A brief check-in: I wrote There’s Gonna Be Baseball Again when figuring out my taxes. I always talk baseball with my accountant as his son is a star college player projected to be the #1 or #2 selection in the upcoming major league draft. In a normal year that would mean a big payday of $6 to $8 million. Probably not this year. The tune is based on the theme song of Gene Autry: Back in the Saddle Again. Who better than the original singing cowboy to cheer things up.
My wife Padma and I are fine. We’re probably in better shape than anyone in an apartment with a grumpy spouse or kids at home. I can mow the parched grass, weed-whack, rototill, and think about fixing my roof but not worryabout it too much because it stopped leaking thanks to the latest drought. Maybe next year. I can play guitar and sing out loud in my den without bothering anyone. I could never get loud in an apartment. Padma’s a movie addict and can watch subtitled flicks all day long and somehow like it. We’re dealing with overly-closeness by daily Scrabble games. So far it’s kinda working. Gin (the card game, not the drink) may be next, or backgammon, which I’ve played maybe twice, fifty years ago. It’s based based on dice, which I hate. I always lose at dice. I can’t see either of us getting into video games, but who knows.
I’ve been working at the Area Census Office (ACO) in Santa Rosa since late December. Our office is responsible for the seven counties between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon border. I’m an Office Operations Supervisor, an “OOS” (rhymes with “goose”), a rank somewhere between a corporal and a sergeant. I began a journal, figuring to write about the experience, months ago. We’ve been off since Mar. 18. It was crazy WAY before Corona. I plan to go to the very end of whatever comes of the 2020Census and relate the experience, however it turns out. In theory, I should be one of the last to be laid off because of my “veterans’ preference” (thank you Richard Nixon!). The job was supposed to end in July, but now, who knows? It’s not like being on the first wave off the boats in Normandy, or charging up San Juan Hill, but being in a Census ACO in a pandemic seems like an opportunity to be a part of history. And also a kind of civic duty, or some such corniness. The decennial census is critically important to how America functions, or doesn’t. Who knows, perhaps I’ll actually help make it work.
So what’s next? I just turned 72. Some say I should be retired, but I still haven’t figured out what to do when I grow up. The pay isn’t too bad, considering. What’s the risk? Should I roll the dice, even though I seem to always lose at dice? How much history is left to live? Is it worth the money? What will there be to spend it on? Is it the experience, a once in a lifetime kind of thing? The census ACO is full of greying AARP types looking for extra income or who were bored in retirement and wanted something to do. But that last week many dropped out due to susceptibility to the virus, as did younger workers who have kids that are suddenly at home instead of at school. I now better understand the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”