Powering through our communal Covid Winter and about to fire up The News Bunker’s Breville Java dispenser for a much-needed morning bump, listening to our messages and getting a sense of how things are going. If we had to sum up the prevailing mood, we’d go with:
Worried and Cautiously Waiting.
We know those who don’t believe we’re in the midst of an ongoing health crisis will accuse us of fear mongering for even mentioning it but, hey, what are you gonna do? We’re not good at ignoring rampaging presidents or pandemics.
Folks seem to think we have a few more weeks of the Covid Chain ahead, with some youngsters falling ill, then another family member and then another with people staying home from work, requiring others to care for them and creating tangible gaps in our supply and logistics chains. Some local businesses – notably the Starbucks stores people are addicted to – have proven unable to field a suitable work crew and have shuttered, leaving scores of caffeine-deprived citizens roaming the land in search of their morning Joe.
And, you know, that kind of closure hits bone. For those still attempting to operate a brick-and-mortar location with on-site employees, life has been difficult. Absenteeism in those environments appears to be averaging between 30 and 60 percent in some cases. We’re hoping we can be back on track again soon.
We won’t even address what’s happening in the schools, as angry parents scare us more than a Hells Angel associate on a five-day crank binge. Suffice to say that school officials are trying to remain “flexible” in the face of shifting health service advisories and wary teachers who, like everyone else, don’t want to get sick. We’re hoping we can be back on track again there soon, too.
Most of the folks checking in with us seem to be hunkered in their own bunkers, staying cautiously aloof and removed from the company of others. For those of you lunging at your keyboards right now to eviscerate us for even relating this approach we say: hey, go your own way, unmasked and dispensing spittle. If that supports your line of thinking on this thing and you remain committed in your ways we wish you luck as you venture forth. Be careful, though, as ambulances have sometimes proven hard to get lately.
All of what we’re going through right now was foreshadowed, of course, by another mis-named but efficiently lethal pandemic that raced through the barracks and camps and cities at the end of World War I – adding its own tragic Roll of the Dead to the millions who had vanished in the trenches of a conflict someone had the audacity to name The Great War.
The pandemic of 1918-’19 came in waves, too, successively adapted and looking for new victims. Eventually, it passed, leaving footnotes in our Granddad’s World War I diary and empty place settings at tables around the world. We’re big on that whole “learn from history” thing and there are remarkable similarities between what we’re going through now and what our ancestors went through back then.
Eventually, of course, it passed – but not without leaving its mark on the world. Time relegated the “Spanish Flu” to the pages of history no one wants to read and it was eventually largely forgotten. We’ll just have to see how long it takes people to forget about the COVID Winter of 2020-2022. We can be a forgetful bunch.
Of course, not everyone is maintaining social distancing during this Covid Winter. As life goes on for many so does local crime, down for the most part we’re told though what remains is very up-close-and-personal. Retail thefts are still plaguing the local stores that remain open and property crimes continue to shock and violate their victims.
Car theft, the mining of catalytic converters, purse snatching – we’re hearing about all of it and more as many, driven by drugs or desperation or just plain old cussedness, continue to wreak havoc on others.
Last night, around 10:30 p.m. in a creek bed under Willow Pass Road in Concord, things went wrong among a small group of people who apparently had a disagreement of one sort or another, one of their number drawing a sword – we’re told it was a “Samurai” sword but we didn’t see it so we can’t say for certain – and slashing a companion across the arm and leg.
Trip to John Muir Medical Center for the victim while police in Concord mounted a search for the 21st Century Samurai. Until he’s located all that’s left for us to do is add a very unusual crime into the archives for a very unusual year.
Here’s hoping things ease up for us all – and our neighbors are able to get their morning coffee again – soon.