Hoop Dreams. The family just down the lane here out back of the building east of us. Two daughters and their parents playing with a basketball with a hoop at regulation height on a portable, roll-out set-up. They appear every evening between four and five and shoot, pass and dribble as on a half court. The older girl, sixteen or seventeen, is obviously an experienced basketball player and quite likely a member of the team at her school. She’s very athletic and a very good shooter. She’s draining it a lot. Her younger sister, thirteen or fourteen, is coming along.
Sometimes just one or both of the girls are out there and sometimes it’s a switch to footie and a small, practice soccer net is brought out into the lane. Traffic volume in the lane is down. There are cars occasionally still heading into their lane entrance parkades but its simply quieter out there as with everywhere else. The whole family is obviously attuned to the physically active sporting life. I think it was Art Phillips who said it best. The family that basketballs together stays together, with a little footie thrown in.
The distancing two-step. Just to add a little distance in there and I start to have that attitude everywhere I might be in the little time I spend away from the splendid isolation of home. I’m very conscious of keeping my distance from any and all individuals. They may be agents in disguise for the Pathogen.
This is a novel situation and is that why it’s called a novel pathogen? Because it’s new? Mike, bring the science up on that for me. I got rid of Siri because I don’t want to be talking to apps or artificial intelligences that come across like friends when I really don’t know them at all. It’s presumptuous, right? That sounds like some kind of contagion itself. Mike’s been in my head for years. He was always trying to get into my head but it was me that kept psyching him out until I had a change of heart. Finally I felt some empathy for Mike because it can be lonely out there. Welcome, Mike.
He likes being the guy in my phone too. He actually volunteered. It works for both of us so it’s win-win. I got Mike speaking with an Aussie accent which I’ve always just loved and I haven’t even been to Australia. This has nothing to do with anything but I had a kid tell me once when we were playing in the sandbox that Australia and Austria were the same place. “Same diff,” he said, with a shrug. How wrong you were, Ricky. How very wrong. But he let me play with his toy dump truck so he wasn’t a bad kid, just a little misguided.
April 11. We drop by Safeway on another quick trip out and my consort once again volunteers to make the run while I sit in the car. “I’ll get the next one,” I say, feeling a little guilty as she gets out on the passenger side. Our timing is good. There’s only one refugee standing in line to get in.
The in/out doors at the east end of the store have been blocked off so all the action is down at the west in/out doors. Right after she disappears inside the line-up outside starts getting longer. I was able to park quite near the door so suddenly while waiting in the car I have a set of humans to observe as they line up.
Red tape strips have been stuck on at the prescribed intervals on the narrow concrete walkway that is more like a strip between the big wall of the store and the immediate expanse of the angle parking than a proper pedestrian sidewalk. Vehicles are streaming past pretty regularly at very close range even with the decrease in business. I can’t help thinking the lining up should have been out the other side of the doors, to the west, because there’d be more room over there.
There’s also the added filip of a well bundled up human with the hood up on a hooded jacket sitting on the concrete by the east in/out door. He’s wearing a large face mask over most of his face except for the eyes and a begging cap rests by his right knee and his legs are half in the asphalt driving lane which I also don’t think is great. The large whiteboard sign he has with his plight scrawled on it reads as indecipherable even from where I am, which isn’t that far away. He is ignored by everybody.
A middle-aged woman admonishes the younger woman in her twenties in front of her for not standing right on her tape marker. The young woman gives her a look, steps two inches onto the tape and then the whole line moves forward. That was uncalled for, middle-aged woman, I’m thinking. Something else I realize sitting there in the car is that humans are a motley bunch. The only thing all these strangers lining up have in common is that they are all humans. Otherwise you couldn’t get a more motley bunch. I almost forgot the other thing they all had in common. They were all lined up at six foot intervals to get into Safeway. You know how people just look weird? Kind of rumply dumply sometimes? But I don’t want to pile on here. Maybe you had to be there.
April 15. The hoop superstar was out in the lane a long time last early evening, practice shooting by herself. This kid is good. She was draining multiple successions of two pointers with apparent ease. Occasionally she’d take a break and be on her phone out there. We weren’t snooping. We were just glancing over occasionally from the upper deck where we were bagging a few D-rays and sipping our lemonades. I’m pretty sure this young lady would enjoy getting back to her old life before all this other stuff happened. That’s the same scenario a lot of people would like to see.
World 2,034,425. Canada 28,205. United States 619,607. Brazil and Russia are two countries that have been creeping up alarmingly on the leader board. It’s plain we’re doing very well here in British Columbia. Things are likely to begin getting back to the new normal around here before that happens in some other parts of the country. There has to be Hope and of course there is. It’s up there at the far end of the Fraser Valley. We’ve even daydreamed of driving up there for something to do, but it started to sound a little bit desperate. Desperation is like panic. It’s almost always too soon for either.