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.

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10/25
 

Spouse always wants to go walk for miles along the Lake in the middle of the day when it's hot and crowded. And he always remarks that I seem like I don't want to be there. And I don't. It's hot. And it's crawling with strangers who, for all I know, are eating in restaurants, going to bars, using the gym and recreational shopping in stores. I don't want to be near anyone like that.

Not even in the park.

This makes me think it will be years before I'm really comfortable around strangers at all. And possibly never before I can do crowds again, but I was headed there anyway.

I saw recently a CityLab (I think) blurb, showing how some strategic grocery stores and small commercial could make suburbs actually liveable. I can't leave the city because I do not ever ever ever want to have to drive somewhere if I need milk for my coffee or want to grab a few things at the drugstore. Plunk a grocery down at the top of every cul de sac and a book store or hair salon and I might consider it.

That's the other thing I am increasingly less comfortable with now that I never do it: drive. I drove a 12 mile round trip to buy my sewing machine just before Christmas. And I drove an 8 mile round trip to my office in April. 

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8/29
 

I would really like a sandwich. One of those overly crafted fancy sandwiches with a lot of specialty ingredients. Excellent bread. Expensive cheese. Sprouts. 

I haven't had a good sandwich in probably a year. Since Dummy #1 and I went to Jerry's. Or possibly the last time I was in the Loop at the right time to stop at Pastoral. It's a tiny thing that's making me sad this week while I'm still on my Dear God I Want Life Back kick.

Of course, the flip side of that is how insurmountable simple tasks feel. I've completely forgotten how to do things without the CTA (I have been running between the two condos on my bike for that business, but that's technically walking distance and requires me to carry only keys) and driving? Just.No. It isn't only that the car is 25 years old and starting to show it (the A/C stopped working and now we're not sure whether the windshield wipers do)--it's also mainly I hate driving.  After slightly more than 30 years of hating to drive. I really hate to drive. 

And, of course, the anxiety of being out with strangers. This is partly reasonable (will you keep an appropriate distance? will you wear a mask?) and partly completely unreasonable (are you a McClosky? Are you going to start spouting hate?) and partly banal (I'm out of practice).

So. I stay home. We walk in the park. I do Zoom cocktail hours. Sometimes my sister sits in my yard with me. Spouse does the grocery runs. Dummy #1 runs errands for me and for Dummy #2 sometimes.  In between, I struggle to get work done, sew more cloth masks, do the odd household chore.

In a shockingly unfortunate time, I could be more fortunate only if I were a tech billionaire.

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8/25