Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: The Notary and the Turkey

 

I dropped off my taxes and got the will notarized. I suppose the first is an expression of faith in the future, right? I’m always mailing the returns on the 14th, and it’s nice to imagine myself explaining for the 32nd time to my wife why I’ve waited until the last minute – but this time it’s a sunny day in July. 

Before setting out, check the supplies. Gloves, just in case? Yes. Sanitizer? Yes — no wait it’s not in my pocket what happened, this is like living in a fallout zone and losing your iodine tablets

Ah, there it is, slipped out of my pocket. Whew. Back out of the driveway, thinking if this was a fallout zone, and you lost your iodine tablets, could you eat lots of salt? It would have to be Morton’s. Are all salts iodized? I know they added the iodine to keep people from getting goiters. I remember Grandma told us that she had a goiter once, and us kids had no idea what that was. Probably something along the lines of a girdle or a garter or other incomprehensible female infrastructure.

If all salts are iodized there’s no chance I’m going to be goiterized, not with our current diet. On the other hand, I am concerned about getting enough Vitamin D, because apparently that helps you ward off the Covidian Plague. (I like calling that because it makes me sound as if I’m in a ’50s sci-fi story on a United Planets heavy cruiser to the Altoids System.) The story said Iran’s disastrous experience with CP could be a chronic Vitamin D deficiency caused by restrictive dress codes. 

There’s a twist they didn’t expect.

But, well, no one expected any of this. I mean, we did, because we were told it was inevitable, but we really didn’t expect this. Hey, nothing’s certain but death and taxes! Said the man on the way to drop off his 1099s and get his will signed. 

Traffic is reasonable for 1 PM. It’s heartening to see all these cars. I know I should be dismayed, but it’s like a really good immersive VR program of life in the Before Times, except the sight of $1.99 at the corner store would have jerked everyone out of the simulation. Aw come on man, get the details right. 

I think about what two-buck-chuck will do for the convenience stores. It’s fantastic. The lower the price on the pump, the looser wallets get in the store. Usually in the apocalypse movies you’ll see gas at terrifying prices, like SEVEN DOLLARS. I’m surprised to see the sign could handle the 1 when it’s been set at 2 forever. It’s like bringing an old actor out of retirement for the role that makes everyone remember why he was loved in the first place.

“Two-dollars won’t be going on tonight. We’ve come to ask you, One-dollar, if you can climb up on that sign and bring back some of the magic we know you still have.”

I arrive at the tax office place. My stretching exercises now consist of using my knee to hit the handicapped door-activation plate. I feel as if I should strike some tai-chi pose, or whatever it’s called. Contemplative Swan. Burgeoned Turkey.

Inside there’s a young fellow at the desk; I offer my package of documents, and he points to a bin on a chair. We’re supposed to drop them off there. They will be cloroxed later. I mention the whole will-notary-witness thing I’d discussed on the phone, and he says of course and goes off to get some accountants and tax preparers to sign the papers. I go into the conference room, spread them on the table, then step out. The witnesses go in one at a time. The notary appears, and she’s all sunny: 

What a pickle don’tcha know! 

I make some crack about something, apologize for the dark humor, and say “sorry, have to look on the amusing side of all this.”

“I read you in the paper,” she says, smiling. “I love that you find something funny in all this.”

Well, there I am, the luckiest man on earth again. Dropping off the tax forms and completing my will, but on the bright side, here’s a fan. It hasn’t all been for naught. 

“I need your driver’s license though,” she says. 

Fame has its limits. 

I get out my license, hose it down with disinfectant, and place it on the table. It’s as if the symbolic embodiment of my existence is infected. 

When all is done we chat for a while about how everybody’s in a rush to get their wills done. She was the same! Did it online but didn’t get it notarized, and how frustrating is that, because she’s a notary! It’s like she can’t vouch for her own existence. 

The door opens. A small frail woman enters, looks around. She sees the basket for the tax document drop off. She tosses her envelope and backs out. I leave a minute later, and see her in the parking lot — she’s driving an enormous SUV. She hangs on the steering wheel like a comma. She looks fearful — no, she looks empty. She looks like a husk, like a chrysalis that hopes it might still have a butterfly inside, but knows better.

When I pass the only grocery I visit these days I see a young woman striding to her car with . . . 

What? WHAT?

In the old movies the comedian would blink and rub his eyes, but we have trained ourselves not to rub our eyes anymore, and did you know itchy eyes were a Covidian Plague symptom? Anyway, she has . . . toilet paper. No. Can’t be. I park and enter, and head to paper. 

