Saturday night. Do other planets ever get jealous that they don’t have a day named after them?

I finally ran out of bananas (the ones in the fridge started to look incredibly weird), so I risked another grocery-shopping expedition. Averaging about one every 10 days, and that ain’t bad. I took a fairly long drive on the permanently congested 401 highway to pick up extra weight plates for my dumbbell at a sporting goods store.

It’s so strange, experiencing the outside world in general and driving in particular after staying inside for so long. Watching fellow drivers stuck in traffic with you. Getting that old tingly sensation of controlling an entire automobile, a large construct of metal and rubber and glass that obeys your every move. (Do you remember your first time driving? It’s very much like that.) Even being trapped in traffic was a novel sensation because – for once – I was experiencing a tiny piece of the past, of life before the pandemic. Ye gods, I need to get out more often… But with the virus on the rise, nowhere is safe. Some places are objectively safer than others, and maybe I should try to go on a couple of hikes before the weather turns cold, but even so, there will be a long and boring winter shortly after. It doesn’t really get warm here till maybe April or May. Gotta keep popping that vitamin D, eh?

It says something about my life that the most exciting thing to happen this week was buying a new mask. Weeks ago, I bought 50 of those flimsy thin blue masks, but they’re really just the bare minimum. At the grocery store, I got something a bit more permanent, with an actual removable filter – and, dare I say, cooler-looking. (Scroll all the way down to see my pandemic business formal look.)

In covid news, things are getting decidedly Soviet in the US of A. Today’s updates: three Republican senators tested positive (Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina); former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (an obese asthmatic) is in a hospital, allegedly just for observation; Trump is awfully quiet on Twitter; mixed messages coming from the White House. This morning, a team of Trump’s doctors arrived 43 minutes late to their own press conference. (That’s an awfully long time to agree on the best way to say “he’s a-okay!”) Dr. Sean Conley waffled for 13 minutes while dodging questions and accidentally mentioning that Trump had started treatment 48 hours prior and had been diagnosed 72 hours prior, i.e. on Wednesday morning, not on Thursday night.

Throughout the day, there were multiple conflicting reports and reports opposing prior reports. Either Trump is doing just fine or he was in critical condition. Either Dr. Conley meant to say “two days ago” instead of “72 hours” or he has no concept of time. Trump posted a four-minute video sitting in some office and thanking his medical team. It’s rather sad that it’s reasonable to ask whether this video had been pre-recorded earlier… There seems to be utter panic and self-inflicted information vacuum at the White House: even if they know what’s going on, after all their lies over the past four years, there’s no trustworthy person who can speak to the American people and be taken seriously.

There’s been no sign of life from Melania – is she finally getting some alone time, or is she out but not critical? The single saddest sign that something is up is the simple fact that the president of the United States has not spent the entire day bullying people on Twitter or live-tweeting Fox News. If there’s one thing he adores, it’s high ratings, and he’s been on everyone’s mind this whole weekend.

In the end, it’s a binary choice: he’ll either live or die. We’ll know for sure in a few weeks, likely sooner. The worst part is the uncertainty – the blatant misinformation and keeping people in the dark. In the Soviet Union, whenever the General Secretary had a health emergency and/or died, they’d put the Swan Lake ballet on every TV channel – it’d play on infinite loop. This is pretty much what’s going on right now, or at least what it feels like. Those of you reading this in the future, those of you who didn’t live through this, likely can’t imagine the sheer surreal sensation of having a Schrodinger’s president.

In other, non-US covid news: Ontario is stopping its contact-tracing program due to a two-day test backlog and a growing number of cases. (653 new ones yesterday.) That is not a good sign… That’s the equivalent of a shruggie emoji from the public health system: going from the precise and efficient targeting to, well, sending your thoughts and prayers to everyone around you, and reminding them to follow the same guidelines they’d started ignoring weeks ago. The new wave is here: the only question is how long it’ll last.

…and India has just crossed 100,000 deaths. That news story got buried by all the Trump news, yet it’s far more grave. As with every official death count, this one is understated. Given India’s 1.4 billion population, 100,000 deaths is proportionally about eight times lower than the US death toll, but it’s still just as tragic. I won’t pretend to know anything about India’s situation: I just hope they manage to minimize further deaths by taking rapid action.

Earlier today, I had to look up today’s date. It’s amazing how much has happened in just the first three days of October. There’s one month left until the US election. How different will the world be by then?..