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Weird to have a birthday during a pandemic. To have a day when I’m supposed to gather my friends together and celebrate. Now there can be no gathering, and any celebration feels macabre.

People have been asking me, what are you doing for your birthday? And the honest answer is the worst one:

  • First thing in the morning, I’m going to check the LA Times page for updates on the spread of Covid-19 in California, paying particular attention to the shape of the curve for San Diego. Today: it’s bending down, and has moved to doubling only every 3 days (last week it was doubling every two).
  • Next I’m going to check the latest news from The Economist and The Atlantic. The Economist because they’re going to put things in a global perspective. The Atlantic because they employ Ed Yong.
  • After dumping all that in my brain, I’m going to try to write. I may fail.
  • Later I’ll go to work, where everything is normal since we were all working remotely before the virus. Except we all know it isn’t, and it can’t be.
  • At some point I will probably take thirty minutes — alone, in my office, where no one, including my wife, can see — and just grieve. For what’s been lost, and how much more we will probably lose before this is over.

None of which is really something you can confess to someone who just casually asks that question.

So instead I try to smile, and just say “We’ll think of something.”

And who knows? Maybe we will.