Several times a day I check the Washington State Coronavirus stats, looking and hoping for single digits in the deaths category. Really, zero would be great. The numbers are declining and things are opening up. Still, places one can surf on the North Olympic coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, even if surf does magically appear (and it’s always magic), are even more limited than usual. If you venture to Highway 112 you will be greeted with an official road sign with a message that says, not “Local Traffic Only,” but “Locals Only.”
SOCIAL DISTANCING has been working. I wasn’t an instant convert, but I am enough of a convert that I get annoyed when I see people cruising around in stores seemingly unconcerned about how close they get to others and without (at least) masks. This is arrogant and irresponsible, and says “I don’t care about you and whether you live or die.” People who refuse to wear masks don’t, evidently, realize that the masks are not to protect them, but to protect others from them.
Add possibly dangerous and stupid to arrogant and irresponsible. Now, unfortunately, one characteristic of stupidness is an inability to realize one is stupid, as in actually saying, “A lot of folks are saying this is all a hoax.”
A certain sense of entitlement and self-righteousness and a quickness to anger might be others. Might be.
Yeah, I know. I don’t feel entitled or self-righteous; I’ve broken and/or not lived up to protective protocol, I’m not trying to sound preachy, I am trying to PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING; but, being competitive by nature, I might want to go pro level. SIX FEET. Back the fuck up!
MEANWHILE, here’s my latest contribution to the Quilcene Newsletter.
“WHAT’S YOUR HURRY?” AND OTHER QUESTIONS FROM THE UNIVERSE
Many of us have a certain work ethic; we place a high value on work. Work first. Perhaps you have been described as someone who lives to work, a workaholic. I have. Not wrongly; it’s long (if fifty years of working is long) been my policy (sometimes stated) to try to do, say, five days work in three.
This requires a certain optimism. “All I have to do to paint this house is bleach, wash, cut back plants, mask windows, put out dropcloths, mix paint, etc. etc. etc.”
I could say youthful optimism. The difference fifty years makes is the increased difficulty one has in self-generating this same enthusiasm. “Oh, man; in order to paint this house I’ll have to…” It’s the same list.
All the little things that slowed the ahead-of-schedule schedule: Broken equipment, wrong-color of paint, rain squalls, etcetera; were irritating setbacks, not, as I once perceived them to be, little hints and shoves and roadblocks from The Universe meant to give me a bit of a handicap, because, otherwise, everything going to plan, I’d be wailing out the jobs, making real money.
Now, of course, I have age and cranky joints as real handicaps, and, thank you Universe, I still have many of the previously mentioned issues. Not all at once, of course.
BUT WAIT, in the NEW NOW we have new issues. Work is something many are not allowed to do; at least not the old version of work. I’m not retired, I have some work, and I have an overwhelming list of things I can do around the house, but, if the current situation is something like retirement…
Okay. Okay. I’m okay. Actually, I am kind of annoyed with myself because my best excuse, which used to be that I’m too busy working or we don’t have the money (because I’m not busy working), is, in the NEW NOW, “What’s the hurry?”
If questioned, I refer back to the Universe, possibly having to add that I have my own ideas on what I’m referring to as The Universe, but in no way do I want to keep anyone from having his or her own.
I do have a few grievances: I am annoyed by the spread of overly sentimental news stories (not the ones about good people dying) about how together we all are. Really? Maybe back when one’s personal space was somewhat less than six feet, back when the look in someone’s eye was mild tension rather than abject fear that another human being might come in for a hug. Fistbump? No. Kiss? Mace. If the message of togetherness is actually an advertisement, double the annoyance.
You are also, possibly, less than thrilled to watch comedians and singers and reporters and pretty much anybody who is coming to us live (or recorded) on any screen, from a basement or back porch or private luxury yacht.
Here’s something: Every month Bob lets me know that I’ve gone past the official deadline for submitting something for this very newsletter. Here it is… let me check… April 30, 2020… wow, I thought it is the twenty-eighth… Thursday? Good. No call, no text, no email from Bob. I called him. Left a voicemail. He, so far, hasn’t returned my call. I mean, whoa; is he all that busy?
It’s okay; I’m writing one anyway. Work ethic. Still, it’s shorter than usual. Stay safe and you might not die. Yet. See? Not sticky, gooey, sugary, oversentimental.
Here’s BONUS material, written by me, alone, at my computer: I’ve been thinking about some future when some random COVID 19 SURVIVOR (and they’ll all being wearing hats thusly labeled, inside their bubble headgear) says, “Yeah, man; at the concerts, back in those days, we’d be watching the groupies on the side of the stage while the bands played; and we’d crowd down into the mosh pit and just get so crazy…”
Concerts? Groupies? Bands? Crowd? Mosh Pit? Crazy.
Stay safe, stay back, save lives.