The Way We Live Now #7: My Bags Are Packed

My suitcase sits upright by the door. It’s so heavy I’m glad it’s the wheelie kind. The closest thing to clothing in it are a pair of shoes and a couple of towels wrapped around family pictures, still framed. One device is packed up and nestled on top of the towels. The rest of the space is filled with the binders holding the trust and the wills, several paper files with active issues (medical, contracts) and a few books.

On top of it sits my Go-bag, holding spare glasses, medication, toothbrush-and-paste, shampoo, soap, etc, charger cords (colorcoded and labeled), a copy of my birth certificate and California Drivers License–although I should check because it might be the expired one–and about four days’ worth of clothing.

There will be a third bag that will hold bulky items, that I won’t pack until the last minute–which could mean some of them won’t get packed.

I hadn’t bought fuel for my car since February, and I still had half a tank, but day before yesterday I filled the tank, and ran the car through the carwash. More about that in a minute.

Since March, my life, like everyone’s, has mostly been about the coronavirus. The bags aren’t about that. They’re about wildfires and evacuation warnings.

My post-coffee morning routine used to be: Sit down at the computer. Check email. Go to and check the coronavirus dashboard for daily updates. Move on to social media. Get some writing done, or procrastinate and later pretend I’ve gotten some writing done. (Throughout the day things like Go For a Walk, Buy Groceries, were in there too.)

I didn’t power down my device every night, but I tried to about once a week, mainly because of updates.

Now my routine is; power up the baby laptop. Sit down in front of it. Go to and check evacuation information. Flip over to coronavirus dashboard. Check email. Move on to social media. Don’t even pretend to try to write.

I wear a mask every time I step out the door now, even to handwater in the yard, not because of the virus, but in the hope it will cut the particulate matter (read; ash, cinder, smoke) slightly.

Remember how I said I washed my car? I mention that because if you saw it today you wouldn’t be able to tell.

My night routine used to be: Put my phone on the charger in another room, go to bed. Now it’s: Power down the baby laptop and put it on top of the box with the fully charged power brick, the fully charged Jet Pack modem, the cords for the second phone charger. Carry the phone into the bedroom and put it on the bureau so I will hear a Wireless Emergency Alert or a Nixle alert during the night. Charge the phone in the morning.

My point? It’s the third week of August. Our really bad fires usually start in October. Until now.

I fully believe those bags will wait by my door until December. This is how the world works now.

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