Chicago's s 7-day average positivity rate is up 29% in the past week, now at 5.4%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city  have risen 25% since late September. Region 8 (where my parents are--about 20-25 miles from my house in the City) recently surpassed 8% average positivity rates. The highest positivity rate in Illinois is over 11% in Region 1 where Illinois borders Iowa and Wisconsin.

I'm anxious, bored, angry, and tense. I fear the week of November 3 and all of November. I fear that November will bring quiet chaos of empty grocery shelves, but I'm afraid to do any stocking up. Both for fear of looking foolish and also because the grocery store is scary.


I've seen some folks mocking the Northwestern students who rampaged through the aspirational suburb where the campus is to demand removal of the university police. I admit ignorance about jurisdictional authority (and about the Evanston Police Department) but at both the Evanston campus the Chicago campus (where my offices are), the university contracts with the local police departments, for any large gathering, like a protest or a football game.

So I don't know whether NU's campus police in Evanston are "police" or police. But I know the campus demographics at NU. 50% white, coming from families with a median income of 88k.

It seems that the mocking is aimed at kids like this, marching past Whole Foods, protesting campus cops because they are white kids, with rich parents, at college next door to a Whole Foods.

None of which invalidates their point that we should not have universities contracting with police and maybe should not have police at all.

As far as I can tell. they weren't muscling in on the work of abolitionists in Chicago (or even in Evanston). They were not co-opting a message or a movement. They were looking in their own backyard and saying something could be better.

I wonder what bit of news about the protest I'm missing?


I was chatting about TV with a friend in the Slack and I realized--I don't recall liking a lot of things I recall watching every time it came on. Not actively hating, just being really indifferent. I like being indifferent to what's on the TV. I don't often have enough in me to really attend to what I'm watching. Which often means I'm too tired to do anything more interesting.

That's why I miss people and bars and restaurants so much. More entertaining More interesting. Less exhausting, now that I've gotten better about choosing companions.


I think about people with children or multiple partners or roommates, even, and I think "god it's hard enough navigating space with one person."


I lose track of days. No, that's not right. I woke up knowing it was Sunday, October 11(ish--I probably thought it was the 12th), that in a normal year, we should be hearing the marathon crowds gathering. I remembered that we wouldn't be hearing them.

But I can't remember when last I showered. Or called my mom. Or how long ago that doctor's appointment was. The sameness is exhausting.

The mistakes that come from it are strange and often inconsequential. But i stay exhausted from it.


Mom drove in to the City and we had lunch in the yard. Mom despises eating outdoors. She never even mentioned it.

Lunch was good. There's a family-owned & run Mexican place just a few doors down and that was where lunch came from. 

I miss my Mom. 

She helped me pick paint. Validated my design choices. And I did not even cry. Though she scolded me about despair. I told that when something good happens--or when any local, state or federal government helps someone--I don't discount it.

It was beautiful in the yard, sunny, cool, crisp. It was almost normal.


The fender for my bike finally arrived--it's cream when it should be black.

My daily presciption has no refills left--three months early.

Ikea is finally sending my order--but just the doors and hinges, not any of the actual furniture. And the cancelation form sent a "sorry, we could not cancel this order" auto-response. And the phone tree (after you go through several options) gets you "Sorry, we can't handle any more calls" and hangs up.

And did I mention? Four sticks & three blown veins and an arm full of black bruises for an IV for a routine out-patient thing that could not be rescheduled. Plus 90 minutes of screaming anxiety in the public waiting room before they got around to me.

Not a single goddamn thing goes smoothly.


I fell off there for a while. 15 days. I had a minor out-patient procedure which resulted in three blown veins (for the IV) and one minor panic attack and a clean bill of health. And a whole weekend of sleeping.

That's not why I stopped taking notes, however.

But I fell off chronicling how things are because--if you'd noticed--there's little to chronicle. Aside from that one trip to the hospital, I don't leave the house except to walk in the park or sit in the yard. Spouse runs the errands; picks up the take-out. Zoom hangouts are nothing to write home about.

I'm doing postcards to voters but I'm not volunteering. I'm making my phone calls. But I have no insight; no power; no unique take. We're mostly unaffected--no changes to our employment; no illness in our families; no child we're trying to shepherd through trauma. And my own thoughts are simplistic: I'm bored; I'm frustrated; Everything is unreal; I'm frightened.

I laugh and enjoy things with the Spouse or on chats with the friends. I feel strange when things seem normal. I can't wrap my head around the banality of work in this context. I have no hope and periodically we look at ways to leave the country. We have enough money (assuming out money retains any of its current value) but we have no rights to live in another country and we're too old to be attractive as immigrants. I have few marketable skills. It's truly frightening at times.


Today was endless and undifferentiated. I did a handful of random work tasks. A couple minor house tasks. Cooked dinner.

I owe an email to some people who are asking after my health, but I can't bring myself to write back. The truth is the health issue is actually under control and probably needing no more concern, but I'm not done convalescing. I'm trying to figure out what to say that says I'm going to be without capacity for a while, without implying I'm sick. 

I have some virtual social time and a trip to the fancy bakery across the street on the calendar for this week. And a new lipstick is supposedly coming in the mail. How exciting! The world burns, and still we wear lipstick.


Folks, my sister is steel. My mother is impossibly strong. She's carried more people through things than anyone acknowledges. I'm very much like my mother. Particularly in the exasperating ways. 

So I've always figured I'd be carrying people through a lot of things. And I have, honestly. But I forget that she carries me.