A Not Bored Covid Diary

Many people I follow or am in contact with have been  bored into stressing about having nothing to do in their social isolation. These are the sort who post lists of Ten Stop-Motion Films that have changed their lives. One recently blogged a list of ‘last times’ they did certain things like eat in a restaurant, call a barista a stupid fucking idiot – those things we all miss so much.

To rub salt in that wound I haven’t had time to be bored 🙂 Blogging, editing, yard work, house cleaning, purging & zooming around have kept me busy. Covid has saved me money – do I really want to line up for a cup of watery coffee? Are those bonus optimum points for bagels worth the effort of gloves & masks? 

I found some who took social isolation too far by not leaving their homes, apartments for weeks on end. I told one ‘friend’ I go for walks nearly every morning  & they were shocked. They didn’t see the difference between locked down & locked in. Though having a house with two floors & a reasonable sized front & back yard does give me more space for social isolation. I don’t have the experience of being cooped up in a bachelorette for days on end.

It has been inevitable, but sad, to see many businesses along the Danforth closing down with ‘for lease’ signs in their windows. Even with government assistance most didn’t have deep enough pockets to deal with a lockdown this long. Some that are reopening, or who have reopened, have limited hours/days they are open. 

The Danforth itself is about to under go a ‘transformation’ from Broadview to Dawes Road that is to see a reduction in car lanes, an increase in patio space & bike lanes. I hope the bike lanes are wide enough to keep cyclists off the sidewalks where we pedestrians are such a nuisance to them. There’ll also be prettification to encourage people out of their homes & spend spend spend. There’s nothing like the smell of spilt wine & vomit from the night before on a hot summer morning.

 

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rainbow flags all east end Toronto

Covid 101: McMask Meals

Actually it’s probably 105 days of ‘lockdown’ which has loosened somewhat this past week even here in Toronto. I can tell by the amount of traffic on the streets both vehicular & pedestrian. The shift to more masking has seen an uptick, as is masks litter. Though I haven’t seen much ‘corporate’ branded masking. No McMask Meals yet. But I predict they’ll take the place of baseball caps & t-shirts as give-away promotional items. What would you prefer another notepad or a mask? 

No covid immunity breakthroughs, not that I expected one this soon. We’re learning how to keep it from killing people but that’s small consolation. One way to boost the immune system is to stop reading/listening to all the contradictory news. It is clear that travel for pleasure will be restricted to the wealthy, if it happens at all. No DC visits in my future 😦

The US has decided the economy is more important than health – well, that’s always been the case – profits trump everything. Maybe there’s more money to be made in ventilators or letting people die, than in keeping them safe. As they say follow the money – if there was no profit in poverty there’d be no poverty. Treatment is more profitable than cure. What are funeral costs like these days?

In my walks around the neighbourhood I see more dusty stuff at the curb. The result of social isolation covid cleaning frenzies. By stuff I mean old dressers, old upright pianos – big items clearly dragged up out of basements or down from attics. Many of which I’m sure are gone before garbage pick up. I know stuff I’ve ‘curbed’ has been gone within hours. Thanks to covid my house weighs at least 1000 pounds less. 

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Kitchen Kitch

Over the basement door & the door to the dining-room I these two pairs of plaster ‘ornaments’ that I bought in the early 2000’s at a street sale on my street. This was an annual event early in July – will it happen this year? I doubt it as interest in it has declined over the years to the point where only a few house drag stuff out. At one time it was almost a real flea-market with tables of brass, dvd’s, & the like.

I did have stuff, back in the day, & sold off lots of lps, useless nick-knacks, even books. With so much covid purging the past few months I’ve seen possible street sale stuff dragged to the curb to take away or trash so I doubt if there’ll much even if there is a street sale.

Any way I bought these, now of dubious political-correctness, orientalist hangings. Hand-painted, with a couple of chips, there when purchased. Very 50’s, early 60’s feel to them that I love. the perfect size for over a doorway. I resisted a set of grapes & also a set of daises. They lacked the true kitch these have.

By the basement door is this poster on a board. It was an unexpected bonus when I bought the newly-released, expanded, collectors’ edition of The Return of The King at Sam’s or maybe it was HMV. I had picked it pop for my partner who was is TGH at the time for heart issues. As it was unexpected I had to cart it there & then home on the subway.

