As I have several times remarked, Susie and I live in a retirement community just south of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is now just six months since the directors of the community closed down the dining halls, the lecture halls, the exercise room, and all the other public spaces and went on virtual quarantine. In all of that time, I have not been to a restaurant, a movie theater, a concert, a lecture, or indeed any other form of social entertainment. I have not been to a supermarket, or to any other kind of store. In fact, with the exception of several trips to doctors or to the dentist, I have not been inside any building other than the apartment building in which I live and in that apartment building, I have been only in my own apartment and in the hallways, lobby, and elevator. Even when I had to get my car inspected for the annual registration, I was able to take it to the local Toyota dealer, sit outside, and wait until my keys will returned to me. My sole concern during this six months has been to ensure that neither Susie nor I contract the virus. My best guess from the flood of information I have seen or read is that it will be the better part of another year before this changes. Chatham County, where the retirement community is located, has only suffered something like 57 deaths from the virus but because it is a sparsely populated county the rate per hundred thousand residents is among the highest in North Carolina.
To be sure, in those six months I have taught five meetings of my seminar at UNC Chapel Hill on the thought of Karl Marx, I have made several guest appearances in a course on the philosophy of Kant taught in Laramie, Wyoming, I have done a podcast in Sri Lanka, and I happily attended my big sister’s 90th birthday party in Southern California, all thanks to zoom.
This is not really how I expected to be spending my 87th year and the first half of my 88th year but, as our glorious leader is prone to say, it is what it is. Lord knows, I am immensely better off than scores of millions of my fellow Americans who now cannot put food on the table, cannot send their children to school, are losing their jobs, and are threatened with losing their homes. So I will just go on blogging and playing with my cat until I can go back to my Paris apartment.