date night before the plague
Saturday, March 14 2020
It was a fairly typical Saturday in our household, with his & her french presses of coffee (caffein for me, decaf for Gretchen) and even a roaring fire in the stove (though it was almost sunny enough for the living room to be passively heated by our nearest stellar neighbor). The main difference from other Saturday mornings was that I was obsessively checking for news on the progress of the coronavirus pandemic. Gretchen was less obsessed, of course, and occasionally chided me for my focus on the subject, particularly after I'd started singing little songs about how we were all going to die.
When Gretchen finally took the dogs for a walk, I turned my attention to my stoveprove Raspberry Pi surveillance robot, which had been unreachable for a few days. It turned out there had been some sort of corruption of its operating system resulting in kernel panics, and I hadn't made any backup of it. That wasn't a big deal; all the surveillance robots are fairly similar. Still, there weren't enough hours in my afternoon to get it working again, especially since I wanted to use PiShrink.sh to make the image sizes fit on smaller SD cards.
Tonight was our date night, and despite increasing calls for social distancing, Gretchen and I decided to go out for what might end up being the last time in months. We went out early, a little after 5:00pm. I joked that the usual early-bird crowd (old folks) would be staying in to avoid the coronavirus, making restaurants emptier than they otherwise would be at that time. To support them in what will certainly be a period of severely decreased business, we went to the Garden Café, which doesn't have much of an early-bird scene. Though it was a bit chilly outside, the front doors of the restaurant were open when we arrived, perhaps to promote air circulation. And customers were generally seated as far apart as possible. The staff was also putting in extra efforts to wipe down tables. Gretchen chatted for a long time with Lee, the most competent server there (who also does some management), and they discussed the possibility of moving to a mostly-delivery model when people are hunkered down during the worst of the coming plague. Food-wise, I knew immediately what I wanted: a huge bowl of red bean soup. I would've had the Beyond Burger as my main course, but then I saw the eggplant parmesan special, and it looked so good I ordered that instead. I would not be disappointed. Gretchen had considerable trouble making up her mind and ended up ordering two different sandwiches with the idea of having food leftover for tomorrow. Somehow I managed to drink not one but two Ommegang Abbey Ale beers. And I also helped Gretchen eat some of her dessert (a slice of cookie dough cake), something I almost never do.
Afterwards we went to Sunflower to get some provisions. A few of the shelves were denuded of products (particularly in the fresh produce section, somewhat surprisingly), but it wasn't as bad as what I'd seen at the Red Hook Hannaford. One of the Sunflower cashiers was wearing a black face mask, though she kept tugging on it and even removing it completely.
Back at the house, Gretchen and I watched the first Zombieland movie from 2009, though I fell asleep at around the point where Bill Murray appeared.
Charles the Cat with a painting of the late Sylvia the Cat this morning. Note the basket of dog toys.
Some incident involving a schoolbus containing a family of what looked to be circus performers was playing out as we dined at the Garden Café.
A grainy picture of one of the bus occupants talking to someone else.
The main evidence of panic shopping at Sunflower tonight was in the produce section.
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