Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Notes from Lockdown

1. We’re in the middle of a tropical storm here in Wisconsin, in case you were wondering what level of apocalypse 2020 is at now.

2. Am I the only one who remembers that there’s a pandemic going on or are there others?  The news has been inundated with the ongoing protests – and, really, those protests are important so I’m not complaining about being inundated – but I suspect that we are going to be reminded of the coronavirus in a heavy-handed way in the very near future and I’m not looking forward to that.

3. We’re already seeing the spikes that came from the rush to open up for Memorial Day – most of the states that threw open their doors without preparations are worse than they were before they went into lockdown in the first place (hi there, Texas!).  The end of June is going to be ugly – and not just from the transmissions from the demonstrations (though I see a lot of people wearing masks at those events and trying to keep their distance, which is good) but from all the other people who have simply moved on and forgotten.  We are not a species built to last.

4. I’m impressed by the staying power of the protests.  Those people are doing important things, often at great cost to themselves (hint to the police: in an age where every single person on the street has a camera in their pocket that can take high-quality video and send it worldwide with the press of a button, if people are protesting against being assaulted by the police it’s probably a good idea not to assault them, you think?), and what it’s astonishing how quickly the public conversation has turned in their favor.  It’s almost as if those protesters were saying things that desperately needed to be said and advocating for things that the US had better start doing if it wants to survive.

5. I’ve been working on a larger post about the current situation that keeps getting sidetracked because to be honest it’s hard to focus these days.  This may be a problem for the various academic things I’m getting paid to do this summer as well.  But the world is stressful even for a privileged white guy like me, which makes the protesters that much more impressive when you think about it.

6. I always wear a mask if I’m out in public and expect to be around other people, for the same reason I wear a seatbelt.  I spent five years as a firefighter on a rescue squad.  As a group we devoted a disturbing number of hours to scraping people off the road from where they had skidded to a halt after being ejected from their cars or peeling them out of their windshields if they stayed inside, and it’s just a basic safety measure to buckle in.  I have no patience for people who think their mild inconvenience is more important than the lives of those around them.

7. Of course, wearing a mask brings up three problems.  First, I have a big head.  Literally.  Not sure about figuratively – I’m not the best person to ask, so you’ll have to enquire among those who deal with me every day as they’ll have a more objective viewpoint.  But definitely literally.  This means that the elastic straps on most masks tend to be just that much too short.  Second and related, apparently I have flexible ears.  I’m sure this is an evolutionary adaptation designed to help me squeeze through narrow corridors but it does mean that any elastic band taut enough to keep the mask from slipping off my face is just going to make it slide right off my head as my ears bend to make way for it.  So Kim made me a couple of masks that tie instead, which helps.  Third, I wear glasses and it’s like going out in a scarf in February every time I put the mask on.  But I wear the mask anyway, because I am not stupid.

8. I’d say that mask compliance in most of the places I’ve been over the last two weeks (i.e. several different grocery stores, one hardware store, and a feed store to restock the chickens) has been between 50 and 70%.  Could be better.  Not as bad as I’d feared.  A surprising number of people have figured out that pandemics don’t care about your politics and they’re just trying to get by.  Oddly enough the feed store was the worst.  The hardware store actually required masks and had people stationed at the front door to enforce it.

9. I finally finished the Big Box O’ Wine that I bought for quarantine back in March.  What can I say?  I have a drinking problem.  I don’t drink nearly as much as I feel I ought to be doing these days.

10. I’m up to Sacre Bleu in my “read all the Christopher Moore books” project.  Seriously, you need to be reading his stuff.


James A. Brown said...

"We are not a species built to last."

Paul Krugman: America Fails the Marshmallow Test


David said...

Yeah, pretty much.

American culture isn't built on delayed gratification. We've not had any collective sacrifice for a larger goal in 75 years and we've forgotten the fact that rights are meaningless without responsibilities.

There are good people here, but I'm not surprised we've failed that test as a culture.

LucyInDisguise said...

MMmmmmMMM! - Marsh Melons.

My 10-year-old great-granddaughter has more sense than her grandmother. And is light years ahead of her grandmother's elder sister.

I tried. I really did! Honest!! But I refuse to accept responsibility for what happened after they left home to go out and lose their way in the world.

[Jeebus! Did I just say MY 10-year-old GREAT-granddaughter???]

May Odin & Thor guide me to a more unperturbed me.


David said...

10-year-old great granddaughter? Did you get married in middle school or something? ;)

Impressive! And good for her that she's got good sense! We raise them and set them free and hope for the best, and sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we get antivaxxers. Sigh.

I suspect I will be lucky to see a 10-year-old granddaughter, let alone great-granddaughter. The demographics are what they are. But I will enjoy the time I have with the people I have.