George V. Reilly

Weirdest Birthday Ever

When I said that Emma and I would be spending 2020 in Dublin, I could not possibly have an­tic­i­pat­ed what would be happening in Seattle while we were gone.

Today is my 55th birthday and it’s the weirdest birthday ever, in what must be the weirdest week that most of us have lived through. (So far.)

COVID-19 is all that anyone can talk about: where it’s spreading, how it’s being handled, what comes next.

I started working from home on Tuesday, March 10th. Emma’s general health and immune system are not good. My parents, who live nearby, are now both 80 years old and neither is in great health. It seemed prudent to minimize my risk of passing something on to any of them. Since then, Stripe has closed most offices, as have many other companies.

Ireland has closed schools, banned large gatherings, and is generally trying not to become like Italy. St Patrick’s Day parades are cancelled. Most pubs have not yet closed and I wish they would, since they are now a public health risk.

If Ireland institutes a full lockdown, we’ll move in with my parents for the du­ra­tion—as­sum­ing that none of us are showing signs of COVID-19.

Seattle has been ground zero for coro­n­avirus in the US. All of the initial deaths were there. Some hospitals are already over­whelmed, and I’m sure others will be as the number of cases rises ex­po­nen­tial­ly. Governor Inslee and other state and city leaders have been doing a good job of managing the crisis.

I wish I could say the same about the United States as a whole. It was always obvious that Trump was wholly unfit to be president, but it’s never been more clear over the past month. I fear for my adopted country.

Anyway, we’re heading off to my parents soon, for a subdued birthday cel­e­bra­tion.

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