By the window is my orange tree (now outside for the summer). It was started from a seed that had sprouted in the orange. I planted it & it actually grew. Full spectrum grow light over it. Beside it, against the wall, is ‘Sober-Up.’ Enamelled metal, 30’s style advertising – that maybe be for a real product. It was part of a friend’s estate – when he passed I got to chose a few items & this seemed like a clear choice.

Finally another yard-sale purchase – an egg chicken. Every kitchen needs a chicken. You life the top off & store eggs in the body. I’ve never used it to store anything mind you but I love it. Hand painted with a bit of a 30’s retro about it at the same time. I doubt if it is a period piece though. I also doubt if people keep eggs outside of the fridge either. 

Aphrodisiac

I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you 

after three drinks

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

how they turn into such selfish bitches

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest 

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

<>

you may think I’m one of those 

predatory homos you are sure 

are always lurking around

hungry for any straight guy 

to fall into my eager mouth

well honey 

you are in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because 

I was wondering where you got them

<>

you know in this light 

you are sort of cute

and kind of sweetly drunk

but I’m not drunk enough

so why don’t you find your buds 

you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always seem to end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac mac

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Postcards From The Covid Edge

Ontario’s State of Emergency has been extended to June 30 -m that gives me threes to finish my covid cleaning frenzy. Thanks to rainy mornings I’ve been fairly focused though I only manage ninety minutes each morning it is getting thing done. This past week it was the front porch. The space is long & not too wide so I have to move things to one end, do that area move things back, move more things move them back etc. 

As with other rooms discoveries are made as I sift the site for artifacts lost in the dust. Bags filled with stuff that hasn’t been used, or seen for decades. Rubic’s cube? You go to the curb. Sorting through my postcard collection & I find cards going back to 1966! Cards from around the world from people whose names mean nothing to me saying how much they wished I was with them.

Most will be kept. I may do another sort into countries, states, provinces & maybe year – if I can make out the post mark. I even found a Father’s Day  card that I gave my Dad! Must have something my sister found in his pile of things after he died. No, I don’t remember buying it but I do recognize my handwriting.

Next step in porch cleaning will be the windows on Friday. The we get back to the garden next week. Social isolation is working out is ways I didn’t anticipate so I may end up with a couple of new habits around the house. Though the next round of cleaning probably would result in as much purging. Are ashtrays now collectables I wonder?

No real news on the covid front. The number of new cases per day is dropping even with increased testing. More stores are opening but with new safety protocols. Masks & gloves become ordinary. More places are producing their branded wear so I expect to see happy meal masks by the end of June. No mask postcards, yet.

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#Music To Eat By

Foreground Music 

when the server asked me

a third time

what I wanted

I knew it was time to leave

I came to eat

not shout

I would have asked

for the music to be turned down

then thought

do I want to eat in a place

where the music is so loud

where the customers

are happy with the sonic blast

to distract them from their food

all of them hunched over meals

not looking at each other

did they order via smart phone

I decline to order & leave

I am clearly not 

their target demographic

not their desired patron

I’m used to this leaving

when music is too loud

when too many TVs are on

when the service is too slow

is this discernment

or impatience

is it unfair expectations

or is this entitlement

not that it matters to me

or to them

no one comes running after me

to ask what’s the matter

is there something we can do

to make your experience better

as I leave

they don’t even hear 

the door shut behind me

This piece is at least three years old now & the incident goes back even further. It wasn’t the only time I’ve experienced this sonic toxicity. Most recently it was on a Sunday morning, on a socially distant walk with a friend along the Danforth, with everything, at that time, closed thanks to covid. We passed a ‘pub’ – which wouldn’t have been open then anyway but their patio sound-system was echoing along the empty street.

I understand that music allows patrons to carry on private conversations without being overheard, that music can create a welcoming ambience, that some companies specialize is marketing music that make people eat more, shop faster – but if it so loud one can’t even order it defeats its purpose.

I also realize some people love loud music & when I moan about my dislike of it I am seen as a crabby old coot. Whatever. By the way it doesn’t matter what type of music – hip-hop, Tibetan death metal, Bach, jazz – too loud is too loud. Is there a study that says loud music improves the taste of food? 

I have left restaurants when the music was too loud – I’ve walked in & left when there are too many big screen TVs on, usually on different sports channels – red flags that I don’t even want to see the menu before deciding. Yes, I know being able to afford to dine out is entitlement & there are more pressing issues in the world & my life but you know, everyone enjoys peace & quiet. 

