Day 3. Well, that didn't take long.

I live across the street from a decent grocery store that, in recent months, has really upped its game. Better fruits and veg, nice packaged meats, wider variety, more stable supply of the brands and items I want, very generous opening hours – everything professional while maintaining a small-town feel. The team of people there is great. One guy – I think he’s a manager – always bags up my groceries and hauls them across the street for me, plopping them down in front of my gate – literally 50 feet away.

And of course there are cats at the store entryway, one of whom is pregnant right now. She doesn’t belong to anyone, but everyone keeps an eye on her, makes sure she’s fed, makes sure the toms leave her alone.

That was last month. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bare shelf here or there, some people wearing masks. I felt the need to sanitize my change as the clerk put it in my hand. But everyone was still smiling.

Today was different. They’re limiting entry to a few customers at a time. Goods were just scattershot on the shelves. It put me to wondering if the supply chain is stable here. But I can barely understand the news cover stories online, so I think supply chain details might be outside the limits of my French. I bagged up my stuff, came home, and tried to alcohol spray everything before storing stuff in the kitchen.

Note to self: Alcohol spray renders Diet Coke label ink completely liquid again.

I left Ramon in the kitchen, cooking his famous chickpea stew, and went to the living room. I was following along with an exercise video on TV. I put the scary grocery store, with all its changes and uncertainty, out of my mind.

Ramon came out of the kitchen, and made some noise with his phone, at which point I left the room in a huff to continue my exercises elsewhere.

Do I really have that short a fuse?

Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

But it’s so obvious it’s almost comical: I was freaked out about how we’re going to feed ourselves. Sometimes the self-isolation seems like a game – it’s not so unlike my regular working-at-home, but I get to have Ramon around and we play games and watch TV. (After working. Ahem.)

Then I get reminded just how very much this is not a game. 

We don’t know how long it will last, or what it will take to “flatten the curve.” There’s abject partisanship over what’s happening:

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816680033/poll-americans-dont-trust-what-they-re-hearing-from-trump-on-coronavirus

Internet service is stretched while everyone tries to learn and work from home. Several people bought up hand sanitizer and re-sold it – thinking they were helping the economy meet demand. Vulture! And don’t even get me started on the stock market and its scavenger class.

My brother’s in a remote town in Alaska, and I want him to get somewhere safer. My sister is a front-liner, a nurse practitioner in a clinic. Dad is 90, my stepmom 94, stepdad 87. I can’t… even…

All my panic points got activated this morning.

And – oh, yeah, wait – I’m NOT EVEN IN THE U.S. I’m not home, where I know how things work, and who to call, and what to do in emergencies. I don’t even know what number to dial for emergency here. (I’ll find out.) Last night our friend and taxi driver Ibrahim told us there might be a curfew, to be announced by the president in his address last night – but I can’t find anything about it online. I don’t even know where to look.

So it’s not illogical that I would snap under these conditions. It is illogical, however, to snap at someone who has just made a giant pot of delicious chickpea stew.

(He also always reads my blog posts. Sorry, Honey Biscuit!)

So, no wallowing in the fear or in my little outburst of snarkiness. We have something really important to decide here, today.

My friend, Shane, posted this on Facebook:

Two worthy contenders, no doubt. If it were on costumes (like the guy with the Centurion/Egyptian/Midnight Blue Robot thing going on, or the profusion of capes and wings), Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire has no competition. Their September is magisterial as well, and the suite of costumes in that one look like a play on Prince Humperdinck from A Princess Bride.

I find myself looking for a reason to disqualify Boogie Oogie Oogie, which I think is too smooth. I don’t feel the need to Get Down, nor to Boogie Oogie Oogie, despite their imploring. I also lament the unnecessary reduplicatives and the overuse of disco strings. Still, I salute the silver lamé leotards and leisure slacks. But visuals alone do not a boogie make.

Shane, I have to say, I don’t think you’re looking broadly enough at the Boogie-related canon. We’ve got to really capture Peak Boogie. Stevie Wonder gets nostalgia and cross-genre laurels for Boogie on Reggae Woman. If you don’t feel this one, you are not alive.

Then there’s Blame it on the Boogie by the Jacksons – high camp with the psychedelic tracer video, which in addition to being funky (and funny) as hell, shows the precise moment when Michael must have realized he sang, danced and performed better than anyone else in his family (with apologies to Janet, who does not appear here.) The rest of the Jacksons are lumbering about like they just woke up from hibernation, while Michael does triple pirouettes and comes out smiling.

Perennial wedding reception favorite Electric Boogie, by Marcia Griffiths, has been called Electric Slide for so long, the original boogie factor has become hidden. But not when you watch this video.

I’m your Boogie Man by KC and the Sunshine Band might just take the prize, with its refreshingly eager and well-dressed double tambourine player. Plus, this boogie is available “early in the morning, in the late afternoon, or at midnight.” Can either of your selections claim that, Shane? Well, can they?

This darkness got to give, says Jerry Garcia in New Speedway Boogie, which, if I’m honest, doesn’t have enough strut to fit this list, but he certainly knows how to set a mood. But, at over 8:00 long, this particular boogie is sadly… disqualified.

If you make me pick, I’m going to be contrarian and call it for an outlier like Chaka Khan: Tell Me Something Good, which, though lacking the obvious boogie title terminology, is the boogiest of them all. Sing it with me.

Tell me something good
Tell me that you love me, yeah
Tell me something good
Tell me that you like it, yeah

“Got no time” is what you’re known to say
I’ll make you wish there was 48 hours to each day
Your problem is you ain’t been loved like you should
What I got to give will sho’ ’nuff do you good

I probably should get back to work. But I feel a lot better.

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