A vehicle on a highway among several other vehicles in daylight.

Out of the corner of my eye, cruelty came on at cruising speed in the lane to my left and the light wasn’t kind as it passed me by on the interstate and headed west beyond my upcoming exit.

A dozen people gathered around two wooden tables in a large white painted room

It’s not like the moon is still in front of the sun, but it still feels like something unearthly and uncanny has happened, is still happening. We hang out and offer up our hails, if not our farewells, and we wait for whatever new sense of normalcy we didn’t order to show its face.

A blurry image of a wide empty early morning sidewalk outside a 24-hour donut shop.

What brings me back to the scene of somebody else’s crime? Maybe it’s the memory of how things first tasted 6 months ago. Maybe it’s their flavor on my tongue now that things are about to change again. The hitch in my work week and the grace that comes with practicing gratitude don’t hurt either.

An oval wooden table laden with balloons, a happy birthday greeting spelled out on pieces of paper bannered to string, and white paper boxes full of cupcakes.

I was taken by surprise this afternoon when some of my coworkers began wandering over towards the corner of the room where succulent little cupcakes had materialized in honor of a birthday. Better day unlocked, even by a degree of separation.

The moon appears in front of the sun’s lower right quarter during a partial solar eclipse as seen through polarized glasses.

From the driver who showed me a pair of glasses in his glove box to the museum staffer t-shirt lauding the virtues of inquiry, it turned out not to be about the heavenly bodies appearing to rub shoulders over our heads so much as the people on the ground beside us, stopping to take it all in.

A gas station pump’s dial showing $45 for 8.655 gallons of gasoline.

Filling up the car yesterday would’ve been cheaper where we went, for several reasons I don’t mind. If we’d been there with the car, we’d still be driving back. On the whole, it’s better to pay more for this and less for other stuff on the back end.

A tree with faint pink flowers blooming along branches

I spent most of the day at home either reading, sleeping and trapped in the jaws of this illness. Other than a short trip down to a BART station, I don’t feel great about being anywhere but home. I need a better plan for time off that doesn’t leave me vulnerable to this stuff.

A close up image of the head, ears and left paw of a small black cat, sitting on a dark blue sheet

I don’t want to tell anybody about my food and travel experiences, but thank you for asking me via several emailed questionnaires, large national railroad provider. Perhaps I’ll feel differently once I’ve recovered from those oncoming symptoms of illness that have only intensified over the last two days. My cat is showing concern, but not smothering me so far.

A small black cat sits atop a well clawed cat tree platform beside a rain splashed window with a dark pulled back curtain and looks toward the camera with baleful eyes.

I’ve not been in any shape to be perceived, but the cat hasn’t been willing to let either of us out of her sight. The rains today blew some things around outside, but we were dry and still, marveling at sea-level physical comfort and bracing for returns to the working week.

A terminal full of gates at an airport with blue skies outside waiting for arrivals and departures.

There was simply too much walking, too little comfort and too low odds of avoiding illness, so we made it home, me with my lovely parting gift of a cough and headache, lozenges crammed into my jaws and fear of in-flight turbulence distracted by illness, a middle seat’s worst nightmare and a renewed perception of the walking, BART riding and driving from my last gate to my front door.