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Bye Bye Monopoly

Thanks to the weather this has been yet another week of deep house cleaning, purging & rearranging. That is three mornings of social isolation in which I listen to podcast & dust, vacuum & lose the weight of stuff. The weather has cooperated somewhat with rainy or overcast mornings so staying indoors isn’t so challenging. 

Advances in technology have made the purging process easier – I found a drawer full of those little diskettes that predated cds. Bye. Bye. So much paper that our recycle bin is full to the brim. I can’t wait to see it emptied by the city at the end of the week because I already have more to get rid of 🙂 

The covid crisis hasn’t been personally stressful but I has let me stop & do things I’ve been meaning to do for too long. The meditative power of the walk seemed more spiritually elevating than getting rid of cobwebs (yes there lots of those in not so dark corners). Food a pile of board games : Scrabble, Monopoly etc that hasn’t seen the light of day in over 20 years. I put them near the sidewalk for folks to take & most of them, except Monopoly where gone within a couple of hours. Put the remains out the next & those that didn’t get new homes were unboxed & sorted into the blue bin. Bye bye Monopoly. 

I opted to do this home isolation a few morning a week to comply with the stay home rule. Now that I’ve pulled out the vacuum I am pleased with the sense of peace that comes seeing no dust, no twenty-year-old caches of never-to-be-used paper & to see actual empty space. The house is cleaner. More rooms yet to be done though as I am only devoting 90 focused minute at a time to this process. Who knows how much longer this lockdown might last & I don’t want to do a whirlwind job just to get it out of the way, then have no productive distractions left. Yes, I can eat one chocolate a day from a box of chocolates 🙂

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Photos Don Valley April 23, 2020

Summer Events

The state of emergency has been extended to June 2, 2020. Social distancing will be deemed unnecessary on June 3, 2025. Masks will be become a legal requirement. There will be boom industry in making them & also a boom in clear plastic face guards. Face guards will be available from optometrists with your vision prescription built right in & also as sunglasses. Sales of sunscreen will plummet.

Many of the events I look forward to in summer are not happening. Capturing Fire postponed to fall (maybe – but I doubt if travel restrictions/conditions will be lifted by then. Who can afford 14 days quarantine in USA?) Stratford Festival has cancelled its 2020 season, the same with the Shaw. If social restrictions for restaurants loosen we may make a day trip to Shakespeare to pick up some pies & on to Stratford for lunch at Features – to make sure we remember the route 🙂

Resorted to Amazon for vitamin c and zinc – if we could have found them on the shelves at Shoppers I would have bought them there but both have been out-of-stock since early March. I’ve frequently at least 5 different Shoppers at various days & times & unlike toilet paper, the have not returned.

I’ve kept busy with covid deep house cleaning, purging & rearranging. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see, or rather not see, energy moved out of the house. When the city picks up the various bins it’s like losing weight. I feel no remorse or regret, yet, for shedding those things saved for donation, or for a time they’ll come in handy. It has been a week of in house work – too cool in the morning for working in the garden 😦

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

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Covid #Cleaning

I love the American spirit of independence – no one is going to tell them act to do & some of them say ‘fuck your’ social distancing even if it kills them & everyone around them. They want to die with their work boots on so don’t get in their way, you pussy, cowardly, snowflakes. Is civil war war brewing?

 

I haven’t been following the news that closely though, what I know comes from the headlines that can’t be avoided when checking the weather. I do check to see what new social restrictions I should be aware of but that’s it. As a result I am sleeping as well as I always do. But I haven’t been taking my morning walks as I usually do. 

I’ve been devoting that 90 minutes to housework. Cleaning, purging, raking, uprooting. Mon Wed Fri mornings are my covid cleaning mornings. I was hoping to alternate, one week inside, the other week outside. But this past week as been too chilly (for me) for yard work so it’s been two week of vacuuming & purging. Book shelves have gotten a more in-depth dusting than usual. Tops of window frames too. I have enough house for at least another two weeks of this & by then the curve will have planked. If not there’s always the …. shudder …. basement to be purged of those bits of wood that never did come in handy after ten years.

 

The ‘stress’ of social distancing hasn’t been bad at all. Social isolation has been easy enough as well. I have met with some recovery friends (one at a time, on different days) for social distant walks & talks. Zoom recovery meetings have been good – at least I don’t have to step back to avoid holding hands at the end of the meeting 🙂

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet