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Day 222

Wildfires, a Two-Headed Shark, & Food-Scented Masks

Day 222

It’s Sunday. Less than two weeks until the election. Here in the SF Bay, city officials have “encouraged” residents in our area to evacuate “if possible” because fierce winds “may” spark wildfires.

My neighbor next door grabbed her family and dog and checked into a hotel downtown by the waterfront. She urged us to do the same. We’re staying put for now but I’m nervous. Will I be like all those flood victims I watch who fail to heed evac notices of hurricanes bearing down on them? Or is this legitimately different? After all, nothing is happening — yet.

Pandemic, politics, racial injustice, and economic turmoil … it is cause for such sadness. Adding to it all, another person I know has just died. Not of COVID-19. But still, I cannot count the number of people I know who have died in the past seven months. More than at any finite period of time in my life.

OK. Enough! My Sheltering-in-Place journal is supposed to offer relief from our woes, not add to them. So, what have I got that’s light today?

Let’s see.

Item 1: I saw a story about a two-headed shark. That’s amusingly weird. A fisherman in India caught the baby 6” shark and kudos to him, he took some pictures and then tossed it back in the water.

Item 2: The latest in mask wear? Masks that smell like food!

Jack in the Box has created the fried chicken-scented face mask to promote its new plant-based offering: the “Unchicken” sandwich and Hormel Foods is offering a “Breathable Bacon” mask, which according to the company’s press release “features the latest in pork-scented technology with a two-ply multi-fiber cloth to keep the delicious smell of bacon always wrapped around your nose and mouth.” No mention if the pork-smelling mask is prepared under strict rabbinical guidelines. My guess, alas, is no!

That’s it on Day 222. Stay calm. Wear a mask, food-scented or not!

Day 127

My Photo Phobia

Thanks to all the promising coronavirus research underway, vaccine trials may soon follow. That, of course, is great news. But with all those tests, will soon come non-stop news photos of vaccinations being administered, you know, yucky close-up shots of needles being plunged into people’s arms.

And those photos are bad news for me.

You see, I’m squeamish, squeamish to the max. More to the point, I’m vaccination-photo phobic.

I cringe when I see photos or watch movies (or simply see) people getting injections or intravenous needles. I don’t just cringe, I get weak at the knees and green in the gut.

Back in the Day

When I was a reporter, I covered Las Vegas’s health district for a time. Walking into the shot clinic, I’d shield my eyes and grab my photographer’s shirt. Eyes averted, I frequently bumped into wailing toddler-patients and busy staff! En route to an interview, I became a walking health hazard!

I did the same at murder scenes, clinging blindly to my cameraman’s shirt with one hand, holding my nose with the other to avoid the smell! Yes, a real blood-and-gore reportorial lightweight!

Anyway, enough about my ancient past.

Back to the Present

Like everybody in the world, I cannot wait for the day we have effective treatments and a vaccine that frees the world from the scourge of COVID-19. So, bring on those clinical trials. We need them ASAP.

And in terms of my needle-photo phobia, I guess I’ll be obliged to ask Handsome Hubby to screen and censor the newspaper each morning, cutting out offending photos before I sit down to my Rice Krispies and New York Times.

📚 📚 📚

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, I’ve got a completely biased recommendation! My friend Laura Shea’s latest novel is out and it’s a good one! Murder in the Wings is a buzzy mix of theatre, academic sardonic wit, and murder mystery all rolled into one great read. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it.

And so goes Day 127. Bee good. (And that’s not a typo. Check out Laura’s book. It’s a clue!)

Day 100

Thanks, but No Thanks

I got a call from the lovely lady at my nail salon a couple of days ago telling me she was open for business, asking if I wanted to book an appointment. It was good to hear her voice. I’ve missed her. She’s been one of the stalwarts of my somewhat solitary writerly existence since we’ve moved to Berkeley. So, it was nice to get the call. We chatted briefly, caught up on family news — happily her 100-year-old mother is doing well, but then I politely declined to schedule an appointment and vaguely said I’d see her “in a while.”

Manicures and pedicures are supposed to be relaxing and amid rising infection rates in California, the nation, and the world, my heart just isn’t in sinking my toes into a pedicure bowl and chatting it up with the girls while wearing a mask and observing whatever safety measures are in place in a manicure shop. It just doesn’t seem worth the risk. It just doesn’t sound fun.

So, instead of booking that appointment, I ordered some non-toxic, vegan nail polish to apply at home. It’s overpriced, but a sheltering-in-place, cautious girl’s got to have some fun! And besides, after 100 days, I’ve got my self-applied manicure mojo down pat! I’ve even assembled my own manicure kit complete with basecoat and orange sticks. Remember orange sticks, ladies? Still, I admit it is not nearly as much fun as gossiping with manicurist Cindy from Vietnam at the nail shop every two weeks.

While I can do my own nails — and toes, sort of, what I cannot replicate at home is live theater. I’ve been watching streaming performances from my beloved Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center, and other companies far and wide, but it is just not the same. It will be a long time till we all get to walk in, sit down, and enjoy a live show. But I for one cannot wait.

I’m sorry this isn’t an upbeat journal entry. I don’t have it in me today. Frankly, I’m worried. I’m reading too many alarming reports about rising infection rates and I fear we’re opening up the country too quickly. I can only urge people to be careful. Wear masks. Wash their hands. Keep their hands away from their faces (which somehow seems the hardest thing to do). Religiously practice social distancing. Be patient. AND every day, find something to be grateful for. That may sound Pollyanna-ish, but I think that part is essential too.

That’s what I’ve got on Day 100. Good wishes to everyone. I’m grateful to have you all in my life.

OK. I cannot resist! Here’s some news that made me chuckle and cringe: Actor Dennis Quaid just got married again. The detail that got me? Quaid is 66. The bride, 27. I guess who am I to judge? But I don’t know. I just don’t.