It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I didn’t want you to think I’d kicked the bucket. I have not even been sick; I gave blood last week and learned that I have no COVID-19 antibodies.

I have been sitting in my house more or less since you last heard from me. I’ve moved since then, so I’m sitting in a different as at this point, but still. Classes started last week and, in ten days, there have been six clusters found on campus, so we’re back to remote instruction. This is pretty much what I was expecting but I didn’t think it would happen quite so fast.

I have not been on campus. Well, except for going to get my stuff out of my old office because I won’t have an office this year. I’m not teaching this fall because I’m going to be off doing fieldwork.

Yes, that’s right. Having more or less quarantined myself since March, I am now going to do some traveling.

First, I’m going to Arizona to visit my offspring. That will be a little nerve wracking because of the way COVID has been beating up AZ in recent months. I’ll be there for five days.

Then, I’m heading up to my old stomping grounds in upstate New York to do some dissertation fieldwork, now that I finally have some funding for same. I’m really excited to be getting back to my research and only a little nervous about my safety. I will be careful, whatever people up there are doing. It’s Trump territory, so I’m not expecting too much sanity around social distancing and wearing face masks and stuff. But I’ll be doing all those things.

I’m jazzed. Getting to do the fieldwork in the second location will just make my dissertation that much more robust and interesting.

Oh, and one other thing: given the circumstances, I’m going to be graduating a year later than I had originally planned. So, not 2021 but 2022. I’ll confess that I’m disappointed but it couldn’t have been done now that I’m adding a whole additional data set to the equation.

The last time I was in here, there had been 70,000 coronavirus deaths. Now, we’re closing on 175,000 deaths (possibly 224,000, if we look at deaths above normal numbers) and counting. There have been 5.5 million cases — that we know about.

And in about 75 days (or less, I’ve lost count), there will be an election.