I go out from the city with a rear tire that has a slow leak.
If the pressure gets too low when I am afield (this place — so incredible in spring time, an estuary, a peninsula, a river) I pull over and use a hand pump to inflate my tire, to extend my journey.
I go further afield each day. My radii spread from the Epicenter into the river valley. I have plenty of nervous energy to burn. Researchers have called this phenomenon “quarantine fatigue.” More people are traveling further from their homes.
When the dread comes upon me (in bed, reading the newspaper — story after story of death, foolishness, suffering, anxiety) I can feel it swathe my body in a tension. I feel pervasive muscular anxiety. Sometimes I reel, can’t concentrate.
So I walk it out. I run it out. I hop on the bike every chance I can and pedal.
In the American Midwest, men with guns storm governmental buildings. They say their individual rights are being violated. They demand the right to spread disease so that they can make dollars.
Today, walking into the grocery store, the left strap of my homemade mask pulled away, snaps. I went in without a mask. A few seconds later, a man with a mask gave me an undeniably dirty look. Well, I felt just awful.
I heard an epidemiological expert on a podcast. He said to be prepared for four years of closures, partial closures, restrictions.
Provincial chaos. Cities versus rural areas. Red versus blue. Economy versus health. Conflicting rules, territorial battles of ideology. What’s new. On social media folks debate about what’s permissible and when. Speculation rules the day.
One city over from here, a barber in a red baseball cap opens his barber shop in direct violation of the governor’s stay at home orders. Customers line up. The sheriff turns a blind eye. These men in line for the haircut — they’re overweight, middle-aged or senior men: ripe fodder for a virus.
I tremble sometimes.
And so I go along, wondering just when the slow leak will get my tire low enough to prevent my forward progress. I hop off and kneel, if only to buy myself a few more miles.