Recovery

Building on my last post, I wanted to share more about the small but welcome improvements in the SF area. California adopted the 4-tier system of restrictions relating to the pandemic. If your state doesn’t have it, it’s pretty simple. Each tier has it’s own level of restrictions, what can/can’t open, etc. We have purple, red, orange, & yellow; purple being the most severe and yellow being the least. It makes it easier for counties and cities to better manage local health orders and restrictions.

Of course, SF being a very dense environment, even when we move into a higher tier we tend to have some lingering tougher restrictions. While unfortunate, it is necessary to avoid a resurgence of cases. And seeing surges in pretty much the entire middle of the US, we are grateful for the slow but steady improvements. SF has officially moved into the orange tier and our ‘rt’ ratio is hovering just below 1.1  Hopefully, we can stay in the orange and yellow tiers.  *crossed fingers*

Indoor bars, theaters, and larger social establishments are still closed. (I don’t understand why theaters can’t open if gyms can, but I don’t make the rules.) Restaurants have been able to serve outdoor seating for awhile now. Some bars have paired up with restaurants to gain an allowance to open outdoors as well. Now that SF is in the orange tier, restaurants and retail shops can open indoor facilities in a limited capacity. For myself, I still avoid eating indoors. I am just not that confident in others. We tend to order for home more than going out to eat, but I try to adhere to my weekend rituals as much as I can.

Shawn and I have slowly been allowing ourselves to do more outside the apt. Meanwhile, I see people planning trips and going to far off places and I just shake my damn head. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that a lot of people don’t really give two-shits about others as long as they aren’t inconvenienced. But, I digress… I have restrictions that also affect my ability to work so even if I was more comfortable, I would still not be traveling.

I’ve been seeing and helping an elderly retired coworker since the beginning of the pandemic and every time I see him, I make sure to test negative for covid-19 beforehand. Before we could get tests, I would leave disinfected items outside his doorway or stairs. He is in a high risk category due to his age and I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed it on to him.2 Anyway, I’m getting upset thinking about it, let me move on.

Beyond the assistance to my dear friend above, we are just now reaching a point where we feel comfortable meeting people outdoors for meals or conversation. I say we, but it is more me. lol Shawn is still content to avoid people for the most part. He will probably be reticent until there is a viable vaccine. Even when to go to the gym, we usually go to a sparsely populated location with sign-ups well below the allowable limit.3 It has been good for him to get out of the apt more though. He was getting really depressed as well. I think the gym and the sporadic trips outside of the apt has helped him as much as it has me.

Of course, we miss traveling. We miss weekend jaunts to bars, beer busts, movies, etc. We miss visiting distant friends and places. We miss a lot of things. It sucks monkey balls, but we know by isolating we are helping to prevent the spread of covid-19. We are both hopeful a safe vaccine will be available sometime early next year. For myself, I doubt I’ll ever take for granted again the openness of our life. The simple freedom to hug friends, to kiss or touch others, to be close to people. I think the intimacy of strangers (if such a thing exists) is what I miss the most. The relaxed restrictions gives me hope we are on the right path. Until then, I hope you are safe and well.

  1. rt is the likelihood of retransmission from an infected person. Anything above 1 is considered not good. []
  2. or anyone for that matter. []
  3. You can see online how many slots are available and taken by the hour. []

True Colors

It has been disheartening to see people’s true colors during this pandemic. With the death of another friend recently, it has hit me much harder than expected seeing people I know, in varying degrees, routinely violating shelter in place (SIP) orders.

And don’t get it twisted, I’m not referring to the idiots protesting and opening churches, etc. Our media may focus on them for the sensationalism, but they are a tiny part of the whole. No, I’m mostly referring to people I feel a stronger connection to personally. I think the overall impact from seeing it in person and on social media has dented my belief in humanity. And you would think in my line of work I’d already be pretty jaded, but you would be wrong. I pride myself on knowing even the bulk of my work does not represent the majority of people. I work hard not to let it overwhelm my optimism.

