Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Strangers Among Us

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The Woman in the Yellow Hat first appeared on a Saturday morning in the early days of The Great Sequester.

I spotted her from our dining room window, striding purposefully around the cul-de-sac. After lunch I ran some errands and drove by her, arms pumping briskly as she ascended a hill about a mile from our house. I passed her along a different street on my return an hour later. As the sun descended behind the tree tops, she appeared again cruising around the cul-de-sac without any apparent loss of stride.

I see The Woman in the Yellow Hat regularly now, though never as frequently on a single day. Usually she’s walking, once in a while jogging. At all times, she’s wearing that ballcap — a glowing lemon beacon -- and not a trace of the exhaustion I feel just thinking about her seemingly perpetual motion.

She’s part of the new cast of characters in my life. COVID-19 may be keeping people home and out of their cars but not in the house or off the roads off my neck of the burbs. Where in the past my dog and I, on our twice daily rambles, would only fleetingly see folks as they whizzed by at some rate well above the posted limit, now we are having to cross the street to safely and politely avoid the increase in casual strollers and side-street athletes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition

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Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition Milton Stephen Root

Back in those halcyon days of, oh, four weeks ago, a friend shared a jokey tweet from Sam Adams, a senior editor with Slate. Adams wrote that the most frightening aspect of a pandemic that forced people to stay in their homes for 90 days would be that “the only ones to survive will be freelance writers.”

It’s now Day Numbersomethingorother of The Big Sequester, folks. It’s the end of the world as you know it, but I feel fine.

This “new normal” the coronavirus created is generally not much different than any ol’ normal day I’ve had for the past 16 years as a work-at-home writer, a socially distant profession well before it became de rigueur. The commute to my office remains congestion-free, provided the dog doesn’t cut me off in his haste to attend to his own business outside. My three-martini lunches still consist of a seltzer and leftovers with Jim Rockford, P.I. I’m always home in time for dinner because I’m always home and someone needs to cook.

Except now those nighttime meals are no longer made for me and my family. They’re for me and my three new full-time office mates.

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