Love in the Time of Corona, Part 10. “Life’s Flat Tires”

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“You need a ride to the bike shop? I can swing by and you can throw you and your bike in the back of my truck and I’ll drop you off.” That was my buddy Vic who also lives in New Orleans, over in the old Carrolton neighborhood, far uptown, about as far west as you can go inside the city without getting into Jefferson Parish. “I’d be much obliged.” Vic had seen a Facebook selfie I’d posted of me squeezing my flat bicycle tire. My truck is currently being towed to Baton Rogue to see if my vet buddy (who’s also a master mechanic) can save my truck. I’d captioned the picture something like, “The shit-storm can cease anytime now,” complaining that my alternate transportation had also been taken away. But let’s face it, what they’re really asking us to do now is to stay the fuck at home anyway so I guess I should just breathe, yeah breathe since that’s something there are a whole lot of very sick people would like to do that right now. If the best I can do to help is to stay home, I’ll do that as much as I can. I do eventually have to go to the grocery store and the pharmacy. I’ve seen enough footage from inside hospitals around the world, and care deeply enough about the healthcare workers in my family, to comply as much as possible which for me, I have decided, is going to be a monthly trip to the grocery with some milk deliveries in between and trips to the pharmacy if absolutely necessary.
My buddy toots the horn to signal to me we’ve arrived at the bike shop.
“Thanks Vic. I really appreciate the help, brother!”
Fifteen minutes later I’m standing outside with my bike, my baggie of bleach-water soaked rag, and my facemask bandana. I know, I know, it ain’t no N95 mask but looky-here: as far as we can tell so far, this shit is transmitted by aerosol-ed droplets exited the nose or mouth of an effected person into the eyes, nose, or mouth of someone who isn’t. Death by Corona is basically described as drowning in your own lung-snot so, y’know, I’m doing what I can. Something is better than nothing.
These are peculiar times.
Back when I started taking more interest in my Cherokee heritage and looking more at Indigenous spiritual/philosophical traditions, I noticed the propensity and tendency to anthropomorphize everything. Although the Lakota didn’t originate the idea, thinking of and caring for Unci Maka (“Mother Earth”) is very much a part of that path. When you think about it, the earth is itself a living organism and we are a species of organism living on this greater organism. This is kind of gross to think of but there are basically two types, out of the many species of mites inhabiting the human body, Demodex Folliculorum and Demodex Brevis, which are commonly known as “eyelash mites” because, you guessed it, when these little fuckers decided to build a thriving community, they decided to do it very near your eyeball. Sorry. I’ll stop. 
If organisms can live in relative symbiosis with other organisms, both can survive. 
If organisms cannot seem to find a symbiosis, the stronger will cast off the weaker and that’s not always an easy process. Sometimes there’s fever, shakes, aches, and sweats that have to be endured before calmer seas return. It happens to humans suffering with Coronavirus. It happens to our host planet as we’re out there “human-ing” our planet. We have, as a species, since 1970, killed off more than sixty percent of the animal population excluding ourselves. I mean, if you’re the landlord and you have that one tenant who can’t get along with (or worse, is killing) all the other neighbors, you’re probably going to try to toss that one bad tenant, yeah? 
People (especially tree-hugging Lefties) are always saying how we have to “take care of Mother Earth.” That’s bullshit. You know what? This planet is going to be just fine. She’s a great big rock, hurling through space and she’s gonna keep doing that whether we catch a fever and feel icky or not, whether we all drop dead or not. Whether or not it remains inhabitable by this version of our species for any foreseeable time to come remains to be seen. Stay tuned. 
Vic dropped me at the bike shop, lowered his driver-side window about 3 and ¾ inches, domino-trilled four fingers out the crack to say goodbye, and drove away. He’s done a great job with the physical distancing thing. I knew it was a big deal for him to make the offer. 
Vic and I both assumed that the needed repairs would take a short time and I’d ride the bike home. As it turns out, one of thousands of ways the MAGAvirus has effected life in America is that, because some of the few people who are exempt from the “Stay At Home” order are people who working in establishments that still offer delivery of food and those who work in food markets. Many of them are (rightfully) terrified to use public transit so any motherfucker with a bike is likely to use it. Therefore the bike shops are busier than usual. They had set up some physical distancing precautions which I really appreciated; New Orleans has been especially hard hit. I have family in healthcare. Do what you want with your life. For me, this is about improving the chances for people I love very, very much.
When the bike doctor gave me the prognosis and told me it might take “a couple of days” I thought about calling Vic back and asking him if I could hitch a ride home in the bed of his truck; he wasn’t yet five minutes away. But then I looked down Esplanade toward the lake, toward Gentilly, my home, I decided to hoof it. Siri said it was 3.8 miles and I thought, “Fuck, that’s a walk to the chow hall in the Marine Corps” so I struck out. I’m getting fat and out-of-shape in all this stay at home business. I could use the steps.

To be continued.


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