This evening I came home after dark and learned that our dishwasher was busted beyond repair. So off we went to a hardware store to buy a new one. The drive there felt like I was living in a ghost town, passing empty parking lots, for most of the restaurants, as well as for a local gym that normally would be packed. When we arrived, we easily got a parking space close to the hardware store entrance: it was raining ☔️ tonight, which I suppose is an extraneous detail for this road trip. The eerie deserted feeling continued when we got inside. Unloaded skids of material were in many of the aisles and it felt like we had the store to ourselves. We found out after we started talking to a sales associate that the store was closing in ten minutes: they cut their closing time from 10pm to 8pm a couple days ago. As I write this, I’ve just learned that the entire state of California is on lockdown, which makes reduced shopping hours seem like a petty inconvenience and I feel like we’re moving in slow motion with the near inevitability of a state lockdown here a forgone conclusion. Our sale is completed quickly—it’s a dishwasher, not an iPhone, FFS—and I realize the new protocol of social distancing. When the delivery manager places a pen 🖊 over the contract to sign, I push it almost disgustedly with my own pen, shocked that he would think I would risk my health on his community cesspool of contagion, but then just as quickly I’m embarrassed at my reaction. He seems to take it in stride and agrees with my prudent use of bringing my own “protection.” He then made a remark that it was too late to schedule delivery for tomorrow, that they had already contacted their appliance delivery company and told them there were no deliveries tomorrow. Let that sink in. I live in a fairly densely populated suburban area. It’s a big store. And they have zero home deliveries scheduled for tomorrow. We finally pay, leave the store, and drive back the way we came through our ghost town. It’s amazing how quickly the new normal has become. Remember what life was like two weeks ago? Wish me luck in getting a good night’s sleep tonight.