Monday September 14, 2020
Fire and Virus
I've been refreshing two website pages every hour on the hour today. The first is the Air Quality Index for Seattle; the second is Amazon's “track package” page for the air purifier I bought last week. It's scheduled to arrive “before 8 PM,” while Seattle's AQI was scheduled to get better by 11 AM, so for a time it seemed like a race. I was rooting for both. OK, mostly for the AQI. Sadly, it looks like the winds and rains were less than anticipated and now they're saying it'll be Friday before Seattle sees, or smells, some relief. Fuck.
We woke up to it last week, Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day, with the apartment smelling like a campfire. It shot up the previous night: from good (below 50), to unhealthy for people with conditions (101-150) to unhealthy for everyone (151-200). It toyed with us for a few days, and managed to get below 100 for a few hours on Thursday, allowing me to open the windows during that time, but then it went back up again. At times, it's gotten over 200 but mostly it's just hovered in the 170-190 range. Current: 183. Current mood: shitty.
First Trump, then Covid, now this. A reprise of those horrible weeks back in 2018. It's like this every late summer now.
Glad I got my exercise in the weekend before it all went bad but wish I'd known to close the windows Monday night. Either way, in air-conditioner-less Seattle, the stuff seeps in. You feel it in your throat and eyes. My wife has been coughing a bit, has a bit of a sore throat. That's worrisome in the middle of a pandemic but oddly less so in the middle of a pandemic and wildfire season. “Well, it's probably just the smoke,” you say. It's the other thing. How many ways are they trying to kill us? We need an update of Frost: “Some say the world will end in fire/ Some say in virus.”
I joke, but it's no joke when the air feels like your enemy. It's one thing you can't get away from.
Current AQI: 177. Current mood: shitty.
I'll let you know who wins.
UPDATE, 8:06 PM: Refreshed the Amazon page for about the 30th time today and it now says the purifier will be delivered Tuesday or Wednesday. “We're very sorry your delivery is late. Most late packages arrive in a day. If you have not received your package by September 16, you can come back here the next day for a refund or replacement.” Right. Or worse. This isn't like a shirt or a book, boys. It's to help breathe.
Current AQI: 185. Current mood: a little pissed off.