The final straw came rather suddenly.
I’d just spent an hour navigating one way grocery aisles, doing my best not to get close to others, the wild eyed ones especially, as they can be unpredictable. “No ma’am, I’m not trying to give you Covid, I merely want some tomatoes and your cart is in the way.” Of course I can’t communicate this effectively with my stupid,
muzzle mask garbling the words and hiding my kind expression.
As I move up the now routine mile long checkout line I notice the cashier power washing the conveyer belt as if covered in raw sewage. Wouldn’t it be ironic if conveyer belts soaked with sanitizer chemicals turned out to be more dangerous for us to put grocery items on than the Covid germs they are deployed to destroy?
So there I stood, rather appropriately on my red social distancing marker, while fiddling with my mask when something inside me broke. I just can’t do this Coronavirus Kabuki Dance any longer. The ever growing list of nonsensical mandates is to accomplish what, slowing the spread of infection? Eliminating infections all together?
Has anyone on the planet ever gotten a virus from a contaminated grocery item? And do people walking past each other really pose any kind of a threat? Why would it make a difference if they’re going in the same direction or not? And if masks are so effective why bother with distancing at all?
Questions like that hurt my brain hurt, so I switch it off and put on my happy face for the cashier, hidden of course behind my mask.
On my way out, a nice young employee who surely was sporting a wide toothy grin behind his store branded mask gently informed me I was heading out the wrong exit, as this was for incoming patrons only and I needed to go to the other side of the store where the correct outgoing one was located.
Garnering every ounce of my being to stop myself from slapping the man to the ground, I mumbled an apology through gritted teeth as I turned to walk the other way, eyes spinning wildly above my now grossly wet mask.
Really, how long are we going to keep doing this? Until a vaccine comes out? Do people understand this might be never? Or, at the very earliest, perhaps January of 2021, plus the several added months needed to
force it upon administer it to 300+million people? Quick, raise your hand if you’d like to be first in line to try an unproven vaccine that was rushed to market?
What’s really going on here? We’ve turned life completely upside down for a virus whose survival rate for most people is over 99%. For those that do get sick, there are good treatments available and hospitals around the country have been reinforced to handle surges of critical cases. We also know primarily who this virus effects most seriously, but instead of devoting resources and brain power towards protecting them, we get sledgehammer mandates that treat all of us as if we face the same risk.
At the same time we’ve institutionalized fear and suspicion of others with policies that incentivize being scared of your neighbor for bad coronavirus behavior. Surely you’ve noticed people jostling to cross the street as you walk by, their panic palpable at being near someone outside their “circle”; someone, God forbid, who isn’t wearing a mask!
A smile used to convey friendliness; now it’s considered a threat because if it can be seen that means that person is not wearing a mask, which is very bad coronavirus behavior. On the flip side, wearing a mask prevents the internal wiring in others from properly determining danger as someone approaches. A smile signals good will, but since it’s hidden, the brain defaults to high threat alert.
Facial masks are dehumanizing really and condition people to accept as ok a government mandate to hide a central part of their identity. Makes me wonder what else does this open the door for?
We also continually hear how important it is for people to keep their distance from others, which implies that human closeness is wrong and that participating in things where others will be present like church, going out to dinner and family gatherings is irresponsible. We’ve basically taken away all the essential ingredients needed for healthy, human relationships to thrive.
I’m sorry but none of this is normal and I’m sick of pretending that it will make a difference in stopping the virus from doing what viruses always do, which is infect people until enough become immune and it runs out of viable hosts. Until this happens, whether through natural herd immunity or vaccine induced, we are going to have to learn how to do life with Covid-19.
And not this zombie like existence either, with many businesses still shut down, no concerts or sporting events, limited travel and a decimated performing arts industry. It’s time to fully open things up and start living as human beings again.
Would this risk an increase Covid cases and deaths? Yes, without a doubt, but living life devoid of all the things that make it pleasurable is merely existing, which is seriously damaging in ways we haven’t begun to scratch the surface on.
We can still have some distancing policies in place and mask wearing where it makes sense, but on the whole people need to make their own decisions on how fully they would want to participate based on own their own personal health situations. Gobs of stimulus money could also be diverted towards virus protection for those that need it.
We will never be allowed to do this though. You can be sure that as infections rise and calls to re-lock down the economy grow louder, government officials already drunk with power will do just that. The fear of getting Covid and the continual drumbeat of panic by the media has created a learned helplessness in people which practically begs a strong government authority to take over.
How can I look at those driving alone with masks on and think otherwise?
Fear, isolation, suspicion of others, dwindling civil liberties, an increasingly strong and powerful state, high unemployment, sky rocketing suicide and addiction levels, unsustainable government debt; The virus I would argue is the least of our worries.
It’s our response to it that keeps me up at night.