Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


    • I just “got back” from a one-week “vacation” I had to take. I couldn’t go anywhere, and I couldn’t sleep in, because Sarah’s office is the bedroom. So I had plenty of spare time to watch the news, which was just a bad idea.
    • A week ago, as I was closing in on one of those deadline-of-the-year projects, my crown fell out. It was the same one I lost back in 2015 while on vacation in Indiana. I got ahold of my dentist, but it took a week to schedule a repair on it, because of COVID stuff and reduced schedules. I went on a Wednesday afternoon, and had the shortest trip across the Bay Bridge I’ve ever seen, ever.
    • My dentist is at a mall (Tanforan) and I did a quick lap (outside) before I went in. One of the anchors is Target, which was business as usual, mostly. There’s a JC Penney, which was closed, and a Sears, which died earlier this year. So there was a certain creepiness, but there’s also a BART station there, and people always illegally park at the mall, so it wasn’t that vacant.
    • There were a million various protocols: take a giant quiz the day before on where I’ve traveled and how I feel, etc; wait in the car and call them when I get there; come in with a mask on; temperature check; the same quiz, but sign and date it; wash your hands (timed); rinse your mouth with peroxide (timed); then mask off. The room was lined with plastic like I was about to get executed by the mafia. The dentist and assistant were in full protective gear, masks and shields and gowns. The crown was fine, and the re-glue was a two minute job.
    • Speaking of abandoned malls, I went to Hilltop last week, in Richmond. Couldn’t get in, although the Walmart was open, with people lined up outside. I did a lap outside the mall, which was eerie. The most ironic thing is that the JCP and Sears parking lots are now being used for storage for a ton of those Amazon sprintster delivery vans.
    • Also went to Sunvalley out in Pleasant Hill. They had Jersey barriers at every entrance, closing off the entire parking lot; every door and window was boarded over with plywood. Took a long walk around the outer ring of the lot, and it all looked a bit too surreal.
    • JC Penney put out their list of store closures for their bankruptcy. The Elkhart store at Concord Mall is on the list. I could probably write a part 3 on the death of that mall, but I’m too lazy. University Park isn’t losing theirs, and none of the Bay Area ones are slated for closure. I mean, they all will close in the future. But those aren’t in the first round.
    • Spending a lot of time walking NAS Alameda, trying not to fall down the k-hole of researching what the base used to be. Luckily, it’s so poorly-documented I don’t have much to go on.
    • There’s more, but nothing I want to discuss here. The world is a crazy place right now.


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