A good time to stay in school

Dad! I got into grad school! Wait. Dad?

“I sensed a great disturbance….” (sitting unsteadily)

Dad?!?

“It was as if tens of thousands of dollars suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

If the economy could speak

The Guardian:

The US economy shrank by 32.9% between April and June, its sharpest contraction since the second world war, government figures revealed on Thursday, as more signs emerged of the coronavirus pandemic’s heavy toll on the country’s economy.
The record-setting quarterly fall in economic growth came as another 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, a second week of rises after a four-month decline.
The annualized figure is the largest drop in quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) – the broadest measure of the economy – since records began in 1945.

The U.S. Economy:

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit unemployment benefits

Just Older

Ugh. There’s more evidence – courtesy of the last 48 hours – that there’s a point at which growing older can no longer be graceful. My mother passed this point years ago. Although my father passed this point a couple of years ago, grace exists on a continuum – and it’s always possible to have less. This was on display earlier this week, at two different hospital emergency departments.

There will be no adult beverages for me this evening. I need to be able to drive to a hospital if I get another call.

Untested

I kinda hope I have a cold.

It’s a strange thing to say, I know. But these are strange times we’re living in, friends. Unless my symptoms get worse I won’t be testing for COVID–19. I’ll just be waiting.

I’m popping Tylenol every six hours to keep the headaches and sore throat in partial check. I’m reading to keep the boredom in check. And I’m sleeping a lot… because I’m freaking tired.

I sat down to write thinking I had something interesting to say, though now that I’m here I can’t remember why. Delusions of creativity?

As far as I know, my parents do not have a cold. They live 15 minutes away but they might as well be on the other side of the world. They live in a facility that has locked itself down. I can only imagine what it’s like, and that’s the problem. My imagination does not serve me well when it comes to creative pursuits of leisure, but it works overtime drafting worst-case scenarios (or merely terrible ones). My imagination doesn’t even have to work that hard, with what I hear on the phone and with the stories related to me by my sisters.

Maybe I’ll write about it sometime.

Just Like Everyone Else

I live in a small-to-medium size Florida city, which for a time had the largest, per-capital concentration of COVID–19 cases in Florida. I don’t live in South Florida.

Me, my family, and my coworkers all watched the news – as many of you did – about the pandemic. We saw other states close down. The county government here issued a stay-at-home order, about a week before our Governor did, but little seemed to change. We were still required to report to work. As I type this, we’re still getting in our cars and driving in to work each morning.

Today is the first day under the Governor’s stay-at-home order… and near as I can tell, many folks in my town are still out and about, still doing what they did before COVID. I look out at the highway outside my office window, and I see just as much traffic. I drive around at lunch and see business parking lots filled with cars.

I know I only see a small sliver of one small city. I know evidence via anecdote isn’t much better than no evidence at all. Still, I can’t help but worry we’re not taking this seriously. I can’t help fearing all the mixed messages are causing what I’m seeing, and it’s not just me and my small sliver of a small city, it’s all over. I fear that I’ll get sick when everyone else is getting sick, and my medical history will lead me to be one of the more severe cases. I worry about my wife’s asthma. I worry about my parent’s advanced age. I worry our leaders will weaponize our fears. More than ever, I worry about the world our children will inherit. I feel utterly helpless… without means to do anything about it.

Thankfully, I’m not worried about my job – because I’m apparently essential. I sure don’t feel like it.

Labeling

I don’t think I’ve ever been told I’m essential and come to work feeling less so.

COVID-19 in Florida

The other day I tried to pull up the (recent) history of COVID-19’s spread in Florida. I couldn’t find it – not easily anyway.

The current numbers are available… everywhere you look. Finding anything further back than the current day took a little more effort.

While I was searching… one day at a time… I threw the figures I found into a spreadsheet (mostly from the FL Department of Health, via the internet archive). Then I kept updating it in the days that followed.

I’d like to think I won’t be able to keep this up, because COVID-19 won’t be something that will remain long in our lives.

The way we’re going, I fear I’ll be adding many more – much larger numbers.

You’ll find it here.

A sick life

A lot of fond memories at the old UF Infirmary…

“The infirmary could be demolished, but there is discussion about whether to find a new use for the building.”

Muscle Memory

I found myself on a basketball court not long ago. As will happen on a basketball court, a basketball came to be in my hands – or more specifically – my right hand. I hadn’t held a ball in either of my hands for a long time, but there I was.
I had a ball.
I was looking up at the rim.
The ball was dripping with unfulfilled purpose.

Without thinking, I took a quick half step forward with my right foot. I brought the ball up, cradled gently in my right hand, palm facing the sky, and fingers spread along a seam. In one graceful motion my back, hips, knees, and ankles uncoiled, as I jumped… just enough for my toes to leave the ground (so not really a jump… more of a hop… but I digress).

With the ease of countless hours spent taking jump shots in my youth (day and night, by myself, under a lamp-post at the end of the street) my arm shot up, and with a flick of my wrist I launched a back-spinning ball towards the goal.

There was a time when it was popular to refer to the sound of a ball passing through the net of a goal as a swish, but my ears never heard it that way. To me, it sounded like the net and ball were calling out the name “Chuck.” Maybe there was a day when nets were made of thinner, finer materials which lent themselves to a silky, swishing sound. But the courts I played had course, rope-like material. The courts I played didn’t sound like the ball was being caressed. It sounded like it was being beaten.

“CHuK”

Anyhoo, back to the ball recently in hand.

Although I was looking at the back of the rim as I released the ball, I knew as soon as it left my hand it was perfect. I didn’t need to see it or hear it, I KNEW as it came back down it was going to catch nothing but…

Wait.

Nothing?

It caught… nothing but gravity?

The net was supposed to speak to me – THEN – I’d hear the ball bouncing on the ground.

Riding the Rails (to trails)

Cheryl and I did a half day on the bikes yesterday, peddling through the flat rural landscape of north Florida. We did an out-n-back along a twenty mile stretch of paved trail, converted from an old rail line between Keystone Heights and Palatka, FL. It was my first ride of forty miles (or more) in at least four years – and late-forty legs REALLY felt the last five miles. But it was a great ride. Some folks find the long straightaways a bit monotonous, but I find ‘em hypnotically peaceful. The air was cool (for FL), the wind was calm, and the soft whir of spinning spokes and churning chain made it easy to forget the rest of the world for a few hours.

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