It’s COVID-19 in Peru Day 16.

I wake up around 1:30. I breathe deep, do the tricks I have in the bag to get back to sleep. Typically, if these are going to work, they do so in about 15 minutes. When they don’t, I say, hell with it. Then I get up and read.

Tonight I give them half an hour. Not only do they not work, they get worse. Specifically, I start to do worst case scenario with my son. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t have listened to that podcast yesterday.

Whatever. I did. Now I fight back the certainty that my son will get sick and I’ll be stuck here, or I’ll get sick and be stuck here.

My sister Julie has told me that 2 a.m. is the Hour of the Wolf. I decide to stop staring the Wolf in the face and do something that has nothing to do with scariness. So I get the crossword out of the way. That way, when Steve inevitably gets up before me, he can do it while I sleep.

(I always do the NYT crossword first, because I never use the check answer function and Steve does. If you use the check answer function, the crossword doesn’t count in your streak. So as long as I do the crossword first, I get the point for the streak, and Steve can use the check answer without me getting all bitchy because he broke my streak. Not that this has ever happened.)

Not So Quiet City

As I sit, I hear a lot of traffic, even though we’re deep inside curfew hours. It sounds big enough to be buses, but when I look out the window, it’s just cars, the sound magnified by the vast open spaces.

At one point, a car alarm goes completely crazy, as car alarms do. On what used to be a normal night, it probably wouldn’t have registered as a blip. Now, of course, it erupts into the darkness, a sonic expression of panic.

It stops, eventually. As car alarms do.

What’s Up with All the Traffic, though?

As I do my morning roof laps, completely alone yet again, the street is downright noisy. Again, this is nothing compared to what it was in that long ago week when we first walked through a bunch of different parts of Lima. But I look down in the street, and there are at least a half dozen buses. Are some people going back to work?

When I get back, Steve’s talking to a friend. We’ve had so many warnings about how bad things will be when we get home. It’s well meant, I know, and it’s born at least partially out of disbelief. It’s almost as if people are apologizing for things not being “normal.”

I think the desire to get back to the way things were may be what makes me the most nervous. All of us had blinders on. COVID destroyed those. We need to stop reaching for things that no longer exist.

We really want to get back, but we’re not fooling ourselves that we’re coming home to Normal. Or that New Normal is anywhere close to being achieved.

Anyway, first we need to get back.

British Ingenuity

My friend Joanna, who happens to have repatriated to England last year and currently lives in the UK’s COVID-19 epicenter, sent me this. It’s brilliant, in the way that both Americans (as used by Europe and the US) and Brits use the term.

Another friend sends me the link to Jon Krasinski’s new effort, SNG, or Some Good News. It’s wonderful. Jon Krasinski has always reminded me of my nephew Jon Cobler. Watching Mr. K get teary, well, I feel like I’ve gotten a big hug.

Start the Revolution With Me, and Also, Why I Hate Facebook

I find out from Liz Warren’s email list that Whole Foods workers are walking out on the job today (Tuesday, March 31, 2020).

Now one thing I’ve been looking forward to in a US future that seems increasingly distant is shopping at Whole Foods. But hell yeah, workers, walk out. Jeff Bezos can easily and luxuriously live on 1% of his fortune. He can ensure that his workers at WF, which Amazon now owns, and at Amazon, are safe and secure, that they don’t have to work when they’re sick, that they have the paid sick leave they need, that they aren’t working so hard that they get sick in the process, and they don’t feel forced to work because they don’t want to lose their job when everyone around them is losing theirs.

I’m not a big petition signer; it always seems to be a way to get my email so that the folks organizing the petition can ask me to Chip In down the road. But I sign, I post on Facebook because I know more people there than elsewhere, many of whom consider themselves Political Animals and Warrior for the Left.

It gets, maybe, 5 likes?

I mean, here people are, bitching about our government—which fully, in my opinion, cocked things up when it comes to CVD and cocks pretty much everything up, and while that’s worse under Mr. T, it’s been bad for many a decade. And yet here’s a public policy issue, essential workers organizing for their rights to be safe and healthy.

And literally 1% of my friends respond.

I’ve emerged from my FB hibernation to do this. What a worthless exercise.

So I won’t be doing that again. I can learn!

Steve Goes on a Walk

Steve heads out for an hour and comes back inspired. He’s recorded what he can see in an hour of round trip walking, toward the ocean and back. So once we get the pictures run through his computer and then mine, I’ll be posting.

It’s been a slow Embassy day, next to no communication. Last I heard, President Vizcarra had extended repatriation efforts through April 1. The Embassy has told us we’ll have notice the night before.

So we’re definitely not getting out tomorrow. And we have no idea if we’ll get out this week. But the city is definitely noisier. A helicopter barrels by at one point. Maybe it’s a good sign.

Meanwhile, we’re good. We have a Spanish lesson scheduled with our teacher and friend Alberto. We’re watching stuff, reading, working out, enjoying the sunshine, staying in touch. I’m worried about my son but trying not to be.

My daughter, meanwhile, sends me a Yo-Yo Ma clip. “He makes it look so easy,” she says.

When you hear from your kids, your day simply gets better.


It’s raining. My son feels no better or worse. We chat. We resolve that we will both be fine.

Steve and I watch a documentary about mushroom and blueberry harvesting in the Carpathians. They look a lot like the Black Forest. Will we ever get back?

We watch Only Angels Have Wings because we are in the mood for Cary Grant. This comes about because I tell Steve one of my favorite Hollywood stories. Apparently, when Cary Grant was in his 50s or 60s—like many stars of the era, he was a little cagey on his exact age—a reporter sent him a telegram: “How old Cary Grant?”

Cary Grant sent back the following: “Old Cary Grant fine. How you?”

Steve howls at this.

We fine. How you?