There must be a hundred bales of toilet paper. At three PM. I think: the fever has broken. We’re going to make it.

And there’s flour. And cake. And meat. And coffee. Annnnd a free-floating miasma of CP, so finish up and get out.

I am greeted by a strange creature as I leave.

He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic politician pretentiousness turkeys do so well. He’s not happy to see me, and wanders up to my car. From what I can tell he sticks his stupid head in the wheel well. I honk the horn. The turkey sticks his head in my window and has the gall to gobble at me. I drive on slowly, and check my rear camera – didn’t hit him. 

Dropped off taxes, did the will, got toilet paper, didn’t kill a dumb big thing. I’m putting this day in the “win” column.

To tell you the truth, they’re all in the “win” column. My temperature’s normal and my bourbon’s iced and everyone at home was fed, and the girls watched their Spanish soap opera, and we’ve all agreed that tomorrow we will have pancakes. I’ve never felt so blessed. 

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  1. JennaStocker Member

    “Dropped off taxes, did the will, got toilet paper, didn’t kill a dumb big thing”

    Odd, isn’t it that in BPE (Before Pandemic Era) such things were annoyances at best. But now they are the ways we cling to hope that life goes on and we are (hopefully) optimistic of an APE. I’m grateful for these posts, @jameslileks. they are our blessings.

    • #1
    • March 24, 2020, at 11:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Doctor Robert Member

    Wednesday last week, driving to work (while I still drove to work), heading north on a road parallel to Main Street, two canines of large size and wild appearance ran across the street, west to east. Likely coyotes, too big for foxes, but maybe wolves. Quite an apparition to see in these times.

    • #2
    • March 24, 2020, at 11:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Full Size Tabby Member

    James Lileks:

    Well, there I am, the luckiest man on earth again. Dropping off the tax forms and completing my will, but on the bright side, here’s a fan. It hasn’t all been for naught. 

    “I need your driver’s license though,” she says. 

    Fame has its limits. 

     

    Several years ago at my then-employer (multinational Fortune 200 company) the CEO occasionally visited the building in which I worked. On one such visit, the security guy at the front desk stopped the CEO as he was walking into the building with his entourage, with the security guy saying, “Sir, I need to see your badge.” The CEO pointed to his photo hanging in the lobby of the building. But the security guy persisted, explaining that his instructions from company management were that all people needed a badge. The CEO commended the security guy for doing the right thing in performing his job. 

    • #3
    • March 25, 2020, at 3:52 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Blondie Thatcher

    You have turkeys just roaming the streets in Minneapolis? He’s a pretty one, too. You posts have been an upside to an otherwise not so fun time. Thanks, @jameslileks. Enjoy your bourbon. 

    • #4
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:11 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. GrannyDude Member

    I woke up this morning doing an anxious mental inventory. If I had to live on what I’ve got, how long would I survive? Not food, I mean (that’s my husband’s department) or wood in the woodpile (ditto) but things to do…you know, if we’re all to be quarantined for months…years…

    Holding my coffee (what if we run out of coffee? that’s my husband’s department. I have faith in him) I saw:

    Books, read and unread or worth re-reading…plenty

    Paper to write on…plenty

    Yarn…plenty, and in beautiful colors, and about four million knitting needles in various sizes

    Drawing paper and implements…plenty

    Collage materials…plenty

    Canvases, paints, brushes…plenty (especially if I paint over old ones!)

    Fleece for felting…plenty

    Needlepoint canvas and thread, in case I need to take that up again…plenty

    And it struck me: I’m like one of those people who has spent years creating a bomb shelter in the basement and filling it with canned goods and aspirin. I’m a craft-prepper. Let me know if you need anything, folks! Seriously—we’re talking plenty.

    • #5
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I made a mental note when I noticed a Circle K at a gas station was still open at 12:30am. The milk shelves looked empty from the pumps. But I’ve been drinking less milk since the panic. When I get to the last gallon, maybe the clerk will tell when their shipments arrive. 

    Stockpiling continues. If people bought just a little extra, the store shelves might not be so empty and there would be less worry. Just a little panic would be better. 

    My work for today got pushed. So I will try another park for some photography. It’s a new area of town where a couple old friends live. But I probably won’t see them, considering.

