Saturday, August 14, 2021

My god, people are positively freaking out.

My neighbor, who was out of town at the time, got angry that I hadn't informed him immediately of my diganosis. He doesn't want to breathe my air -- from inside my house, through the screen, over the fence and into his house through the screen, where he or his wife could get sick, because he can't risk breathing my air even though it's coming from at least thirty feet away.

He outed me by name and address to at least two of our neighbors, which crossed a line. So far I don't think he's sorry for it. So right now we're not speaking.

Meanwhile, friends a few miles away are double-masking inside their house and not going anywhere beyond their yard. Are the vaccinated? I think so. I hope so. I don't honestly know. At least one of them filters health care through a very heavy lens of surviving childhood abuse and a great mistrust of western medicine, so who even knows where their head is at right now.

My doc followed up with a check-in by phone today, and glad to hear I was free of symptoms and feeling much better. I asked several questions, including:
-- Can I travel? Yes. Wear a mask anywhere they require you to. If you're distanced outside you don't need it but otherwise wear a mask.
-- Will I get Covid again? Not anytime soon. I'm good for at least a year, maybe longer. Don't rush out and get a booster right now or anything. Just be sensible, wash your hands and avoid massive crowds -- you're not passing anything, but it's just a good idea to avoid crowds for now.

I finally got my doc to admit that they only know what the CDC tells them, and frankly, we haven't had Delta around long enough for the CDC to know much yet.

What I DO know is that the fall and winter are going to be a massive cluster of mask and vaccine battles and I may well struggle to earn a living if we have to live with Covid another year or two because people can't get their shit together and reclaim the social compact.

I guess that after Sunday I can go bike riding again, though it will be short and local riding and nothing ambitious. Sadly, it will also be solitary; I don't want to wear a mask if I don't have to, so I'll ride alone.

And I'll start in on the Diamondback frame, which is going to be a nice bike when it's built up.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Aaaaand that's my summer of riding. Done. Kaput.

I'd been doing reasonably well. I rode when I could, when I felt like it; I rode when the heat waves didn't threaten to kill me with sunstroke. Not a lot, but enough to still feel like a bicycle rider.
I even got to participate in Shawn Granton's cool little Rambleneuring adventure, complete with a tiny little control booklet I had to fill out with notes and drawings (drawings!) of my bicycle at various stops.

I sent my booklet back in time and finished, which was nice.

And then, the gigs came, outdoor gigs at pubs and an indoor gig (carefully masked and distanced) at a synagogue, and it began to feel like things might have turned a corner.
But just as I'd begun finding my new groove, after months of not gigging, and not bicycling much, I got sick. Fever, chills, sweats, a cough that wouldn't leave for a whole day and night, and a very sore throat. That was followed by sneezing and a runny nose, which made me think it was allergies. Just to be sure, I called my doctor, and she immediately asked me to come in for a Covid test.

I went downtown today, feeling the best I'd felt since Monday evening, and let them swab the inside of my nostrils. After twenty minutes, the result came back: I had tested positive for Covid-19, most likely the shiny new Delta variant. OUCH.

Just like that, all the gains fell away. No gigs for a couple of weeks. No more visits to the day camp I'd been doing music for on the eastside. Between all of those, a significant chunk of lost income, which meant I'd have to go back hat in hand and beg the State for more Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The doctor assured me that, assuming everything clears up while I self-quarantine at home for 14 days, I should be able to resume my normal activities (masked indoors, of course).

And she reminded me that, thanks to my joining Club Mod[erna], my experince with Covid wouldn't be deadly or even life-threatening. That remains something to be thankful for.

I contacted everyone I'd hung out with since July 30th ("Hi. I've got Covid. Get tested. Oh, and Shabbat Shalom." Ugh). And then I lined up a sub for at least one of my pub shows so the owners wouldn't lose too much money (live music IS a draw, and never let anyone tell you it isn't).

And now, what might have been some extra time outside riding bikes -- at least between heat waves, and another is coming next week -- will instead be spent in the house, practicing for High Holy Days (which I should still be able to do when my symptoms end) and cleaning up stuff.
I'll also think long and hard about downsizing my bicycle world a bit further now that Mister I'm-No-Pro-But-I'll-Fix-Your-Bikes-For-Free has taken virtually all of my neighborhood business away. What's left? It's hard not to feel a little morose when both avenues of one's livelihood have been knocked down and all that's left is begging or petty larceny.

So it's not all bad. I'm taking delivery on the frame that my be my final bicycle. I just scored an early 80's vintage DiamondBack frameset, Champion tubing and lovely lugs, original patina and a sexy, sexy fork crown. It's got the same long, loopy geometry as my old Peugeot did, but in a 17-inch size. If I love the result I may well sell my Rivendell, because honestly I just don't need that much bike anymore and I'm kind of burned out on the hype anyway. (Rivendell mostly lost me when all their frames became dedicated to 650b and they stopped supporting 26"/559.)

Here's some sneak peeks.

This is going to be fun to build up. And I'll probably start in on it as soon as it arrives, since I can't go anywhere and I can't ride (if I need a bathroom I can't stop anywhere except my house, so that is pretty much that for summer riding of any length beyond the end of my block).
Stay tuned. I could end up having the bike I'd always wanted and should never have sold, but in my size this time.

Go have a nice bike ride on my behalf. And wear a mask. And get a vaccine if you haven't already. Because if I hadn't gotten the vaccine, this blog post could have had a very different and very sad ending.
Happy riding.