display | more...

SOAK, the local Burning Man regional for Oregon, is canceled. There's a half-built "pineal gland" ovular design temple in the backyard of a local Burner group house: we're now discussing whether we burn it later, or whether we build a teahouse for the fellow who donates his backyard to regional temple every year. I'm dearly hoping that in a few months, I'll get to help build a teahouse. I spend an awful lot of time back behind the house, and will be gardening there - it'd be nice to have a focal point to garden around, especially if the owner obtains the empty lot directly behind his house.

It's sad that the regional is being canceled, but then again, it was scheduled for late May. I don't think America is going to be done with the pandemic any time around then, and I was already thinking of not going. Some of the anxiety around them potentially deciding to go ahead with SOAK has now been transferred to the Gerlach regional, or what people tend to think of as Actual Burning Man. I hope they cancel it, but there's some pretty severe financial risks (about ten million dollars, off one analysis) to them doing that. On the other hand, I can't imagine 80,000 people in one place being a good idea anytime soon.

Me, I'm observing Hermit Man by staying at home, making lots of stock, and congratulating myself on my choices in CSA and non-perishable supplies. I suspect in years to come, survivor's guilt will eat me, but right now I've adopted the mentality that this is a fucked up situation. At least I'm eating (and drinking well.

Thankfully, my job is not in any way at risk. Here in the second or third week of all of this, I'm actually getting into the swing of blankly coping with the crisis and inability to go work at coffee shops and taprooms. The new normal is to turbo-hermit, hit my marks, and think a lot about business continuity.

And so my life has narrowed, once again, to my Internet communities, those few local friends socially distancing as much as I am, and deeply technical, interesting work. Curious to see where it all goes.

Until a few years ago I occasionally spent a week travelling around some medium-sized chunk of Germany with a group of experts from the European Commission and some of the Member States of the European Union. They would look at how well Germany was organising some aspect of compliance with European legislation. I visited government offices I had never heard of before, various kinds of farm, abbatoirs, a shepherd, a cheese factory, plant nurseries, garden centres, that kind of thing. And once we visited local and regional veterinary offices, to check up on preparedness for outbreaks of animal diseases.

Since you never know when there is going to be an outbreak of an infectious disease, there is legislation in place to make sure that there are plans in place, trained personnel available, and the necessary equipment in stock to deal with it immediately, and if at all possible contain it and stop it becoming an epidemic. There are protocols for the isolation of farms, taking and evaluation of samples, restrictions or bans on transport, and so on and so forth.

All this, of course, only applies to diseases of animals. If it's humans getting ill, we just make it all up as we go along. Various people whose job it is to know about such things have been warning us for some time now that this is not a satisfactory state of affairs, pointing out that the world is not prepared for a pandemic of a serious infectious disease.

As it turns out, they were talking nonsense: the pandemic is upon us, and it's not that bad at all! Most people who get infected by SARS-CoV-2 don't even die. And the impact of the pandemic on global GDP may even stay in single figures. As usual, robust common sense and good healthy scepticism trump the self-important doom-mongering of so-called experts!

One minor result of this trivial pandemic is that I very shortly will not have an income. This won't be a problem for me at this stage in my professional life; many of my younger colleagues will find things more difficult. And a side-effect of having no opportunities to work for money is more having more time to do something else. So I made this. Hope you like it.

So, here I am in quarantine... I am a very high risk person, as I have Systemic Lupus and I am on heavy immuno-suppressants. The only way I survive is not to come into contact with it. And, of course, this means I have to negotiate my way around Death once again.

And as I continue work on my life story, the novel that is basically my "final mission," I am writing about other times I negotiated my way around death. There was the suicide in 1994. There was the near death at the height of the horrific summer of 1999, what I call "Kashmir" in the book. After months of near starvation, temporary homelessness, one bad break after another, I ended up walking eight miles in 97 degree heat without having had food or water in days. I was unconscious on the side of the road when two youths stabbed at me with a stick and then ran off in horror when I woke up. They ran off screaming, "He's not dead! Run!" And then there was my near destruction at the hands of a true sociopath in what I call "The Excommunication War." And then there was 2014, when I went to the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. They were unable to figure out what was wrong with me, and then one morning the nurse told me, "You almost died last night."

So, here we go again...

My love to all of you... keep yourselves alive my sisters and brothers... 

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.