Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid-19 ruminations

I started smoking when I was 18 in Korea and gave it up when I was 28 during the cancellation of the Skybolt program in Long Beach.  I was doing a lot of free-diving in those days and didn’t want my lungs affected.  I can recall especially liking cigarillos and considered taking it up again recently figuring that surely I wouldn’t live long enough for a recent addiction to cigarillos to affect my health.  On the other hand, I am much given to day-dreaming and in that state am forgetful.  I might very well set fire to myself.

As to reading the papers, I discontinued reading the local Riverside Press Enterprise which I had delivered and which I would have to wobble out in the dark every morning to retrieve.   I replaced it with the on-line edition of the Los Angeles Times.  I get several periodicals in the mail and do have to wobble out to my mail box for these, but I do that at mid-day when the sun is out:  the TLS, London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The American Interest, Foreign Affairs, Discover, Scientific American, Science News, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Wired, and National Review

Being a hermit at heart, the Covid-19 distancing and isolating hasn’t affected me much.  I have a cleaning lady come in once a week.  I leave a check for her downstairs and keep my dogs up in my study while she cleans.  That was our arrangement before Covid-19 and hasn’t changed.  A gardener comes once a week to take care of the lawns.  His only concern is that I keep the dogs out of the back yard while he is here; so he sends me an email when he is about ready to arrive. 

I recall discussing retirement with a professor of theology from Philadelphia years ago.  He said that he would want to retire near a major library.  I was used to having access to major libraries, but was not willing to retire to a city and so reconciled myself to buying whatever books I needed.  That has worked out well enough.  Whatever subject I happen to be interested in at the time, if I only buy books I am ready to read, I can’t read fast enough to cause their purchase to make a dent in my bank balance. 

Years ago during one of the Israel vs everyone else in the neighborhood conflicts (and not trusting my news sources at the time) I subscribed to the Jerusalem Post, but after a few years let my subscription lapse.  Yet even today, several organizations assume I am Jewish, and send me notifications and invitations for various publications and activities.  My theological friend would have told me I could have avoided that by reading The Jerusalem Post in a decent library. . . all of which seem to be closed at the present time because of covid-19.

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