To Mask or Not to Mask

In what can only be called stupid talking about stupid – there is quite a large bit of babbling happening on the internet about people who won’t mask. I have a theory. And since this is the internet, I’m gonna tell it to you.

I think there is a direct connection between people condemning and screaming about non-mask wearers on social media and people deciding that wearing a mask is somehow optional and/or an infringement on their rights.

In the olden days of my long gone youth – we learned about things from a very serious and trustworthy person named Walter Cronkite. He was a news anchor on the TV. We trusted him. If he got on TV and told us that masks were required to protect us, we would wear masks. Because no one else was telling us there was another option.

Walter Cronkite - Wikipedia

Or more precisely, no one we would listen to was telling us anything else. There were always lunatics on corners screaming about conspiracy theories, but everyone fully understood they were loons and we were not making any decisions based on their ranting.

These days everyone is talking all the time – telling you things. It’s a constant gossip garbage festival. Now I have not met anyone who refuses to wear a mask. But I have seen dozens and dozens of people condemning them on social media. I’ve seen news outlets reporting on what people say on social media. Because that is where we get our news now – they just scrape the bottom of the social media garbage can for the maggots and publish it.

It’s not that I don’t see people without masks or wearing a mask improperly. I do. But here’s my impression of all those people

Ehfuckit: The person who left the mask in the car. Too lazy to go back for it.

ParticipationRibbon: The person who is wearing a mask around their neck.

BeardProtection: The person who is wearing the mask on the chin,

Igottabeathe: The person who is wearing the mask just under the nose.

Imsweatingunderhere: The person who is wearing the mask appropriately.

Most of people have done all of the above at different points. Because we are human. No one is all one thing. Certainly we are not a homogenous group.

It’s not that I don’t believe that there are people who refuse to wear a mask. It’s that I think they got their balls to do that because so many people are screaming about people who refused so they figure they have lots of compadres in their quest to be selfish and are given fuel to do this. We are feeding them by giving prominence to the tiniest group.

Then add in how it easy it is to get in touch with the selfish and ignorant club on the internet and now we have a movement. A movement that I posit would not have existed in 1983. I don’t want to go back to the pre-internet world. I think only if you lived without it, can you appreciate it for all the small and lovely ways it improves life. From banking to spelling to random interesting questions. Back in 1983 we just continued to wonder about something that came up in conversation. We didn’t go to the library and research it. We just never found out.

I don’t want to go back there. But it is true that the internet is not working quite so well on a societal level. sigh.

Covid-19, The Souvenir

The week after July 4th weekend, several of my coworkers went away to the beach on vacation. Apparently they decided that if they pretended hard enough the whole pandemic thing didn’t apply to them, it just wouldn’t.

The company required all of them to be tested when they returned but didn’t stop them from coming back into work while they waited for the results.

On Thursday, one of them announced that one of the people he and his father (both work for us) were on vacation with tested positive. They were still waiting for their results but they were sent home immediately.

Unfortunately that was after I had extensive contact with one of their phones and computer. I’m an idiot too.

Yesterday one of them was told he was positive and one was negative. Happily the one whose workspace I was in, was negative, but…

I went to get tested today. The drive through line was a literal mile long. But they are VERY efficient. I was done in less than an hour. But if I have this virus because these two idiots HAD TO GO TO FLORIDA, I am going to have to exercise a whole lot of anger management.

Is it impossible to sacrifice a vacation for the well being of your community? I just don’t understand.

The Ephemeral Delight of a Hot Air Balloon

hot air balloon flying under blue sky during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you had one arrive suddenly above you?  If you live in an urban environment that can be the feeling.  One day, you are working in your backyard garden and you hear conversation.  Above you.  And there it, floating impossibly above you – it’s colors screaming delight, it’s passengers happy to wave and join your wonder from their, possibly happier, perspective.  And then a sudden muted roar as the flame is ignited to give it some lift and your momentary delight floats away like the happy dream.

How can it still be so wonderful?  Hot air balloons have existed for more than 300 years. Indeed, if you consider the (unmanned) Chinese Sky Lanterns, they’ve been around nearly 2000 years.  They shouldn’t be anymore gawkable than a car or a plane.  And yet they are.  And I think they will be forever.  They have an ineffable quality that makes them continue to inspire awe.