    • #6
    • March 25, 2020, at 5:06 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Stad Thatcher

    James Lileks: He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic politician pretentiousness turkeys do so well. He’s not happy to see me, and wanders up to my car. From what I can tell he sticks his stupid head in the wheel well. I honk the horn. The turkey sticks his head in my window and has the gall to gobble at me. I drive on slowly, and check my rear camera – didn’t hit him. 

    One afternoon when I came home from work, I got out of my car and looked up to see some vultures circling overhead. Needless to say, I played it safe and ran inside.

    • #7
    • March 25, 2020, at 5:44 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks: He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic politician pretentiousness turkeys do so well.

    This deserves a “Ricochet Sentence of the Week” award.

    EDIT: For, among other things, its perfect symmetry. “He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic turkey pretentiousness politicians do so well.”

    • #8
    • March 25, 2020, at 6:00 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    And it struck me: I’m like one of those people who has spent years creating a bomb shelter in the basement and filling it with canned goods and aspirin. I’m a craft-prepper. Let me know if you need anything, folks! Seriously—we’re talking plenty.

    Ditto. Perhaps when it’s all over, one way or the other, the two of us can go into business together.

    See you on the other side.

    • #9
    • March 25, 2020, at 6:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor

    You were lucky to escape alive from that turkey, James. We have them here, and I made the mistake of trying to shoo one away. Pissed him off! He chased me! I discovered that I could walk faster than he could, thank goodness. I guess he was protecting his girls, but really!

    • #10
    • March 25, 2020, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. TallCon Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Several years ago at my then-employer (multinational Fortune 200 company) the CEO occasionally visited the building in which I worked. On one such visit, the security guy at the front desk stopped the CEO as he was walking into the building with his entourage, with the security guy saying, “Sir, I need to see your badge.” The CEO pointed to his photo hanging in the lobby of the building. 

    You work for Ant Man? 

    • #11
    • March 25, 2020, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Blondie (View Comment):

    You have turkeys just roaming the streets in Minneapolis? He’s a pretty one, too. You posts have been an upside to an otherwise not so fun time. Thanks, @jameslileks. Enjoy your bourbon.

    Could have been a corporate pitch-bird for the local Total Wine & Spirits, trying to get James to change his brand of bourbon…

    • #12
    • March 25, 2020, at 7:24 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Stad Thatcher

    She (View Comment):

    James Lileks: He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic politician pretentiousness turkeys do so well.

    This deserves a “Ricochet Sentence of the Week” award.

    How about an Icon of the Week? First up . . . yours truly!

    • #13
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Richard Fulmer Member

    James Lileks: He is walking slowly, with that sort of idiotic politician pretentiousness turkeys do so well.

    The difference between turkeys and politicians is that, while we have turkeys for dinner, politicians feast on us.

    • #14
    • March 25, 2020, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When your wife uses one can of Lysol to disinfect the other, it’s time for concern.

    • #15
    • March 25, 2020, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  16. JustmeinAZ Member

    Since all the store shelves were empty of sugar I ordered 16# from Wal-Mart yesterday. We use a lot during the summer keeping our hummers and Orioles fed. I got anxious this morning and ordered another 16#. Who knows when things will get back to normal. Yes, I know. This is how boarding starts. 

     

    • #16
    • March 25, 2020, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Hoarding is in the cart of the beholder. 

    When we are expected to limit our trips out and bring our immuno-compromised family members to zero it is incumbent on the suburban hunter-gatherer to provide for his small tribe. 

    Here is the metric I think most people use, rightly or wrongly; buy double what you normally would so you won’t have to go out again. When the government informs you that you might not be able to go out, buy more when you do. When unemployment is threatened buy still more because you may not have the money next time, or the price may go up. If they were out of ___ last time buy more because you won’t have to go looking as soon and will thus limit your exposure to disease. If you have to stand in line for it buy more so as to limit future exposure. 

    Yes, there is a feedback loop. We can be annoyed/horrified/offended by the result, but honestly these are [relatively] rational reactions by responsible* people in the face of limited resources. 

    ______________
    *by which I mean responsible not only for themselves, but for others. I would add that some of these people go on to share with more local others beyond their immediate families.

    • #17
    • March 25, 2020, at 3:00 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    TBA (View Comment):
    Here is the metric I think most people use, rightly or wrongly; buy double what you normally would so you won’t have to go out again.

    Yes indeed, that’s how the mindset works. But it also helps to buy substitutes. Each week at the start of this I would be a container of that soy milk stuff; it’s shelf stable. A month ago, a big box of powdered milk. I’ll never get to it, but it’s a nice psychological backstop.

     

    • #18
    • March 25, 2020, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes