Day 20 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Saturday, April 4, 2020 – Live to Blog from A Blown Mind

The nyt mag (New York Times Magazine) had an article today titled “How to Pass Time in a Pandemic.” I’m sorry…is it just me…but does the whole premise of this article seem more than a little tone deaf at the moment? It’s comes from the NY Times…which is in New York City…which at this very moment, as I’m writing these words, is reporting 2,624 deaths from COVID-19 on the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard. It blows…my…mind…and makes me want to go all Lewis Black for a moment. But I won’t…

I’ll just write my own list of ways to pass the time in a pandemic. Here we go:

Mask by Clemencia
  1. Write the nyt mag and tell them how incredibly idiotic, inappropriate, insensitive, offensive, and just plain stupid (remember, that means, showing a great lack of common sense) this article is. And that their “hoity-toity” name stinks too!
  2. Go outside each night at 8:00 PM, stand on your balcony, porch, or yard, and howl at the moon. Yes, it is really a thing…like singing on the balconies in Italy, and applauding essential workers in New York City. Be careful that you don’t call any coyotes, though. And, remember, they can jump fences.
  3. Put on your new COVID-19 homemade face mask, a baseball cap, and gloves. Then walk around the neighborhood, avoiding people of course to maintain physical distance, to see if any of your neighbors eventually call the police.
  4. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “How long should I wait before I try to give myself a haircut?” (Or color my hair.)
  5. Think of five people who have difficulty getting out, call them up, and offer to pick up items for them on your next toilet paper run to the grocery store.
  6. Think of five people who should stay in but don’t, then wait for them outside their house or apartment and give them the Donald Sutherland greeting they deserve.
  7. Dig out that musical instrument you used to play and give it a try again. Hey, it shouldn’t be that hard right? Especially drums?
  8. Think of five people you haven’t spoken with in a while and give them a call. If they don’t pick up, leave this message: “Hi. I was just thinking about you and I was wondering if you ever got the check I sent you?” That is likely to get you a call back!
  9. Think of five people who may be alone during this time of sheltering in place and give them a call. That’s it. Just give them a call.
  10. Try to wear the same pair of socks for as long as you need to shelter in place. Really. It’s okay. Bert (left) and Ernie (right) are doing just fine after 20 days. Trust me, nobody will notice!
  11. Recover your sewing skills by making masks and sharing them with your neighbors and friends…by mail of course. Or for a bit of added fun, drop them off in a box in front of their door, ring the doorbell, and run! That will add a bit of mystery and excitement!
  12. Set your alarm to read my blog when it posts every morning at 8:00 AM Eastern. Even better, start reading it aloud to your spouse, partners, parents, or children – while they are still trying to sleep in. 🙂
  13. Do everything and anything you can to help those that are being most severely impacted by COVID-19 to make it through this time and the time yet to come.

In Reality. The cutesy article published by the nyt mag today makes me nuts. I believe in making the best of a bad situation and so I can appreciate the writers at the NY Times trying to do something in the midst of a terrible situation. To be clear, I really do appreciate the newspaper for its coverage of today’s news and I am a subscriber. However, this article seems to have been written for that decreasing number of privileged people in American society:

  • who have not lost their income,
  • who are not watching, from a distance, as a loved one lies ill and possibly dying from COVID-19,
  • who are not trying to figure out how to pay their rent or mortgage at the end of the month, let alone buy groceries this week,
  • who are not homeless and do not have to seek a place each day in which to shelter, and
  • finally, who do not have family or friends taking risks as medical care providers, first responders, social workers, CNAs, grocery clerks, transit workers, or any of the other essential people we depend on so we nonessential workers can sit at home and waste time reading that stupid nyt mag article.

It does, however, seem be perfectly well written for those who are completely ignorant, clueless, or disbelieving that this is a crisis at all.

A new reality is upon us and anyone in New York City should know that better than anyone else in the United States. Shame on you nyt mag! (I still think your snotty name stinks!) Let’s do better, okay?

I know, you may be thinking, “Hey, Tom, you bonehead. Look at the drivel you’ve been writing for the past 20 days. How do you come off critizing the nyt mag for their drivel?” That’s fair. There is a difference though. First, I have not pretended that I’m writing anything but drivel. I’ve stated quite plainly that it is drivel and call it that myself in this blog. This blog is about the nonsense of my life while sheltering-in-place, injected with a bit of hyperbole and humor, and with an occasional rant – which I really, really, really try to keep nonpartisan but, honestly, is becoming increasingly difficult. Second, nobody is paying anything for my drivel. To subscribe (follow) this blog is absolutely free. Of course, if you are paying somebody, let me know and start sending your payment my way, please. I’m going to need the income soon. Third, my blog does not have the distribution and reach of the NY Times. With a large reach comes great influence; with great influence comes extraordinary responsibility. Finally, this blog has a more straight-forward, less pretentious sounding name than “nyt mag.” And especially on this last point…”So…there!”

Expired: 0118

One last rant…yesterday my son, a social worker in the State of Maryland, posted on Facebook about the “personal protective equipment” he had been issued. He and the other social workers are considered essential personnel and are being sent on home visits. He had been given, along with his colleagues, three N95 single use face masks and one small bottle of sanitizer, which had an expiration date of January 2018. I’m speechless. I think I’ll just cry.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, and wearing your face mask.


Author: The Driveler

Tom Klaus is the Driveler. On March 16, 2020, the first day of the Novel Coronavirus shelter-in-place order for his state, he started writing a daily blog to keep himself from stressing too much about the pandemic situation. He thought the daily blogging would last for only a couple of week but it stretched on to 77 consecutive days. Then he continued writing daily for a while after that as well. At some point the blog became The Daily Drivel...mostly because he was mostly writing the stream of consciousness drivel that was pouring out of his head, running down his face, and, sometimes, out of his mouth. In November 2020 he launched The Daily Drivel as a free-standing website/blog.

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