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Day 175: Flu York City Blues

I haven’t much to report. New York’s streets are quieter. The government’s food giveaways have gone pretty well. Little further violence has been reported, with no hijackings. On the other hand, bloodshed is rarely recounted, except by bloggers whose credibility you are continually urged to doubt by big media.

Readers who aren’t prodding me for inaccessible details of my personal life have sent tales of their own communities in crisis. Those from places like New Zealand—where the government and private sector prepared contingency plans for just about everything that could arise in a pandemic—tend to revolve around personal tragedy and loss, plus complaints about Big Brother advising people what to eat. (Our government warns people what not to eat of what little is left.)

ALL THE BEST PLACES ARE CLOSEDEuropeans, Canadians, Australians, and such have seen lots of unrest, but governments have kept up fundamental services. National parliaments have been quick to debate and pass new measures as needed. Social democrats will be insufferable after this pandemic! They’re doing pretty well, according to foreign readers transfixed by the spectacle of a National New Orleans in the U.S.A.

The rest of the world seems a mess, though India’s melodramatic press may be exaggerating unrest there. I check Boxunthe shadowy, independent agency that blew the whistle on SARS and claims disorder is endemic in China—but it, too, favors the grimmest reports. (I welcome any insights from China.)

Here, we roam rubble that sprouts like weeds. My ‘hood, long a hive of gentrification, is devolving. Yuppie eateries have been cooked. Armed men staff what remains. The peoples’ gardens are locked.

A friend came home this morning from walking the dog to find two men in his kitchen next to a broken window, devouring his dinner. They beat and robbed him, took his golden retriever. Do they intend to eat the dog? He’s looking for a gun, aims to hunt them down before they can harm his pet. He’ll recognize them because they looked … Hispanic. Like almost everyone just east of here.

Looters, Looters, Everywhere

From what I hear, the death toll in the projects is awful. They weren’t the only looters, though in white neighborhoods it gets reported more as “desperate parents saving their families.” I’ve heard, seen, and read white people boasting about having made the most of a bad situation—including a zealous environmentalist pal who nabbed a pair of energy-conserving air conditioners for her apartment. Two courteous looters carried them for her. (She tipped them well; my friends aren’t cheapskates.)

Three hardcore LES DIY members have died—a loss to our species. I like to think that relatively few people I know caught H5N1 because my friends are informed and have protective gear. Hope-Simpson would probably call it luck.

The Committee of Public Nutrition—as the lawyers have restyled the LES DIY—continues to serve food at the restaurant. The shrine to Ric takes up half the sidewalk. Two white-collar members just quit, however. Their employers let it be known that only groups sanctioned by RAISE should be supported in thought, word, or deed. How did they even know these people were involved with the LES DIY? Who said you need RAISE’s permission to give people food?

Ominously, Tribulation Beat says InfraGard (that FBI-business collaboration controlled by DHS) has turned companies big and small into snoops that spy on their customers. I swear, your secrets are safe with me (and the credit card company you used, UPS, your bank, your ISP)—if not with InfraGard, which got hacked in 2011….

Happily, I’ll dine at Anna’s apartment tomorrow. She predicts my appetite will have recovered by then. This will be our first date.

Hope-Simpson converts are asking if I think she gave me the flu because she had it in Round One. Who knows? Anna gives me fever. She probably saved my life for the second time in two weeks when I caught bird flu. I think I saved hers in the park—just before she saved mine.

Y’all ask so many questions about Anna. I’m not holding back: I don’t understand her myself. Turns out that can be a wonderful thing. Every moment contains surprises. Sometimes I’m doing new things—or old things in new ways. Seeing things freshly. The Month of Living Dangerously has only just begun, paced by this fierce old song she played for me: Isis from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

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