visiting it daily for almost a week now waiting for that vile creature in the White House to make the necessary declaration qualifying small businesses in Louisiana as eligible for relief. Today I finally get past the “Where do you live?” question.
10:45 am—Still on the SBA website, 79% complete when it crashes. No matter, I’ve saved the application at every screen. Call in prescription refills.
11:00 am—Wander out onto the balcony and take in the desolation and silence. That’s perhaps the most striking aspect of the lockdown—the silence. No Marshall in drag crooning or singing opera. No drunken tourists yelling cat-calls. No delivery trucks beeping in reverse. No construction noise. No one honking his horn at the car that has stopped at the intersection that doesn’t have a stop sign. No cars, for that matter. Nothing really, not even the highly annoying soap hawkers downstairs. As they say, there is a bright side to everything.
11:15 am—Back to the computer. Working on my next book—a biography of activist Stewart Butler, who died earlier this month—I think of Kenny Rogers, whose death the other day hardly anyone seemed to notice. Given the situation, it’s fair to say he knew “when to fold them.”
1:30 pm—On my walk to Walgreens, a guy on a bike slows down and coasts beside me while I’m walking. He points to my shoes and before he can get a word out I pause, give him my best resting bitch-face, at an angle, and say contemptuously, “Really?” He starts to speak and I put my index finger to my mouth and say calmly and slowly, “I am not giving you any money.” He looks at me as if I just checked in from another planet and says, “I ain’t no begguh. I got weed for sale.” Oh, okay.
2:45 pm—I’m proofreading the endnotes for one of the chapters in my new book when I get a text from a professional acquaintance who is devoutly Catholic (and apparently assumes I am too) informing me Archbishop Aymond has tested positive for COVID-19 and that I should say a rosary. Honestly, this makes me laugh a little bit because if God can’t even protect the Archbishop, how effective are prayers from a heathen like me going to be? I don’t even believe in that crap anyway. Back to writing.
3:00 pm—Time for a late lunch—Rigatoni noodles with Italian sausage and red gravy. A bit of news coverage is next while folding laundry. Existential despair grips me as I contemplate trying to access the SBA website again.
3:18 pm—SBA website still down.
6:05 pm—SBA website still down. Time for a little light reading—Ballentine and Sherman’s The Political Economy of Armed Conflict.
6:35 pm—Walk to Rouses in search of dinner. At the entrance is my neighbor Tom who is wearing a glove and opening the door for all who enter. Years ago, Tom claims he was abducted by aliens who sent him back to earth with a message for all humanity. It’s a global message, although he never seems to get out of the Quarter. Inside, long-time manager Tony gives me his usually jovial greeting. We fall into casual conversation, but then he is summoned to deal with some crisis in the deli.
8:16 pm—Dinner was meatloaf with sautéed asparagus. Now it’s movie time, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry. It’s a good movie, one of my favorites, but I drift off to dreamland before it’s over.