Cold in a hot zone

So, COVID-19 has made it to Seattle, and there’s been enough localized outbreaks that people are absolutely flipping out because of it. Store shelves have been cleared of nonperishables, paper products (especially toilet paper!), hand sanitizer, face masks, and bottled water (even though there’s been absolutely no concerns about our water infrastructure whatsoever and this is only causing problems for people who need to, like, fill their CPAPs and humidifiers and whatever).

Hospitals are completely overwhelmed and unprepared, and there’s no test kits to go around. I have people shouting in one ear about how terrible everything is and how we’re all going to die, and people in the other ear saying how everyone who’s overreacting is being silly and there’s no reason for anyone to do anything differently.

Somewhere in the middle, I am concerned about the pandemic, but also about what this will do to this city while everyone’s in a panic.

And meanwhile, I’m coming down with something. I don’t know if it’s my usual winter cold, or something worse; I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where I’d have been exposed to COVID-19 in particular, but for the past few days I’ve had persistent shortness of breath, and today I started feeling nauseous and came close to vomiting; not a typical COVID-19 symptom but not without precedent either.

I contacted my new doctor about it and they gave me the usual CDC guidance and that if I’m feeling ill and haven’t been directly exposed to coronavirus I should come in for an exam, and if I have possibly been exposed they can do a video visit to get a better idea of what’s going on. Meanwhile I had a hot shower and some toast and fried eggs for dinner and I’m feeling somewhat better. Not great, but better.

So anyway, I’m trying not to freak out about any of this, despite all of the panic happening around me, but at the same time it does make me think I really should have some sort of advance directive in case something goes particularly wrong. Not even this current situation — I’d like to believe that whatever I leave behind, whenever that might be, goes to the people and causes I care about.

So, while I’m rambling, here’s some non-legally-binding1 thoughts:

My cats need to be taken care of, by someone who is willing and able to keep them happy and safe. (Indoor only!)

I would like my unfinished works to be released to the world in whatever state they’re in, ideally under some sort of open source license. It would bring me great pleasure to know that the things I’ve made live on in others.

Please don’t let them misgender me when I’m gone, or call me by a name I didn’t call myself.

My possessions should go to those in the most need. Let people who knew me have their pick of things that are meaningful to them, and be careful about the handful of family heirlooms I have, but otherwise my things should bring joy and fulfillment to others. I’d love for others to be able to just, you know, experiment with all the things I’ve been so privileged to have access to.

Whatever wealth I have, after the costs of executing my estate and whatever’s been lost to the economic calamity of whatever situation I died in, should be endowed to causes I care about. Homelessness, science and arts education, feminism, racial equality. I don’t have a lot but I want whatever I have to make as much of a difference as it can.

If I have one belief that could qualify as “religious,” it is that life has no purpose except what we make for it, and the afterlife is the world we leave behind for others. I would like my life to have made the best positive impact on the world around me. In a few billion years this planet will be swallowed up by the sun and everything that hasn’t somehow escaped into the cosmos will simply cease to be, and we must make the most of whatever time we have while we have it.

Anyway I had some fairly sketchy sushi for lunch yesterday so it’s probably just mild food poisoning.

  1. also good god I hope this off-the-cuff blog entry doesn’t end up being my final word on any of this 


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