Like all awe inspiring things we create events and images and stories around them.  Most cities of size have some kind of hot air balloon event.  You can buy countless calendars with dedicated to the hot air balloon.  Coffee Table Books, Websites, Pintrest Boards, Balloon Chasers and finally and perhaps most telling – advertisers.

The moment of magic they provide everyone who sees them is one of life’s delights.

 

I was wrong

I was lamenting yesterday about the economy and how badly it was affecting the business I work for.  I wondered why we stopped the world instead of just focusing our efforts on protecting the vulnerable.

But since I wrote that I’ve learned a couple of things.  One was a video by Dr. Campbell on how the virus works and spreads and how cutting off the spread can kill the virus off permanently.  That is what happened with SARS.  I was still a bit skeptical that a virus that has already circumnavigated the world could be killed off permanently, but I just read Rowena’s post.  She’s particularly vulnerable to this virus.  If she catches it, she has a high risk of mortality and certainly will end up in hospital, assuming beds are even available.  She’s a mother with young children.

Her family is going to great lengths to protect her.  They bought a popup camper for her to live in for the duration so the family won’t infect her.  It just suddenly made it all clear to me how hard it is to truly isolate and protect the vulnerable.  The only way to do it is for everyone to participate.

Unless you are a single person living alone like myself, true isolation is impossible. And even now in all this mess, if I were forced to truly self isolate, I would likely still need to leave the apartment to take out the trash or receive a delivery of groceries, which would expose me to surfaces other people in the building have touched. And all of that is complicated and compounded when you live with others, particularly as a parent.

that is why we are all sacrificing. It’s a mess. But we must get through and we must all take it seriously or it will all be for naught. We will lose the vulnerable and have killed the economy, if we don’t do it right.

Broccoli, What a Delight

I’m not being sardonic, ironic or sarcastic.  I truly love Broccoli, although I keep misspelling it, so my delight does not extend to all it’s aspects apparently.  Thank you, Spell Check for your minatory corrections.  I’m frankly also glad for spell check, although I mostly express my annoyance with it.  Having grown up  and lived my young adulthood in a time before it’s existence, I know the suffering, the embarrassment of being a poor speller.

But back to the Broccoli.  I love it.  Raw or cooked.  Frozen or Fresh.  I don’t think I’ve ever had it canned.  I’m mostly not a fan of canned veg so probably wouldn’t love it.  But maybe?

I use broccoli slaw on my sandwiches instead of lettuce.  It provides crunch and a marvelous taste.  And so many more nutrients than lettuce.

I often take mashed potatoes and broccoli to work as my lunch.  It’s marvelous in a soup.  It’s a lovely additive to nearly any casserole.  Particularly those Mid American casseroles that generally feature Campbell soup of some variety.

Of course I love a lot of foods.  But what makes broccoli special is that it’s GOOD FOR ME. This is what makes it delightful.  To love something that is actually good for you is so rare that it’s nearly like finding the Hope Diamond, fully cut, in your backyard.

I felt it had to be celebrated.  Broccoli.  It’s Good.

Image result for broccoli

 

 

It’s startling how fast an economy can go into the toilet

People are talking about a recession, but honestly, it feels more like it might be headed straight for a depression.

Two weeks ago the transportation company I work for was thriving.  On Monday they laid off  half the workforce and pulled more than half of their vehicles off the lot and the insurance.

Small businesses will not survive this.  Or only a few will.  Most transportation companies are facing full on collapse in 30 or so days.  They carry a debt load on their fleet, not to mention the insurance and payroll.  Our company is in a better position than most because we don’t carry any debt but it’s just going make us last a bit longer.  Because without any income you cannot run a business.

Today I wondered what I would do differently if I were in charge of running this disaster.  And I think I would have focused entirely on high risk people.  Just make older people and people with pre-existing conditions self isolate.  Set up ways and means to support that isolation with food delivery and medical care and whatever support was needed.   But stopping the entire world when it seems like 97% of the sick are not going to feel any worse than having a cold, seems like we went at it wrong.

Of course, I’m not a public health expert.  I have no real knowledge on the spread of sickness and it’s consequences.   It’s probably a pipe dream to think it could have run it’s course mostly avoiding the at risk and giving the rest of us a cold to complain about.  But, if any countries are doing that, I would be interested to know if their outcomes are better/ worse on mortality and economy.

