Sunday, March 29, 2020

Apocalypse Weekend

Start the week with Coronavirus! Happy Day! I took these pictures Saturday morning on my usual Rusty walk around Old Town. In an effort to reduce crowds and the possibility of gathering and spreading the virus more spaces are now closed. Including Simonton Beach. A couple of days earlier Rusty rolled in the sand and I took a picture across the water...Now it's all closed off.
I fear the next apparently inevitable step in the process which is a total lockdown, stay at home order. My buddy Giovanni in Italy, a cardiologist in Terni, sent me an e-mail describing his life at home and he is not a fan of sitting still and enjoying inner contemplation. His private practice has dried up to almost nothing, and aside from making less money he has nothing to do all day...and that freaks him out. Of an evening after a day of listening to hearts at the public hospital and an afternoon of doing it in his private office next to his home he likes to take a walk around downtown, looking in the shop windows, admiring passersby and chatting aimlessly with friends.  All we can do now he writes is take a walk around the block. The despair in his tone is palpable after three weeks of lockdown.
In terms of my daily life my routines have hardly changed this despite my wife's self imposed quarantine for the last couple of weeks. Of course I am fed up taking a bleach spray to work, I've largely given up dodging people at the market and we are relaying on our supplies at home of which we have plenty, and socializing is done by electron. As long as Rusty and I can keep walking, as long as my camera doesn't break, I'm fine thanks. Not hard to be in this perfect summery climate, daily swims in the canal and miles of empty mangrove trails all to myself! I don't go to bars but I share these sentiments:
So far, somehow, Florida isn't in the headlines for rate of infection. In the headlines I see Detroit New Orleans growing in numbers alongside Washington California and the New York area. At the same time Florida's Republican governor has come under all sorts of fire. I don't really feel like he deserves it, even though mine seems to be the minority view. He has been attacked for not shutting down beaches soon enough which is a fair criticism but it was early days for most Americans who hardly seem to have noticed what's going on ahead in the development of this pandemic. With the beaches shut down at last Governor DeSantis was stuck with a flow of New Yorkers understandably fleeing the epicenter of sickness and coming back to their winter homes in Florida. And the bystanders laid into him for that. This is the second time I've seen this group of cyclists riding around the city ignoring social distancing guidelines.
It's this kind of thoughtlessness that pushes governments into draconian measures to protect us from ourselves.  In Britain where the Prime Minister has come down with the disease social distancing was going so broadly ignored by everybody that have had to institute an official lock down. When I walk Rusty I touch nothing, I avoid people and I avoid anything that could put me close to anyone. My sunset walks are alone on trails I've been walking for decades and to have this time with my dog and my camera taken away would really start to piss me off.
Bit of a first world problem when faced with drowning from the worst 'flu epidemic seen in the past century. I just feel that some restraint and thoughtfulness will help us get through this without having ti worry too much about government intervention. If you understand the need for social distancing and how it works you don't need to be nagged to do as you are told by the cops. People have been gathering in groups to watch the sunset through this crisis. They closed Mallory Square to prevent people from bunching. So what did they do? They bunched on the White Street Pier and Higgs Beach. Guess what?
Like so many of us I wonder how we are going to ever get out of this situation. They call it an "exit plan," which no one has a clue about. As usual I watch our friends in Europe who  are deeper into this than us. In Italy one town at the center of the epidemic tried to ease restrictions and the damned virus sprang up again. In Hong Kong they called back government office workers from working at home and as soon as they did the virus came back. I do not envy our leaders struggling to deal with this new problem. I understand the President facing re-election wants to get back to normal but I don't see Easter as a target date. More like the height of infection maybe. I caught a poor quality photo of this guy speeding back to Stock Island with his loot. Paper towels! Yay!
I see people Up North hunkering down in heavy coats and woolen beanies social distancing between snowdrifts and my issue is what time do I want to take a dip in the canal to refresh myself. I talk to people abandoned by their wealthy bosses to fend for themselves and I have a job with the most supportive organization in Key West. Small businesses are struggling to keep their people working, facing the possibility of falling between the cracks and not getting any support from the Feds. So I figured what the hell. I am going to post a few unrelated pictures of things I saw on Duval, colors shapes and unconsidered trifles I had time and peace and quiet t look for on our walk yesterday morning. Nothing to do with the virus directly.

I hope the pictures make up for my coronavirus grumblings.