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The year of the COVID-19 rat

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

We’re living in unprecedented times.

A friend/neighbor wanted to come over to my apartment but because she works in the service industry, I thought long and hard about the chances of her being exposed to COVID-19 before finally saying yes.

She’s here and tells me she’s worried about the café she works at. Hours are cut, customers are absent, only the regulars bother showing up.

Still, we enjoy a hearty laugh about how we’re probably safe because we are young and healthy. “It’s the boomers who are at risk,” she jokes. I shake my head and chime in, “Yeah and they’re backing Biden in the upcoming presidential election...”

We’re both artists and are supposed to be in an exhibition next month that opens during the First Thursday art walk in Pioneer Square. She’s already cancelled another show because of the quarantine. A decision needs to be made about our show but we’re not sure if the art walk is going to happen. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee ordered a halt to all gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Even though 250 people will definitely not be at our show at once, we don’t want to be exposed to any crowds or be a mitigating factor in creating a crowd.

“Maybe we can just hang our work and not be there,” I suggest.

We try to grasp the concept of how we’re at the epicenter of a global pandemic yet the very people who should have voted for Medicare-for- All, chose not to. Truth is, while we want to experience some morbid joy from the silent generation or baby boomers being mostly affected by COVID-19, our favorite presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is from the silent generation too.

“Also, unfunny,” she says, “is the fact that Andrew Yang, the man who wanted to give every American $1000 and start a revolution, joined CNN and in the most uninspiring and unrevolutionary manner, he endorsed Joe Biden.”

"And if that's not bad enough" she continues, “Someone hung a rat outside the café. I was the first one to see it when I opened this morning. It’s a sign of the times. A sign of what we’re going through.”

Governor Jay Inslee has also ordered all private, public K-12 schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to close through April 24 due to coronavirus concerns. We both live in an artist residence and have a community meeting this evening about how we can help each other out during this quarantine.

I ask her, “Do you remember WA schools ever shut down for two weeks?”

“Maybe for an extra week after winter break, during the coldest winter weeks but in the middle of March over a global pandemic? No, never. A lot of people will need childcare,” she says.

“Well, what now?” I ask her.

I guess we’ll find out in 14 days.

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