Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Circle Closes

Its happening to all of us so it hardly seems worth noting here. The governor was compelled to close the beaches thanks to the social stupidity of lots of people clumped on the sand in full view of cameras. I like Governor DeSantis overall, he seems like a commonsense sort of politician, not perfect but a bit of the old school of the stamp of Governor Bob Graham or Lawton Chiles. The trouble is the beaches were overrun by people not paying attention and now they are closed and the tourists are being sent home. That is a message that Florida is no longer open for tourism business.
I saw a huge herd of cars parked near the Sugarloaf Jumping Bridge so I assume young people were gathered sharing alcohol and Covid-19 ready take home the virus this weekend when all lodging in the Keys closes for the foreseeable. All restaurants are now limited to take out or delivery everywhere. Our small local gym on Cudjoe had to close too and that bummed me out.
My wife and I visited in the early hours, alone and worked out together but that is  now banned.  My wife is getting cabin fever as her immune system keeps her strictly homebound.
I have reached a point where when I watch a show on streaming TV I get antsy when characters shake hands or meet in a crowded restaurant. We live the new normal. I saw pictures of the Upper Peninsula and the first day of spring: streets were covered in snow. Good luck hunkering there. At least I have 80 degree days to hunker in.
A few days ago at dawn in Key West I met this guy, below, who came up to me in my Hawaiian shirt camera round my neck, in my tourist disguise so he started off babbling about being born and raised here like that gave him extra credibility. Nice guy but he really wanted to talk, needed to talk and I listened. I don't think the gravity of infection quite struck him as he kept comparing the situation to a hurricane which sounded a little naive to me.  But we all find our reassurance where we can.
Further afield I think the virus scare is taking hold and the preponderance of social media comments is now in favor of isolation and keeping the curve low and containment and all those catch phrases. I hope it's all not too late. I read that the first 100,000 reported cases took three months to develop and the second hundred thousand took 12 days. Exponential math and we still have no testing. 
I fear the future but I am enjoying the present. Sunshine, cool breezes, a happy dog, a wife content in the kitchen working to learn cooking tools she will use in the van when we retire... Water flows from the faucets, electricity is keeping us cool and entertained, the internet keeps us connected. Not a bad life for us government workers.
We have been isolated for five days and apparently the school district will eventually resume with distance learning using technology.  And the pay will keep coming, thank heavens. For hospitality workers the future looks a lot less secure, but it is becoming apparent that if we lose all our workers to unemployment these islands will have a hard time functioning after this is over.  Hoping it will be over this summer or sooner employers are struggling to keep workers occupied. 
It feels good to walk around Key West even if I only ever see the town when no one is on the streets.  Sustaining normal every day life is not easy, not even to keep a semblance of what we usually do. 
I saw delivery trucks earlier this week but the funny part is the stores can't keep toilet paper on the shelves. People reportedly line up to be first in the store to run to the toilet paper aisles and stock up. Black Friday every day.  I have tons of toilet paper in the house to carry us well into next week. After that I keep in mind Webb Chiles' image of  sailing while reading paper books faster than you need to tear out the pages. Of all the necessities it seems to me toilet paper is the easiest to substitute, except among our neighbors who lack imagination apparently.
Animal shelters are pushing this as a good time to adopt. I never regret having Rusty in my life. Less than ever now, a constant source of joy. Plus he is immune to Covid-19. Every advantage at long last in his young, abused life. More than ever going for a walk means a lot to both of us.