Notes From the Pandemic, Day 58

The plan, and still the intent, is to utilize my long morning walks as a time to listen to audiobooks. However, as was the case with workouts on the elliptical motion machines at the gym, it also seems to be the perfect time to dictate posts like this into my phone. That combined with a stretch of days that didn’t include a lengthy stroll has resulted in little progress on Camus’s The Plague over the past week. At some point, I’ll reach some sort of happy equilibrium, but until then…

Last weekend, we began work on what is probably our first pandemic project: properly organizing the garage and getting rid of the junk that’s accumulated via years of inertia. This task has really needed our attention for longer than we care to admit. Aside from the boxes of things that haven’t been touched since moving nearly nine years ago, much of what is currently stored in there is more or less haphazardly strewn around.

We started by tossing some of the things that could obviously go into the trash. However, that’s not necessarily as easy as it was just two months ago. As part of their efforts to protect their workers, something we totally endorse, the trash company will only empty their approved trash and recycle bins. They will not accept anything placed on the curb for disposal. As a result, a section of the garage has become the area where we will neatly stack everything that we will most likely need to pay a junk removal company to take off our hands.

Further complicating our efforts is the significant amount of e-waste piled into a couple boxes. Ideally, it should all go to an electronics recycling program. However, Virginia doesn’t really have such a program — at least, that was the case when I last checked the website for the state agency that should be in charge of such a thing. (Admittedly, that was at least a couple years go.) In fact, the posted directions/suggestions were to take old computers, wires, peripherals, etc. to Best Buy for their recycling program. Unfortunately, at this time the closest Best Buy is only allowing curbside pick up of online orders. So, more items for the junk section of the garage.

In the meantime, we are re-opening all the old boxes, deciding what can be saved and what can be pitched, and repacking what we are saving into sturdier plastic storage bins. Those Items are finding new homes in plastic bins freed as part of another long avoided project: resorting the Lego collection. Despite its size, and the amount of space it occupies in the garage, no effort is being made to whittle down the size. For the time being, I am relocating many Lego into larger bins and their original, smaller bins are being used for repacking items. This effort also serves to help remove the various sets currently taking space in my work office.

The garage isn’t the only place where this kind of effort is needed. A couple areas of the house also have turned into clutter zones. Those need to be tackled in much the same manner. When all this is done, it’ll be time to see who will remove all the detritus at the best price.

None of this spring cleaning would be happening at this time without the current travel restrictions and stay at home orders. Mind you, half the country is hell-bent on re-opening, proving once again humankind’s self-destructive capacity for selfishness, greed, and carelessness towards others. To a degree, it seems that as with things such as recycling and other forms of trying to reduce our carbon footprint and waste, we are left attempting to do the right thing while the powers that be allow the situation to barrel out of control. All we can do is lead our lives as best we can.

So much of life under these conditions is unnerving — and not just the pandemic and the federal government’s woefully inadequate response to the crisis. Before this started, we as a species were already facing a series of events (plastic pollution, pending environmental collapse, runaway climate change — to name a few) that could potentially cause the downfall of the U.S., and human civilization as a whole. Yet, little work was being done to address those. Given the collective denial and inaction of this country’s leaders to those problems, I suppose it’s not surprising that so many of them have collectively decided to shrug and act like the economy matters far more than human lives.

It’s all depressing as hell.


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