Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Struggle To Be Real

Police officers came by dispatch to mark the end of National Telecommunicators Week and as is the way now they respectfully kept the glass between us and them as you can see. Frankly I haven't felt terribly deserving of accolades because, aside from tedious virus precautions, life goes on pretty much as normal inside our communications center. People screw up or see others screwing up, their bodies give out or they hurt themselves so they call. All is as it should be for us. To be one of the people meeting the public in person seems much more heroic to me these days more than usual. It was a good moment though to have a laugh shared through glass.
Coronavirus has shown us rather starkly what it is to be human and to live among others.  I find it heartening that consensus in the Keys seems to be inclined toward just doing what needs to be done without too much chaffing or fuss. Face masks are the order of the day and as annoying and uncomfortable as they are you won't see anyone try to go into a store without one. 
 It is weird standing in line in civilized fashion and I rather like it. There is a serenity in taking your place on the ridiculous discs on the floor, or keeping behind the line of tape like you are at passport control at the airport.  Everyone seems grown up and thoughtful about it it around here.
I did laugh when I came across the odd forgetful soul, who like me has to ponder choices on our overburdened shelves. Too many choices. These days I force myself to remember to stand close as though my glasses don't work and I am shortsighted. It is hard, as you can see, to overcome the habits of a lifetime. On the other hadn't it is rather nice to be compelled to slow down and wait while the scofflaw, pour soul, gathers his thoughts and pulls to one side. I don't see these acts of public patience lasting too long after the barriers come down.
Publix is the other useful stop to pick up the odds and ends I forgot or couldn't find at Winn Dixie which reserves two hours a week for first responders which is very helpful. I hate doing all the grocery shopping as I feel the burden of decision making for a woman who knows her ingredients and likes to cook. My wife with the damaged immune system has been at home since the Ides of March and grocery shopping is one irreplaceable activity she misses most. Especially as I am so crap at it.
 I saw another type of scofflaw at Publix, people pushing the wrong way down the carefully marked one way system, ignoring social distances, reaching and grabbing as though the reticent among us are somehow socially inept. I watched Mr and Mrs Imbecile wrapped in their patriotic Stars and Stripes masks lunge and shove the slower among the shoppers to get what they needed right now. I am not by inclination a rule breaker especially when I see value in the rule in question and one way traffic in a grocery store is effective and simple and smart. And if you have to walk a bit further just count that as part of your at home exercise regimen. Nor everyone is ready to be required to walk in a certain direction, more's the pity. 
I ask myself what will happen when the restrictions are eased. I like to think we are, most of us, on the fence about what happens next and when. On the one hand I admit I enjoy the culture that requires us to question everything. Personally I could use a bit more knowledge and science in a lot of the replies we seek but I find the European acceptance of all orders a bit too meek. Like everything else with this wretched virus no one seems to know, or be able to communicate, much knowledge about the illness we all face, and in place of certainty idiocy is ready to raise its head. That lack of knowledge gives dissent a certain legitimacy but also a tinfoil hat madness at the same time. It seems bizarre to me to worry about constitutional rights in the face of a public health threat. Japanese Americans were treated disgracefully in 1942 but after the conflict they were not imprisoned for the rest of their lives and I doubt lock down orders will become permanent and unconstitutional. If they are I will join you on the barricades just as I supported compensation for the "interned" Japanese Americans when the offer was made fifty years too late. I find the tin foil hat brigade baffling when they talk of freedom and express themselves thusly not with ideas but guns. I'd rather listen to the scientists thanks when it comes to public health:
 Aside from the fact less than a thousand people have been tested in the Keys, I can't understand why we don't see more than a handful of hospitalizations, and  no great wave of symptoms ravaging these islands. It's not that I want it, obviously, but the absence of great crowds of people coming down with coronavirus has me puzzled because we know social distancing has been hit or miss all the way through this lockdown. Should we then ignore rules enacted for our own good? Or do we assume our leaders have suddenly become power crazed maniacs?
Ease restrictions? Sure we are all ready for summer, and I know I am. I have a job, my wife works from home but others aren't nearly so lucky. But even if the gym re-opens and I miss Bodyzone every day and the people I met there, will I be ready to give it a go and mix up my breath with that of my neighbors? None of us knows who has it or has had it or who may be vulnerable to it. Perhaps the gun toting militias Up North are right and we should do as we want when we want to, but if they are wrong this may just be the first round of socially inept responses to a disease that manages to hide its intentions all too well from us mere humans.
However taking Rusty for a walk is a damned fine way to end any day, heroically spent or not.