Last Wednesday, April 8, was the first time I left the neighborhood in 3 weeks. I was chased out of Mammoth Lakes on Wednesday, March 18th, by a request that all the non-permanent residents get out. The town was concerned about running out of medical supplies for the permanent population. And to be fair, it would’ve except the State found it more stuff (ventilators, specifically). So the Mate and the StepKid and I all came back to Altadena.
My need for getting out of the house came from NASA. My NASA badge needed some electronic certificate or other that’s embedded in it updated. So I had to go to JPL to get it fixed. (I unkindly refer to this badge as the NASA StupidCard, as one should never create a centralized database of personal information that can be hacked, especially not as a security measure. Right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?)
Fortunately JPL Security had done a nice job of re-configuring themselves so the process of getting the Stupidcard updated was painless–even in my now-required face mask and gloves. There was an elevated amount of handwashing involved, though.
It was a little strange to see empty parking lots and plazas on a Wednesday morning. Normally we don’t know what to do with all the cars. . .
Also i shopped. Rumor had it that the Grocery Outlet on Lake Street had stuff, so I went there after getting my Stupidcard fixed. It did indeed have many things, but not everything. It also wasn’t crowded–probably not ten people in the place. Only one person was mask-free. Everyone avoided her. The nature of the masks varied greatly though. One guy rocked a VOC-particulates mask like one I use for epoxy work. There were some contractor-grade masks. and a variety of makeshifts–the bandana, scarf, etc.
My own mask was made from a tablecloth, a piece of furnace filter, and a pipe cleaner by the Mate and her excessively technologically advanced sewing machine. I assume that in the next month or two the LA Fashion industry will get designer masks out the door and into peoples’ hands. After all, no one will want to wear the same mask every day, especially when it’s made out of a tablecloth.
There was no traffic. None. It just wasn’t Pasadena-like.
This week, the Mate got to do the shopping. She was ecstatic. Apparently getting out of the house is now a Big Deal.