A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 59


Wednesday, May 6

I slept until almost 9 a.m. this morning. I suspect a lot of people are sleeping more these days. Maybe I was tired after my big adventure yesterday, going to the dump and coffee store. Today, we can spend time worrying about tomorrow’s grocery delivery—will it be raining when they come, will we get the stuff we want or will lots be “out of stock”? Emily is able to look at our order online and she says that, so far, it looks like we’ll be getting virtually everything but ramen, Lipton soup, and whole wheat flour.

She has had a persistent cough for what seems like more than a year. Two doctors have told her that they have checked everything else, so the cough must be caused by acid reflux. And indeed, I recently discovered an old cache of Tums and they do seem to help. A few nights back she took one after dinner and she reported not only did she sleep better but she felt generally better the day after.

So another item in the Peapod order is famotidine, a.k.a. Pepcid, which one of her specialists recommended.

Right now Emily is listening to a legal podcast on the topic of employment rights during the epidemic. One talker has a particularly harsh and nasal voice, which drives me to go for a walk outside despite the imperfect weather. As is often the case hereabouts, it is cloudy and the air is cool and damp.

Before I go, a young doe wanders into our yard and peers in through the kitchen window. Everything indicates that deers’ eyesight is bad, and though I attempt to gesture her away, she pays no attention until I open and slam the side door, at which point she gallops away.

Back from an unremarkable sortie, I read a quote from the Times that “older adults as a group have a positivity bias,” or tendency to see the good side of situations, according to Gary M. Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center and professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Their pessimism and anxiety tend to abate with age. They’re no longer striving for material achievements, so what matters to them now is what’s emotionally satisfying. They’re more likely to say, I’ve been through this before.”

But what could be the good side of the pandemic? The Times also has an article asserting that we’ll all just get used to a situation in which one or two thousand people die of coronavirus every day. It’ll be an adjustment somewhat akin to the way in which we’ve simply accepted a very high level of gun deaths and mass shootings as normal.

The article contains this shocker: “An internal document based on modeling by the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by The Times projects that the daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, a 70% increase from the May 1 number of about 1,750.”

Both the Town of East Hampton and East Hampton Village are now moving toward limiting attendance on local beaches.

I already foresee guys with Bushmasters and MAGA hats gathering en masse to protest this grotesque intrusion on their beachgoing liberties.

Dinner: Black beans and rice, with a lettuce and celery salad.

Entertainment: Two episodes of the Icelandic policier The Valhalla Murders.