Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 02 2021

Level 3 Part 2

I’ve been staying at home when I can…classes are all online and all of our gigs have been cancelled, but as my job still requires me to go into the office and do things I could totally do online, I still going out every day. Navigating the subway and even just walking around outside can be a nerve-wracking experience, as there’s always the heedless old people and the smokers, often both, standing on the sidewalk coughing and looking surprised that everyone else is giving them a wide berth. I try to take routes where I can be assured of more personal space, but sometimes it’s difficult, especially with the afternoon thundershowers we’ve been having (don’t get me wrong; we desperately need the rain).

For the first week or two of the Level 3 conditions, Taipei and New Taipei were ghost towns, with hardly anyone on the streets. Case numbers, accordingly, have just recently begun to level out and have even fallen a bit the past few days. Now, however, more people are out and about, as if the problem has just gone away or something. It’s concerning but hardly surprising in a place where a “crackdown” on something usually only lasts a short time, after which people simply go back to doing what they did before. But the result of this will, also accordingly, be seen only in a week or so, when everyone will be “surprised” at a new surge in cases. The news, I’m sure will be full of broadcasters uttering that so oft-used phrase 沒想到! The only other option will be for us to go to an actual lockdown, i.e Level 4. And you know that the authorities will have their hands full trying to enforce that.

The scale of our vaccine shortage is also becoming clear to more people these days; the government announced that it would be announcing a plan, which is good, I guess? I would have hoped that President Tsai would have been vaccinated by now, but apparently she’s still hoping to make a show of receiving a local vaccine, for which they’ve applied for emergency allowance to skip phase III trials and just go into production. When the time comes (they’ve said they’re aiming for 60% of the population having gotten their first shot only by fucking November, FFS), we won’t get a choice of vaccine; it will apparently be luck of the draw. It’s a little difficult seeing clueless Americans online pooh-poohing vaccination efforts. I’m glad they’ve got such easy access; thanks to inept policies and politics we now have even more deadly variants from the UK and India, et al, but the U.S. has entered its reopening stage and nobody can tell them nothing.

Back in the actual world, I’ve signed up for all the food-delivery services, and have had mixed results so far. One issue is that Xindian, particularly the corner where the Water Curtain Cave is located, is, despite its geographical proximity to everything, very far away, at least in people’s minds. Sure, it’s only 20 minutes from Taipei Main Station, and our neighborhood is, just like the crowded suburbs of Yonghe, Xinzhuang, Banqiao and Sanchong, just across a bridge, but it would seem that the old mentality of Xindian being part of the untamed wilderness subsists even today. The scooter share programs Goshare and Wemo won’t come near us, and the food delivery services only recently and seemingly begrudgingly added us to their list, but restaurants and drivers are rather hesitant to venture over a single a bridge, deep, deep, like a three-minute-drive deep into the wild jungles of Bitan.

I know what you’re thinking: But TC, why don’t you just learn how to cook? You can spend all your time hobnobbing with all the old people at the markets! And make dishes that you, a single person living alone, cannot hope to finish! And watch all the veggies and meats in your refrigerator good bad! Yeah, I know, food delivery services are also a thing if they see fit to brave the wilds of Bitan. It’s a good idea; I am just such a lazy mofo about these things.

Speaking of throwing shade at myself: Theoretically I should be working hard on my photo book, and I have been, having gone through several dummies and opinions of experts and friends. Now I just have to push the thing out there to publishers, which of course means facing another round of rejections and reinforcement of various insecurities. Might as well get it over with, I know, but I’m always suckered into the idea that I can just make it a little better by doing this, that or a third, and perhaps it needs some time before I can properly judge it, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Then I look at what is being published and I often think, “This? This, got published? How?” and realize that I really have no idea what is going on.

Then again, what’s new?

posted by Poagao at 10:54 am  

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