Image result for depression era

 

 

Happy Palindrome Day

Also ground hog’s day, but that’s just a silly superstition.

The 02022020 is real.  And it’s rare.

This particular date works in both the US and the European dating customs.  That makes it even rarer.

And today is the 33rd day of the year.  And there are 333 days left in the year.  Palindromes again!

I learned about this magical and rare holiday from Matt Parker, math video educator and presenter and author.

We need more pointless but interesting trivia in our lives.  Or maybe we don’t?  Anyway, it beats learning horrific facts about the coronavirus or the endlessly burning Australia or god forbid, Politics.  So.  I’m OK with it.

 

 

Unintentional Poetry

The Moon Follows you where ever you go.
Hold on to my purse.
Don’t let go of my Purse.
Whereever you are the moon is too.

Tonight in the grocery store parking lot I was followed out by a Mother and heard her saying this to her toddler aged child.  I turned around because it struck me as so beautiful.

The Moon Follows You Whereever you Go.

Followed without pause with the anxious admonishment of a mother with her hands full of grocery bags and unable to hold the hand she so desperately wants to grab.

And then, again without pause, a reiteration of the beautiful idea of the moon being our constant companion.

She never raised her voice.  I, as an adult who has shepherded children in hazardous areas, heard her anxiety.  I don’t think the toddler did.  He was focused on the wonder of the moon.

She covered all of a mother’s nature in that one unintentional poem.  Teaching and Protecting.

 

 

The Rules

Outside my window are children who are in the midst of deciding rules for their game.  Arguments have ensued.  I have been sick for 2 days this week.  I know they will resolve this and eventually play a complicated game of hide and seek that they understand and no one else does.

But everyday they seemed to spend at least 20 minutes arguing over the rules.  Children are very keenly aware of justice.  I think humans are born with an awareness of fairness.  Perhaps many animals are.  Remember being in grade school or younger and  how deeply an unfairness felt?  This is probably the most unfair thing the uncaring universe does to us.  Equip us with a sense of justice in a universe that is essentially indifferent to justice.

The absolute unfairness of the universe has not yet been taught to children. They tattle to any figure of authority that is within their reach because telling the injustice feels like it will resolve it.  Perhaps the unknowable universe will resolve itself and make this injustice go away.  But of course it doesn’t.

Of course, our innate sense of justice is what led to society working.  To the rules and laws that make a civilization work.  But it does warp itself as society gets bigger and more complex.    And as we grow up and realize that justice is only fleeting and rarely applied.  You could almost apply the rule of speeding tickets to all of life.  How often do you speed?  How often do you get a ticket?  One begins to think the injustice is when justice actually targets you.

But the reality is that the universe is indifferent to justice or fairness.  You get a speeding ticket or cancer, not because you did or did not deserve it, but just because the universe is random.  Which feels so unfair, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Cold Snap

Like large portions of the US, we are about to have a deep cold snap after a bit of warmth, relatively speaking.  ie – warmth is above 32 and raining instead of snowing.

The problem, of course is that this will be followed by subzero weather – so ice.  Lots of cold and ice.

I work for a transportation company, so weather and road conditions are of paramount importance to us

But I find that our company’s obsession is nothing to a woman whose blog I follow.  She’s a farmer.  When it’s cold the water freezes.  She ends up carrying 100 gallons of water to her animals.  And because her farm, not unlike many farms, extends over quite an acreage with many buildings, it means she is hauling water over quite a damn distance in sub zero weather, plus wind, plus that icy layer caused by the warm rain today.  She is constantly in a worry that all the animals will be able find sufficient shelter and warmth in these conditions.  Because animals often die these conditions.

My maternal family is deeply farm embedded.  Even today people I am related to own thousands of acres in Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.  That blood is clear in me that I cannot help but follow farm blogs despite it having only the remotest relationship to my actual lived life.

So I find that rather than worrying about my drive to work, I’m worrying about whether her pigs, or ducks, or cows are going to be OK.  They probably will be.  She’s very focused on planning for their benefit.  But what is heartbreaking for everyone is that sometimes, planning and effort aren’t enough.  Sometimes the weather is just bigger than your efforts.  And farmers face this all winter.  Indeed, all year.