The Inside Rail

Self Isolation. Day 6. Friday.

I’m six days into this and feel fine, taking my temperature less often, no symptoms. Still concerned, still isolated, still worried. Like everybody.

No symptoms. That’s the good news. The bad news is the world is imploding, people are dying, the president is bumbling, the hospitals will reach capacity…oh, you know the bad news.

Gardening. Running. Writing. Reading. This is first-world isolation. 

My favorite quote from my reading thus far. Tortilla Flats, John Steinbeck.

Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs may be graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three inches more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of old and bitter loves. Bottom of the first jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black, unholy, despondency. Two fingers down, a song of death or longing. A thumb, every other song each one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on anything can happen.

At Cheltenham, half the party stays up until 2 in the morning, the other half drifts away to bed around 10 at night (I’m in the latter camp). The next morning, over eggs, tea and the Racing Post, you can always tell the ones who followed Steinbeck’s map, the whole route, below the shoulder, two inches farther down, bottom, shoulder, two inches, thumb. This is why I try to avoid the second bottle. 

Self Isolation Day 7. Saturday.

It’s been seven days. Am I OK? Did I somehow escape? If you can ride on two planes and go to Cheltenham for four days and avoid getting sick, then at least it's possible. OK. OK. Don't get ahead of yourself. I guess it’s seven days still to go, or more, depends on how you look at it, what you read. Scary times. Spent the day in the garden, like all day. Kept thinking I should go do something, then I thought about what that something was, sit in this room, by myself, scouring the Internet for the next dose of reality, calamity. The garden is just escape, that’s all. They say dirt is good for coping. It all started to hit me today, while I was in the garden. It always takes me a few days to realize the enormity. Trying to stay positive. I’m struggling to stay positive.

Self Isolation. Day 8. Sunday.

My kingdom for a cup of coffee. I should have ordered a coffee maker on Amazon. Just want a cup of coffee and a piece of toast, again first-world problems. Thinking about the garden. Need to order seeds. And, no, my peas aren't in yet. 

Beautiful day here. Sunny. Light. Free. I’ve cleared my email, perused the Washington Post, looked at the form for Downpatrick, the only game in town as far as European jump racing goes, read two articles from the Sunday Long Read, trying to stay off Facebook and Twitter, I knew long before a pandemic that neither was good for you, now it’s even more clear.

Jay Hovdey called yesterday. Robert Monk. Talked to Wass, Brent, Todd, Mom, Dad, Joey, Sheila, Gordie Keys. The latter sounded the most concerned. Tough days ahead.

A headline I thought I’d never see in Monday’s Racing Post: US expert Tom Collins suggests siding with leading trainer at Will Rogers Downs.

Yes, those are the times we’re living in, the Racing Post is touting the leading trainer at Will Rogers Downs. Not much else to do.

Annie brought me shaving cream. Now, that's funny.