Friday, September 4, 2020

Public Breaths

The headlines I read have moved on from coronavirus coverage to other things. With two months to go as we approach a pivotal general election I suppose that's hardly surprising unless you are related to any of the 180,000 Americans who have died so far at the hands of the virus. Not to mention the survivors who are dealing with the several side effects attributed to coronavirus, the neurological problems, muscular weakness and so forth.

The rule in Key West is wear a mask. The only times you don't get to wear a mask is at home or when actually eating or drinking in a restaurant. Bars are closed by state order. And yet even when I set our in the early morning hours. five out of six people weren't wearing masks. I asked one guy why not and he said because no one's around. Oh I said, I guess I'm no one.
Bars may be closed by state order but I guess tasting rooms aren't. Sell food and you are more than a bar and can open, or I guess be a tasing room and you can taste alcohol. The issue comes down to an attitude. Mask wearing is an activity reluctantly agreed to and its not a decision entered into by most people who understand this is the best way to vanquish this wretched pandemic. As long as most people are looking fro ways to a void wearing a mask we can't do much about it.
The city s trying to enforce the requirement but its being treated as a speed limit that is too slow for the road conditions and as long as most people ignore it the net result is mask use is spotty and thus unlikely to do much good in terms of slowing the spread. I guess the hope has to be that tourists will take whatever infection they have or pick up and go home with it. Which to my way of thinking is pretty crappy. We really are not in this together.
I feel like a thief in the night, walking the streets not as I used to just for fun but now I take these pre dawn walks to snatch a moment in the city, to take back my streets and my photos from the unmasked hordes. My wife and I have been locked down since March 15th and it seems stupid to not hold out for a vaccine at this point. I wish masks were second nature, social distancing obvious and hand washing something everyone believed in as a matter of course. 
The last message I got from the Centers For Disease Control was to avoid sitting in a. room with strangers, as in avoiding restaurants, and not to fly in commercial aircraft. But virus fatigue has se in and the lessons on 1918 are lost and have bene lost for a while. Now we see people gathering to protest and masks as we have seen are no deterrent to gunfire. I feel in many ways that 2020 is replicating a combination of 1918 and 1968 all rolled into one. Fantastic and besides all that we have no certainty a simple calendar date will turn it all around. With only three months to go till the first snows drive people south I wonder how winter in Key West will unfold.  From a distance the social niceties are interesting but when you live them up close they become irritating and unnerving even. 
Fantasy Fest is canceled but will attractions re-open? Will cruise ships return? Will winter residents, elderly many fo them and infirm site a few of them, hunger to sit in restaurants and risk infection for a plate of elaborate food and conversation?  I will be watching and wondering and asking myself why I feel so alone in my social distancing.