This morning my meditation tape asked me if there’s an observer or just the act of observing. I have no idea what to do with questions like this. I’m trying to focus on concrete things these days. Like iceberg lettuce. Whether I’m in Ohio or New York, a bodega or a supermarket, the iceberg lettuce looks increasingly ratty. The other vegetables are growing larger, genetically engineered into Platonic ideals of carrots or tomatoes, but iceberg lettuce seems to be getting smaller, wilted with brown bruises. Perhaps this is an ambient sign of an emergency, like the dwindling bees.

C. and I scrolled up and down the aisles of the megamarket in full hunter-gatherer mode, aiming to collect enough supplies for a few weeks. While contemplating the fish tank, I tuned into the woman’s voice looping over the P.A. system, struck by how it sounded simultaneously rational and insane: “…everything to keep you safe this season. We’ve widened our aisles to help with social distancing, we’ve enhanced our sanitizing practices, and we’ve increased our options for contactless payment…”

A new culture of shame is emerging, and not just in the trenches of social media. Reporters at the airport harass travelers on television, asking them if they even care about humanity. The New York Times is publishing heat maps of where people plan to spend their Thanksgiving—and with how many people. I’m not sure what I’m expected to do with this information.

Smackos – Shopping at the Survival Store

Pacific Northwest Sasquatch Research | Strange Life, 2007 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Related Reading
August 7, 2020


I still remember the frantic voice of a late-night caller who said, "We can't get the blood out of our eyes fast enough to see what's coming next."
August 10, 2020


Three days without television or constant internet access—unless I drive twenty minutes to sit in the parking lot of a Speedway gas station.
February 8, 2020


Strange how I'm embarrassed to write our president's name, a name that looks like an obscenity on the page. Maybe it’s because I thought we deserved a worthy villain.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x