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Day 40: A World of Preparation—for What?

I stopped by Ric’s Place for relief. The mood wasn’t much happier there than chez moi, though Ric was pleased to see me. When I entered the kitchen, he warned Anna to take care lest El Bandito Plastico (that’s me) steal the air from her lungs. She tried to smile. So did I. She looked as if she might burst into tears again.

MAYBE I SHOULD POUR BEFORE I ASKWe commiserated silently until Ric abruptly decided to show me things he wants to change for his restaurant reopening. I don’t remember anything he said. Anna was glancing at me sadly while she rinsed dishes, as if I’d tripped over a nerve no one knew was there. I still don’t know what upset her, but it’s still active, churning. I feel it.

Why are all the women I know suffering relentlessly?

If Nina is pregnant, Sneeky ought to be tested for toxoplasmosis. Is that why she expelled him from his/my former room? Nina’s procedures are a mishmash of things I’ve said, as if she’s memorized every third word I uttered about bird flu.

It’s extremely unlikely that Sneeky killed any sick mice recently. He’s not that sort of feline. If he found one that refused to run away, he’d meow in peremptory outrage until I dealt with the intruder.

Whatever the truth is, I wish to help. If Nina plans to bear a child, that’s her choice. I would go to any length to help our baby survive with full physical and mental faculties. She must know this. I don’t understand why we can’t discuss it.

I’m going to confront her condition in the morning, when I hear her turn on my TV. I haven’t prepared a statement—or even the question—but this has drifted too long. If she’s pregnant, she needs special nutrients, a doctor, lots of luck. Less wine, for sure.

I don’t communicate well when I’m so uncertain. I’m trying hard not to resent Nina’s attitude and behavior. I’m failing.

It’s a daunting time to be breeding, even if our baby turns out well. I wonder if bird flu is nature’s way of striking back at mammals. Our evolutionary line is devastating a world that’s far more active than we like to think it is. How reactive is it?

This disease may dramatically rearrange life on earth.

Bureaucrats everywhere are responding with plans to take control by doing it themselves—slaughtering birds. New York City has announced a poisoning campaign aimed at common street fowl. I suspect they hope the burgeoning rat population will eat the corpses and die, killing multiple ‘pests’ with one toxin. The law of unintended consequences will take dogs, too. (People and their pet canines get electrocuted here, just walking wintry sidewalks.)

Widespread avian slaughter will unleash a global fog of insects that are already flourishing amid rising levels of carbon dioxide. Bugs we can see and feel will thrive without birds to check their population growth. With bats, too, dying in vast numbers from a little-understood fungal plague known as white nose syndrome, insects will freely feast on people and crops. Sicknesses such as malaria, dengue fever, and chikungunya—surging northward as the climate heats—will surpass those Biblical scourges. Famine will kill hundreds of millions. Wars will follow.

I can’t resist noting that houseflies can carry avian flu. Along with dump flies and dung flies, they are known to have borne H5N2 in Pennsylvania during a huge, lethal outbreak in 1983-4. Twenty years later, the Japanese found “highly pathogenic” H5N1 in some blowflies near a stricken poultry farm. It’s not yet known if they can spread bird flu.

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