March 7, 2022

I’m in a bad mood. It’s just as well that the only thing home besides me is the cat. I have no idea why I’m in such a bad mood. It was a pretty ordinary Monday at work without anything too crazy happening and I got all my meals and even caught up on a couple of work projects on which I had fallen behind, but by the time I got home, I felt like being a praying mantis and biting someone’s head off. Usually when I get like this, the mood doesn’t last too long and a decent meal and a good night’s sleep take care of the issue. As it was Monday night dinner at Tommy’s parents house, I am full of pork ribs, fried okra, potato salad, and chocolate pie so the first has been taken care of. I’m hoping some knitting up the raveled sleeve of care in an hour or so will supply the second.

At least in part, some of it is likely due to the demands of the world on me. I am a nurturer by nature and a fixer. I’ve been playing Dear Abby since I was in high school with my peer group and I have a certain amount of wisdom regarding how to approach life. The problem with that role, now that the world is opening up more and everyone is emerging from their cocoons with all of their personal mental health issues exacerbated by months and months of isolation and a constant barrage of bad news, is that a lot of people are turning to me for help. I give it freely. It’s my reason for being. But occasionally the well starts to run dry and my engine is barely running on fumes. The things that allow me to replenish, theater, travel – are coming back but I’m in the middle of a stretch without much going on besides work and that’s an issue. I’ll look into taking a long weekend or two off over the next month or so and maybe just the act of getting those on the calendar will be helpful.

The news of the outside world doesn’t help, of course. I’m trying to avoid following the ins and outs of Russian and Ukrainian politics and warfare too closely as I’m afraid I’ll identify too much and feel too deeply. It’s all connected. Russian imperial ambitions. Dark money flowing in to Western political groups whose intention is destabilization of democracy. Interference in the US, Brexit and Scottish independence elections. The firing up of cultural wars that are merely distractions from the real political and socioeconomic realities that we’re facing. I’m going to have to let others unpick that Gordian knot. I left my investigative journalist credentials in my other pants.

There is good news. Covid cases in the US continue to fall to much lower levels than they’ve been at for some time. Even the death rate is starting to come down now that we’re through the omicron hump but it’s still an unacceptably high 1200-1400 a day. We’re at roughly 960,000 US deaths (and the world death toll hit six million today, although that is most assuredly an undercount – the real count could be two to three times that). We’re still on track to hit the magic million in the US around Easter. Locally, the CDC has dropped our metro area to medium risk (masking not required indoors unless immunocompromised). As most people stopped wearing masks around here months ago, I can’t really tell the difference when I go out. I still slip mine on when going into stores or other places with quantities of people I don’t know. It’s easy to do. It’s polite. And, I have to wear one at work in clinical areas to protect patients anyway so half the time I don’t even notice whether I have one on or not. We may be done with Covid, but I don’t believe for a minute that it’s done with us and I’m not going to be in the least surprised if there’s a new strain or some other wrinkle popping up in the next few months.

I need to get cracking on Volume II of the Accidental Plague Diaries. Now that I’ve committed to do it, I have to actually do the work necessary to get it into shape. It won’t be as hard as Volume I as I know what I’m doing this time around but there’s still bunches of stuff to write and reshape and make interesting for the casual reader. I found out this morning that Volume I won another award. A bronze medal from the Readers View Awards in the category of Non-fiction/societal. I’m not sure that means anything other than I can order some very nice bronze colored stickers to put on the cover if I so choose. It’s a finalist for a few other awards as well and, if it wins anything interesting, I’ll let everyone know. I don’t often win things. I’m not a very good self promoter and a huge piece of winning in competition, especially in arts awards, is creating the brand and playing to the crowd of potential judges. Ain’t nobody got time for dat. And that’s why the name of Duxbury isn’t as well known as that of Kardashian. I did win a stuffed tiger once in a raffle at Nordstrom’s (when it was still Nordstrom-Best). I was five. I still have him.

I’d like to see a tiger in the wild sometime. Not up close and personal, but at a safe distance from a guided tour in a well protected jeep. If Covid had not derailed all travel plans, I was supposed to be in India this spring and I might have been able to see one there. That is a trip that has been postponed to a later date. I have seen a few interesting species in the wild. When I was nineteen, I paid a visit to an elephant seal rookery in the Pribilof Islands. Bull seals smell horribly of fish, have a nasty temper, and move much more quickly on dry land then one would expect. I’ve seen one of the Puget Sound pods of orcas from a small boat. I once sailed up the strait between Maui and Lanai during calving season when the waters were full of blue whales. I walked into a very surprised black bear on a trail in Mount Rainier National Park. I’m not sure who was more startled, me or the bear. I was once kicked in the chest by a white tailed deer who took offense at the fact that I would not feed him my grapes. Just the usual run of the mill stuff.

Per usual, writing one of these missives has done the trick. My mood’s better. Time to watch some bad TV, get some sleep and face the world again tomorrow. Together with my hand sanitizer and a mask in my pocket.

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