Wednesday, May 13, 2020

How I Spent My Isolation

I taught a class that ended the first Friday in March. By then it was clear that Coronavirus was coming to America, and the school had ramped up its hygiene reminders and access to hand sanitizer. My wife continued working at the library for the next week. On that Friday our city determined that the libraries would close at the end of the day. There was a mini run on the library, as everyone of a literary persuasion stocked up on books for an expected lockdown.

Nine weeks later, I've grown completely disillusioned of society. Everyone around me is a sociopath who has no concept of self-discipline. Not only that, but they have taken to actively bullying anyone who displays a trace of self-discipline. Wear a mask in public? That's a shaming. Refuse to eat in a restaurant? That's a shaming. Express concern about the safety of air travel? You better believe that's a shaming.

What have I been doing with my time? Well, not writing my blog, that's FO SHO! I've been working on a project that I've recently promised to never discuss, I've been reading a lot, I've been watching a lot of movies, I've been watching Parks and Recreation (we're more than halfway done now), and I've been doing a lot of family history. I've been finding people with my last name and tracing them back to their immigrating ancestor; right now, I can place everyone in America with my last name into one of 18 families (it's possible that two of those families are actually branches of another one). Here's a table.

Year of BirthImmigrant's NamePrimary DestinationOrigin
1733NicholasPhiladelphia, PAGermany
1800JohnLancaster Co., PA??? (possibly from Nicholas)
1810RobertPhiladelphia, PA??? (possibly from Nicholas)
1815NicolausSheboygan, WIGermany
1818BernardRushville, INGermany
1823CharlesPhiladelphia, PAGermany
1827JohnChemung Co., NYGermany
1839AdolphSanpete Co., UTDenmark
1840MartinStearns Co., MNGermany
1841HeinrichDetroit, MIGermany
1845CharlesLivingston Co., NYGermany
1854FranzChicago, ILAustria
1857FrederickManistee Co., MIGermany
1859FredDelaware Co., NYAustria
1859JacobWestmoreland Co., PAGermany
1869FrankChicago, ILGermany
1885JosephBrooklyn, NYRussia
1887MorrisOakland, CARomania

What's more, the names that are in bold are families whose members ended up marrying each other, creating one large interconnected group.

We've been very blessed to not have financial concerns during this time. I know many people are stressed over money right now, and I sympathize, having definitely been in that position before, but right now things are okay for us. I filed our taxes ridiculously early this year, so we got our refund in February, and my wife started working at our local library in January, and our library system has continued paying all its furloughed staff. We can't stay like this forever, but for right now we're okay, and we can try to do our part to keep economic activity close to normal.

At the beginning of this, I had visions of exercising a crazy amount and eating a super-exacting diet and coming out of this a veritable Greek god, but now it seems that's only going to be true if Greeks embrace Buddhism. And not Young Buddha, either, but Fat-Elvis Buddha.

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