The Plague Notebook: Groceries, A Hit to Comedy, & What I’m Reading

The Mature People’s Shopping Hour, obviously snapped before masks were recommended.

Everybody’s got it.   The plague.  The virus.  Even Dr. Anthony Fauci is in self-quarantine.

I had the sniffles the other night, but then I always feel sick after going to the grocery store. In our masks, we feel like extras in a remake of  Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. There was no sanitizer to wipe down the cart, so my husband gave me one of his gloves.  It reminded me of the scene in Little Women, where Jo and Meg  each wear one clean glove and carry one stained glove at a dance.  (Jo had spilled lemonade on her gloves, if I remember correctly.)  We each wore one glove, but this was sanitation etiquette, not party manners.

I would rather shop during  “mature people’s hours,” 7-8 a.m., but Mr. Nemo thinks we’re not “mature” enough.  Also it’s too early in the morning.   I imagine it would dispel the general anxiety and paranoia of being in a crowd, though.  Most people during regular hours wear masks, but some do seem to be maskless and ill.  (Perhaps they don’t have anyone to shop for them.) And of course the “mature” are better at self-distancing than the young, who surmise (falsely) from the news that only old people with underlying health conditions will suffer and die.

 PROCEED WITH CAUTION, EVERYBODY. 

N.B.  I don’t have the virus.  It’s allergy season.  Splendid!  

SO WHAT’S NEW ON THE BOOKISH FRONT?  I was so bored one afternoon that I made a book video (one minute, 46 seconds, and too long at that!). Oh, so that’s what I look like, I thought, curiously without mortification.  I can weather the most fantastic changes and not care, a gift from the Three Fates, or possibly the Muses.

What inspired me to make a video was the boredom of lockdown TV.  Comedy especially has taken a hit now that all the comedians are talking to each other from different rooms:  it’s like watching Hillary in 2016, trying desperately to connect.   But kudos to Parks and Recreation, which did a kind of virus-education fund-raiser–and ended up showing Leslie how to make a group video phone call.  Now that’s information we might actually need. 

I AM SURE YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT I’M READING.

In progress:  Gene Wolfe’s The Sword of the Lictor, the third in the award-winning Book of the New Sun quartet. Folio Society recently published a Limited Edition of this science fiction classic.  I have a paperback.

Jane Austen’s Sanditon.  Now that I’ve watched the last season of  Homeland (what will I do without Carrie?), I’m turning to the Masterpiece drama Sanditon.  I may already have read an old edition of Sanditon, finished by “Another Lady,” or perhaps that was Lady Susan!  Anyway, it was long ago.  But Jane Austen, finished or unfinished, is always a pleasure.

American Indian Stories, by Zitkala-Sa (1876-1936).  This collection of autobiographical stories and selected poetry of Zitkala-Sa, a member of the Yankton Dakota,  is beautifully-written and absorbing.  I am especially impressed with the account of her experiences at a missionary boarding school in Indiana, where well-meaning teachers proved to be racist.  Why have I never heard of her before?  This is one of the books in the excellent Modern Library Torchbearers series.

AND I HOPE SOON TO READ Love, Anger, Madness, a Haitian triptych by Marie Vieux-Chauvet.  According the the book jacket, “this stunning triptych of novellas vividly depicts families and artists struggling to survive in Haiti under terrifying government oppression. “

Stay home, stay safe, and ignore the politicians!