I’d like to preface this by saying that I, in no way, am attempting to make light of the current COVID-19 pandemic that continues to sweep the globe. By that same token, part of me feels like this current crisis is the proverbial “elephant in the room” and to ignore it, even here, wouldn’t exactly seem right. It’s also true that Curbside is a site I like to visit for brief escapes from my day-to-day that includes responsibilities, chores, the news, etc., and as such has become a happy cyber-place for me. I don’t plan to change that for anyone else by what I’m about to say, so please read on.
As a Chicago resident and at the urging of authorities and medical health professionals, I have left my condo unit a bare minimum of times (including to vote) since perhaps the twelfth of this month. Prior to all of this, at the end of February, I had started a personal four-week cleanse in which I had eliminated alcohol. At the beginning of this month, I was still going out and being social, and my friends and acquaintances have been respectful of my boundaries. However, as of this writing, we Illinois residents have just now been put under “shelter in place” through April 7th by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Even if my own, personal “Dry January” / “Sober October” was months late, and with others’ St. Patrick’s Day celebrations falling smack-dab in the middle of my little, self-imposed booze-break this month, I was still able to hang out with my friends, play cards, go dancing, and attend a private party before social distancing became a necessary thing. Before the reality of the seriousness and nearness of the Coronavirus had settled in, I had no issues with stuffing my face with all the snack foods I could during “cheat day” Saturday, thinking that I’d likely be back at the health club exercising and back to my regular, health-conscious diet by the next week.
Wrong. Last week, my gym closed temporarily and will be shut down at least until the beginning of April. My cupboards and closets are stocked with basically all I need for the next two to three weeks, and for that I am humble and thankful. (For the record, I did not hoard toilet paper.) However, I’m also now basically stuck in my condo unit with booze I shouldn’t drink, a pantry full of cheat-day snack food I shouldn’t eat, an inability to exercise properly and in the manner that I’m used to, and a lack of actual, face-to-face human interaction with people I care about. In the fictional language of Newspeak referenced in George Orwell’s dystopian 1949 novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, all of this is doubleplusungood.
I came across this black Ford F-Series pickup truck last September while I was on an afternoon photo walk apart from my friends on our annual Las Vegas vacation. I’m usually most drawn to photographic subjects that say or echo something about the human condition, versus things that are simply glitzy or attractive to look at. I’m much more interested in someone who has lived and has interesting things to say than someone who would assume I’d care about how much money they spent last weekend. This F-Series clearly looks like it has “lived” – and that it has not moved for a while, given that its rear tire on the driver’s side was as flat as my singing at karaoke.
I’ll also qualify that I was unable to nail down the exact model year of this example by a reverse search of the license plate (which I’ve blanked out for the owner’s privacy, as is my normal custom) – another clue that this cool, old truck hasn’t moved under its own power for a while. If the front grille is any indicator, this Ford could be from one of three model years starting with the ’73. I wonder if this truck’s owner had, at one time, relied on it for transport to and from work. I have ridden the Las Vegas Deuce bus that runs between the Strip and the vintage casinos and resorts downtown on Fremont Street, but have yet to ride one of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC’s) public buses. I have observed many of them in motion, though, and from an online route map, the RTC appears to be a fairly comprehensive system.
Still, there can be a huge time difference between waiting for public transit and having your own, private vehicle – especially if you have errands to run, and also if you live in a place as spread out as Clark County, Nevada. Was the owner or operator of this Ford pickup truly immobilized or merely inconvenienced by his or her flat-tire situation? I’m also trying not to think of my involuntary (and imperative – we’ve got to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this virus) quarantine as being under house arrest. After all, as of this writing, I can still watch television, surf the internet, buy food, and continue to earn a paycheck by working from home – things I realize are truly blessings. I also realize that I’m inherently no more special or deserving of these things by birthright than the next person.
Whoa. Let me reel this in. I didn’t mean to get all “esoteric” on everyone on this little, old car-based website. It’s just that with all this extra time on my hands, in this kind of physical isolation, and also while voluntarily eschewing access to any temporarily dumbening substances, I feel like my brain is doing entirely too much right now. I’m alright, though. Let me just say that once things with this virus either level off, or once I’m able to better process what my regular day-to-day is going to look like moving forward, like this Ford truck with a new set of tires (and whatever else it may need under the hood), I should once again be ready to roar.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Monday, September 9, 2019.