Sometimes it’s the little things

It’s day whatever of the quarantine, and life in New York is either extremely boring or filled with the dead and dying, depending on your job.  My job is data analyst, so no corpses for me.  As Ma Ingalls says in one of those classic Little House books, after a plague of grasshoppers destroys the wheat crop (but keeps the chickens well-fed), “there’s no great loss without some small gain”.  Let’s turn that around to “there’s no great loss without some small but very annoying inconvenience.”

life before the grasshopper plague

The great losses we are tasting now.  Loss of personal liberty to roam the world, friends and family who are sick, the mounting lists of the dead, insufficient medical equipment for front-line workers, and the decimation of jobs and the global economy.  You don’t need me to tell you that, so let’s get to my catalog of small but very annoying inconveniences.  I know you’ll read it.  What else do you have to do today?

Severely restricted coffee choices

In the carefree days of yore, when the Times ran articles such as “storing milk in the door of your refrigerator…modern convenience, or a death-sentence for your children?”, I was able to go to Buuni , and have them grind me up a big bag of fresh coffee beans.  The kind that are roasted to perfection, with the oils still fresh.  You can smell how good it is through the bag.  Now, of course, Buuni is out of commission and I have been forced to drink, gag, SUPERMARKET coffee.  Oh, wait, Buuni has home delivery!  Saved!

Life has ceased to be worth living.

Lack of Attention to Noise Pollution

By the spouse.  I’m grateful that nothing I’ve done has gone viral, like that woman pooping during a conference call.  Having been a corporate minion all my life, I learned early on what happens when you forget to mute the mic while snarfing chips, belching loudly, or breathing through your mouth. Picture the early years of the millennium:  20 suited businesspeople are sitting around a glossy walnut conference table the size of a small swimming pool.  In the center, a discrete hole has been drilled and clad in aluminum to accommodate the wires for an “audio console” that would have made Captain Kirk proud.  A lone employee has dialed in to the meeting, and he’s on speaker.  The mute feature is a few years in the future, so every single thing he does is audible to the rest of us, including the kind of personal bodily functions best left un-aired.  Simply breathing could cause the type of feedback that SciFi fans associate with Darth Vader. 

Spock. You’re not on mute!

It prepared me for this crisis.  The husband, however, hasn’t been a salary rat since he was an intern in the mailroom at Pfizer in 19-ought-seventy?  Eighty? Whatever.  It was before they had invented telephone consoles, so he is clueless.  Here’s me, on a call:  “Right, JP – I’ll get that spreadsheet to you asap, EOD at the latest…[the merry sound of running water]…oh wait…[scramble scramble door slams] … are we through here?  Great. Talk later.  Jane out.”  That’s what my boss hears.  Once I’m off the call, though, Al (the hub) and I have to have a long convo about the science of acoustics.

Cancelation of Fun Events

Lest I sound ungrateful, let me say thank you to everyone from the Met Opera to Broadway to Candy Crush.  The Met and Broadway are streaming free shows.  Candy Crush is giving me unlimited lives, yay!  And there are free programs online from everywhere.

And, of course, check out D.J. D-Nice’s Instagram Live feed

A different kind of culture.

But, I was really looking forward to my 2nd cousin’s family reunion in June!  We are all very grateful to our cousin who goes to all the work and trouble to put together a family reunion for my Mom’s side of the family every few years.  Note: this is the backhills cowboy side of my family (as opposed to the dirt farming beet picker side of my family), and I always enjoy catching up with them and seeing the latest in Christian Life Home Schooling, time-saving devices for your camper, and firearms and ammo.  And you can’t beat the barbeque with a stick. Last reunion, I snagged some homemade moose jerky, a watercolor portrait of a hen, and a set of hand towels with embroidered cowboy boots.  It was an impressive haul.

Some things, you just can’t stream.

I’ll miss all that, even though the older generation is mostly gone.  Aunt Ula (pronounced YOOOO-la) spent the last 10 years of her life (85 to 95) living in a deluxe camper with 3 axles that you need a special license to drive.  She and her tiny, drooling, snapping dog (“baby”) lived the gypsy life driving around the southwest and staying in trailer parks until the urge hit her to up sticks and move.  It’s kind of an attractive vision, when you think about it. 

Sigh – maybe next year.

Candidate to practice mindfulness, first square down from the top.


  1. Terrifying picture of all the relatives. They could probably arrive safely and gather in Colorado without fear of the virus. Not so easily daunted. Aunt Ula and your grandma, Alma, once were blocked by a large tree that had fallen across the road. They got out of the car and removed it. They were in their nineties. Anyhow, interesting post. A loss of good coffee is right up there on my list of scary items to lose, next to toilet paper.

    • Proof indeed, if any more were needed, that I come from hearty stock. Except for my great-grandma who was felled by the 1918 pandemic, so I don’t think immunity to the coronavirus family runs in our family.

      • Just a quick FYI so you will know–Her name was formally Flora Vernon, but your Grandma Alma said she did not like that name. She wanted to be called Vernie. At any rate, you are correct, she is not a shining example of how to survive a pandemic.

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