MY MY MY MY CORONA… Squid’s tentacles are raw from all the washing Squid’s been doing. Scrub the fronts, scrub the backs, scrub in between, all the while singing two rounds of “Happy Birthday,” or, as Squid chooses to hum, the chorus from “Pack That Ass Up.” Squid is not hoarding toilet paper, having invested in a fancy bidet that not only washes, but dries, the delicate parts. Squid also has enough canned shellfish to last a few weeks, laid in other provisions (fondue night with Rosco P. Coltrane, Squid’s beloved bulldog, is in the works) and Squid has ample activities lined up, including finally – finally! – learning to knit; putting together a 45,000-piece jigsaw puzzle; perfecting a no-knead bread recipe; and re-watching every single episode of Stranger Things while wondering if we’re already in the upside-down dimension and monsters are actually coming.

Squid has heard tales of great kindness leading up to the March 17 announcement by Monterey County Public Health Officer Edward Moreno that all Monterey County residents need to take an extended timeout from life and stay in their homes to subvert the spread of COVID-19. (Yes, exceptions apply – go look at the news pages to find out more about the shelter-in-place order). Among the kindnesses: People on the online platform NextDoor offering to fetch groceries and prescriptions for elderly neighbors. (You people are quality people, Squid thinks.)

Squid has also heard tales of intense lunacy. For example, Salinas Police responded to a call at an office the morning of March 17 in which two co-workers were fighting because one of them was coughing. The officer, Squid hears, told them to “Grow the f –k up,” and Squid finds that to be excellent advice.

Moments that might’ve once seemed normal, even pleasant, suddenly take on a sinister tone. For instance, at the Presidio of Monterey, home to the Defense Language Institute, members of the 314th Training Squadron gathered – in groups of up to 150 students (really?) – for a “fun event” to celebrate Pi Day (March 14, as in 3.14), according to spokesperson Natela Cutter. The “fun” including throwing pies, and probably sharing of all kinds of germs.

Speaking of sharing, dozens of public relations professionals who work in education had convened for the California School Public Relations Association on March 12 – seemingly the only California conference still scheduled to meet – and it was from there that Monterey County Office of Education’s public relations officer, Jessica Hull, prepared a notification that 24 public school districts were closing temporarily. Talk about surreal: PR professionals, gathered in a room together (but 6 feet apart), telling people to stop being in rooms together.

Squid normally delights in irony. For now, Squid will delight in irony while ensconced in the lair, with only Rosco and Netflix as company.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the following correction. There were not hundreds of people at the California School Public Relations Association conference, which limited attendance to 150, and only dozens were in attendance. 

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