A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 67

Scallions rooting around in my kitchen.

Friday, May 15

Life goes on. I began writing this blog with the idea that an accounting of daily life during the pandemic could be of interest to our friends and to people in the future. But, for those not on the front lines, daily life is monotonous—that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’re isolated and avoiding social contact—and in this world, social contact is what’s interesting.

Anyway, today I’ll have breakfast, read the newspaper and various news reports, write this post and figure out what photo to include with it (the photo question provides one of the most interesting issues each day), have a little lunch, read some more, maybe take a walk, then make dinner, and watch a video.

The photo above is of scallions that I am rooting in my kitchen. I learned to do this online, from someone who claims never to buy scallions. I’m not sure that my efforts will really produce enough to serve in a recipe—but they’re cute and fun.

Yesterday, I learned in an e-mail that my work has been quoted in the Michigan State Law Review, in an article entitled “Janus v. AFSCME: Triumph of Free Speech or Doom for Unions?” by George Washington University law professor Marc Klock.

The author several times cites my book on U.S. company towns, as he dissects the harsh conditions that once faced miners and other private-sector workers. But that serves largely as a prologue to an attack on public employee unions. He accuses Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan of entertaining “a laughable idea that could only be formed inside an ivory tower perspective.” After that coup de grace and near the end of a 52-page article, he asserts: “Public-sector unions are not working for the public interest. They are working for the self-interest of public-sector employees.” Was I surprised!

Emily was due to have a Zoom teleconference with her doctor yesterday. She downloaded the Zoom app on her Android phone. Then, for some mysterious reason, they just had a phone call instead. So we remain among the non-Zoomers.

Spring has arrived. After nighttime showers, it’s partly sunny today with a high near 68. Next door, some maintenance guys are getting the swimming pool ready for action. Imagine doing laps while wearing both swim goggles and a face mask.

During my afternoon constitutional, I see lots of folks out walking the dogs. The pooches seem a bit weirded out, too—they want to play with each other but aren’t sure that they should, canine social distancing and all.

The wild dogwoods are blossoming like mad. From now on, it’s going to be very hard to keep everyone indoors. 

News flash: Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that state beaches can open next Friday, provided there are no group activities such as volleyball, no concessions stands open, that there is social distancing, and there are masks worn when social distancing isn’t possible.

Dinner: leftover stuffed green peppers, Asian green beans, salad.

Entertainment: Jazz musicians Arturo O’Farrill and Adam O’Farrill streaming live from WNYC’s The Green Space, one episode of Secret City, and Kon Tiki, a short movie about the cross-Pacific trek of explorer Thor Heyerdahl.