May 2, 2020: The percentage of faces with masks spotted yesterday during my now weekly excursion off the property for groceries & other necessities was significantly higher than last week. It’s grown each week, and yesterday the clear preponderance of folks were wearing masks of some sort. It has occurred to me that I have yet to hear any “Who was that masked man?” jokes. Regarding the protests and conspiracy idiots, I smile because it’s another opportunity to remember H.L. Mencken’s quip about “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people.” Same goes for general intelligence, I guess.

April 11, 2020: [later addendum] With an abundance of prudence (maybe a surfeit but it’s too soon to tell) we put together a Home Depot list for projects underway and expected to churn into life mo skoshe, and a Market Basket list sufficient to see us through 10 days to 2 weeks, “just in case.” I sallied forth, being the probably less vulnerable and certainly the more expendable member of our two-person team.

Home Depot today was almost indistinguishable from HD 2 months ago – except for the young lady yawning at the door and updating the in/out count before she waved me through. Inside, it was Home Depot, in all its glory.

The State Liquor store had a line backed up a couple hundred feet, but taking into account the six-foot-stretch, it took only a few minutes to get in and do my favorite shopping of the week. I even treated myself to a bottle of Black Bush.

Market Basket’s line was considerably longer, and consumed all of maybe 12 minutes to get me inside. I found almost everything I wanted, and was treated to my very first instance of a fellow-citizen complaining about “the situation.” He was youngish (mid 30s maybe) and bluecollarish (lots of tats, needed a shave, “engineer boots” etc.) and loud enough for all within earshot to conclude he was shitfaced (the proliferation of F-Bombs helped in this category). He was bitching loudly (and to no one in particular) about the absence of disinfectant spray and wipes on the shelves. The other six or eight people in the aisle looked at each other and shook our heads. More in pity than in scorn, it seemed. Here was someone so dumb (or so drunk) that he didn’t get it.

But as I said – the only instance of such behavior I’ve witnessed to date. That’s impressive, and inspiring.

[first 4/11 post] I habitually revert to music to let my mind poke around in my feelings. Not big name-brand pieces so much as particular songs, sometimes by particular artists, sometimes by everyone and anyone. Sometimes particular artists. YouTube is a glorious source because of the wealth of live, “unofficial” performances as well as the album tracks and studio clips, etc.

April 8, 2020: My daughter texted me last night with the news about Prine. She knows I’m (almost exactly) the same age, and I’m out & about on occasion for groceries and prescriptions and such. I’m saddened. I became acquainted with Prine’s music pretty much at the beginning of his career beyond Chicago clubs. My copy of his debut album was bought pretty much “hot off the press.” I’d already become familiar with Steve Goodman from a couple of PBS-type “new talent exposure” shows. Shortly thereafter I discovered that they were pals and partners and they’ve been forever sort of clamped together in my mind. So this morning’s treadmill accompaniment was a mix of Prine, Goodman, and Prine & Goodman (the live clip of P&G on Prine’s “Souvenirs” is a personal treasure). I’m grateful that Prine got an additional 35 years or so and wish Goodman could have stuck around a lot longer, for all of our sake. Rest easy John Prine, and thanks.

April 4, 2020: The public behavior is evolving rapidly. I hadn’t left the property in a couple of days – since Wednesday maybe. First thing I noticed today was how many more people were wearing some sort of PPE – lots of gloves and masks.

Also noticed that those without either fell into two broad categories: rough-tough dudes who weren’t going to be buffaloed into looking dorky or chicken, and people who looked self-conscious about their lack of gear, and looked highly unlikely to venture out of the house again without gloves and some sort of face covering.

I got to Market Basket before 7:00 and noticed a number of folks who were clearly not age-eligible to be there at that hour. But not too many, and it was after six-thirty, so what they hey.

At BJ’s in Salem, I stood in a line that snaked around the forward quadrant of the parking lot – everyone in the line maintaining at least six feet of elbow room. Also noticed several instances of people shooing older, visibly infirm folks ahead of them so they didn’t have to stand in the damn line.

Still not much toilet paper on shelves anywhere and why IS that?

Keep well, keep safe.