There’s a Difference

I feel the pressure building up again, so I’m going to inflict another rant on y’all before the steam starts spraying out of my ears. Thanks for your patience.

Damn it, people, “stay at home” means you remain in your house.

It’s that simple.

Yes, I know the directives have exceptions. Here in California, the exceptions are to go shopping for essentials and for exercise.

I’m fine with anyone who goes for a walk, a jog, a bike ride, or other exercise. Solo or with someone they live with. Go for it. I won’t even complain if you take your mask off, as long as you’re actually in motion–keep it on if you’re doing stationary exercises, or face my wrath.

But apparently there are way, way too many people who are unclear on what constitutes “essentials”.

A few hints:

Buying groceries is essential. Having a sit-down meal in (or outside) a restaurant is not. Take-out is fine–no worse, epidemiologically speaking than grocery shopping–as long as you take it home to eat.

Shopping for a computer, cell phone, or tablet so you can work, go to school, stay in touch with family and friends, and, yes, entertain yourself is essential. Shopping for any of the above because your old one is the wrong color, weighs a couple of ounces more than the latest model, or has a small scratch on the back is not essential.

Entertainment media you can take home–books, movies, video games (yes, even video game consoles)–are essential; we don’t want anyone assaulting family members just to break up the monotony. Outside entertainment–movies, sporting events, concerts–not essential. Note that I’m not drawing a distinction between indoor and outdoor events. Yes, the risk is lower outdoors, but the constant vigilance required to stay six feet away from all the yahoos who won’t wear a mask outside is going to ruin your enjoyment of the event. Drive-in theaters? If everyone stayed in their car with the windows closed and the engine off, maybe safe enough–but essential? No.

Buying a new freezer? Depends. If you don’t have one or it doesn’t work, essential. If you want a second one to store the groceries you’re hoarding, not essential. And rethink your priorities if you accumulated a six-month supply of ground beef.

Getting the picture?

Think about it this way: remember “shelter in place” and how much you enjoyed that?* If we don’t stop breaking curfews and going out for non-essentials, we’re going find ourselves back in Shelterinplaceland.

* Man, March seems like a long time ago!

Viruses don’t care how stir-crazy you are.

Vaccines are not cures, nor are they 100% effective, and they won’t be universally available for months yet.

If it helps any, try pretending it’s a earthquake drill, like we had in school, back when we had schools. A very, very protracted drill.

Duck and cover!

(Note: duck is not essential–but it is available from many grocery and restaurant delivery services.)

My Home Is My Castle

A new element of concern has appeared. It’s not totally new–but let me back up.

We’ve known there were coyotes in the area for quite some time. Every so often, they go on a noise binge. The most recent, and by far the most notable, was the night after we abdopted Sachiko. Hearing the beasts yowling right outside went a long way toward convincing us we had done the right thing in taking her in.

But since then, the coyotes have been quiet and largely unobtrusive. Until last night, that is. While I was getting Rufus’ dinner* together, I spotted a coyote trotting through the bushes beyond the back fence. Nor was I the only one who saw it. Instead of going nose-down in his bowl until he finished dinner, Rufus took a few bites, then went to his favorite lookout post. Back to the bowl, back to standing watch. I was tempted to offer him a sandwich so he could eat and keep watch, but decided his lack of opposable thumbs would make it hard to eat a sandwich.

* Trader Joe’s gooshy fud + lysine for his respiratory system + extra water for his urinary tract = a delicious and nutritious meal. At least, we assume it’s delicious: he certainly eats it eagerly. And he’s definitely putting on weight, which is good. He was far too skinny for his frame.

But coyotes aside, he’s settling in nicely. He’s decided that the shelter in his enclosure is his “safe space”. He retreats to it whenever he’s feeling uncertain. We’ve declared it to be the Fortress of Solitude, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. He’s quite happy to receive guests in the Fortress.

While he does frequently come out for cuddles in the evening, during the day he’s more likely to remain inside and make us come to him.


As you can see, he’s got the “I’m adorable, come pat me” look down. Combined, as it is here, with the “Rub my tummy” pose, it’s quite irresistible.

And yes, he’s a massive tubby-rub slut. I’m quite sure he’d be happy to have his belly rubbed until Maggie and I wore our fingers down to nothing–at which point he’d probably demand that we continue with our toes.