Petty notes on living in the plague

Today, if the thunderstorms subside, I must go on a hunt — this time for tissue paper. Toilet paper? I’ve got plenty. But I’m running low on tissues. Where might I find them? Perhaps my hardware store. Shopping takes a little bit of ingenuity nowadays.

I needed green vegetables and bought, at Fairway, a heap of brussel sprouts. In retrospect, I should have bought another vegetable, as well, but I’m not a regular Fairway attendee and I find the place confusing. There were the sprouts, I had to slip behind a big mechanical thing to get them. So maybe I found the experience both heartening (I found veggies!) and disheartening (must I go to another bin and if I do, which one, so nah I think I’ll move somewhere else).

I got on the wrong checkout line at Fairway. Two women with huge fully loaded carts re-directed me to the “Are you shopping for yourself only?” line. Wherever you go, there are protocols.

I went to Fairway instead of Jubilee (“the friendliest marketplace in the neighborhood” —  it’s also the only marketplace in the neighborhood) because when I went to Jubilee last week, my bill seemed rather high. One reason: they charged me $7 for not a large bag of popcorn.

The NFL draft will be this Thursday at 8 PM. It will be virtual, but “virtual” means there will not be hoards of rabid team fans screaming so that the sports reporters have to yell over them. I am not saddened. Today, I watched a couple of videos discussing possible draft picks. With college game videos highlighting some intriguing draft possibilities. I’d like to do this for most of the day.

The sky is very blue now. Perhaps I’ll go out for that tissue paper, if it exists, somewhere. If I can’t find any, I’ll call this venture a walk. I mean, a walk in the sense that I’ll be walking.

My brother found a very fat book he hadn’t read lurking in his bookshelves. Even before the virus arrived, he had developed the intention to read those unread books — this one had appeared on his bookshelf maybe 30 years ago, when he bought it, for reasons he can’t quite remember. Before COVID, while he was still taking the subway, he had made this book his subway read. I wondered at that — the book, which is hardcover, weighs a lot. Ideal for subways are paperbacks. But eventually Eth finished the book and gave it to me.

The book is 710 pages of THE ENGLISH: A Social History 1066-1945 (1987), by Christopher HIBBERT (that’s the way the cover reads, with those caps). And it’s my preferred just-before-going-to-sleep read because (1) it’s a different view of English history, about which I know quite a bit; (2) it’s not about America, or Trump; and (3) it’s terrific and often very funny — in part because Hibbert is funny and because he quotes amply from nearly one thousand years of published Britons such as Chaucer, Malory, Sir Thomas Elyot, Dickens, Shakespeare, Pepys, Boswell (who describes in detail his lusty but not nuanced sex life), Thomas Hardy, Sheridan, Defoe, et al. Some of them are themselves very witty.

It certainly takes me out of our current situation. In the beginning (1066 or so) there was a lot of mud. And that continued for hundreds of years, lots of mud.

One striking thing: there were innumerable and occasionally violent rebellions, protests and marches by a wretchedly treated, underpaid and underfed lower working class which made no dent at all in the rigid class system for nearly those full thousand years.

It kind of puts me into a rebel mode.

And now I’m going out.



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