Thoughts from the kitchen table

I was taught to write in scenes, way back in the beginning. A telling scene will always present itself, I was told, and it’s true.

Last Thursday I was standing on the floor of the Greensboro Coliseum for the third day of the ACC Tournament when the Florida State men’s team, without explanation, hastily ended their warm-ups and headed back into the locker room. Minutes later the whole thing would be called off.

Last Friday my email kept pinging with incoming messages, each one a canceled event or a corporate response to the coronavirus. One by one I removed almost every single advertisement from the following week’s issue. On Monday I laid off Don, one of our drivers and one of my old friends. He was my bartender for years. Still, we got a paper out on Thursday morning, and our staff continued to break news.

The rest of the week is a blur.

Yesterday I cut my lawn — the first of the year. Before I mowed it down, I noticed that the dandelions weren’t too bad this year. But as I made my way through the rows, I found clusters of the fuzzy, yellow flowers hiding under the growth. They were everywhere.

Today I went to the grocery store. There wasn’t much to buy. The empty shelves and freezers made the place look like it had been very neatly and politely looted — which, in a sense, it had. A manager periodically reminded customers that certain items would be limited to two per shopper: meat, cleaning supplies, baby items, pet food. There was not a scrap of toilet paper in stock. “Probably Monday,” the cashier told me. “That’s when everything comes in.”

And now I’m sitting at the kitchen table, at a workstation I took over years ago with piles of papers and scattered notebooks. I cleared it all off because starting tomorrow, when online school begins, it will be the family office. I’m looking at the numbers. The CDC page, which hasn’t refreshed since Friday, won’t update until 4 p.m. Monday. The state page updates every morning, even the weekend, so the local count is solid, but certainly trending up. And then there’s this great resource, a page developed by a Washington state teenager that’s clocking the entire pandemic.

With these facts in mind, here’s a short roundup

  • The latest count: 12 cases in Forsyth, no gain, including perhaps four that were “community spread,” meaning that they could have happened around town. Guilford now has 11 cases, up from seven yesterday.
  • Hanes has agreed to make masks for the relief effort — up to 6 million a week, according to the NY Times. In another piece, the Gray Lady explains why we have a domestic shortage of medical equipment.
  • Sen. Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s the first member of the Senate to do so. The timing is unfortunate: Last week his father, Sen. Ron Paul, warned that the coronavirus might be a hoax. Both of them, it should be said, are medical doctors.

Back with more tomorrow, when the news cycle once again will kick into overdrive. Hang in there, folks, and if you’ve got a few spare bucks, consider donating them to Triad City Beat.

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