And I don’t necessarily think of these people as bad. Most people aren’t “good” or “bad”. I’m fond of saying, “good people are capable of bad things and bad people are capable of good things.” But that doesn’t mean I necessarily want you in my life or affecting my personal bubble. And therein lies my bitch today. Having lost folks I know to the pandemic and almost lost others, on top of my work, this is a tangible and real threat to me. The outright indifference to the harm or even death they could cause is painful to witness. I’m certainly not perfect and this isn’t about painting myself as some holier-than-thou.

I’m keen on referring to our indifference as a society leading to our demise. I see people, who I think know better, being indifferent to the damage and harm they could cause. If I’m being open, it has cut me to my core in a way I didn’t expect. My own efforts to teach and spread awareness routinely fall on deaf ears and I’ve given up on that now. This ordeal has brought back some very old feelings of helplessness that plagued me for so long as a young man. I can’t tell you at this moment if that feeling or my own sense of right & wrong is the trigger. Either way, I can feel the bitter anger breaking mental connections I feel for various people.

Maybe I’m being petty right now, but I have already started purging these people from my own sphere of consciousness. Social media is easy, as you just make a few mouse clicks and their gone. In real life will be a different story. And it isn’t like I plan to be rude or attack these folks. I may not be perfect but I am better than that. They just won’t be someone I engage with anymore.

Even as I type this, I realize this is a first world problem. I am very fortunate and accept that with gratitude. Even with Shawn getting laid off, we are still in a good place. I’m also not referring to anyone forced to choose between staying home or putting food on their table by going to work. So many people out there are losing everything right now. These folks have nothing but my support and sympathy, but that makes the indifference I see in others that much worse in my eyes.

If you are reading this, I hope you are taking this threat seriously. I hope if you have little to fear, you still realize the impact you could have on others by inadvertently spreading it. And I hope you have the intestinal fortitude to realize you can be inconvenienced for a month or two for the safety of everyone around you. Your freedom shouldn’t come at the cost of someone else’s.

Can’t Fix Stupid

I have given up trying to encourage folks to overcome their entitlements and “know better” attitudes. And not just online, I’ve had interactions with friends and distant family alike who “know better” and plan to act accordingly. I can’t fix stupid so after this rant, I’m done.

COVID-19 is a novel1 virus we as a species have never been exposed to before. So unlike a lot of more common variations of Coronaviruses2, we do not have genetic, inherited, or even direct resistance to it. This creates a new risk factor that cannot yet be calculated. More importantly, it is showing a high level mutation factor. There are reports of blood types and certain genetic factors giving you some resistance but not immunity, but even those are still correlative right now.

Many states have implemented shelter-in-place orders. And unlike an order to quarantine under martial law, you can still go out for personal care and the care of those you are directly responsible for. You can walk and get out of the house for fresh air as long as you maintain social distance from anyone not already in your immediate household. You can shop for food and necessities. You can walk your pets. You can go to the bank, gas stations, convenient stores, laundry facilities, etc. You can still order food from restaurants, albeit to-go or delivery in most areas. On top of that, beyond the hoarding, the nation is not experiencing a food shortage.3 You are not in danger of starving, dehydration, or even doing without most day to day necessities. So in essence, you are being asked to inconvenience yourself. How terrible, right? /sarcasm

If you live in an area where you can get tested, great. If you ‘need’ to travel or interact with others who are considered high risk, you should get tested. If you aren’t, then you do not need testing without symptoms. More importantly, the test itself is only as good as your self-isolation. The moment you go out in public, touch surfaces, or interact closely with anyone, your test is no longer relevant. Self-isolation is meant to protect you as much, if not more, people who are at higher risk. Those being the elderly, immune-compromised, cancer patients, advanced cardiac or respiratory illness patients, diabetics, etc. You can have zero symptoms and inadvertently pass the virus onto them. You might not even get sick and still pass it on.

While there is no need to panic, there is good reason to be concerned and take precautions. There is zero reason to hoard or panic buy. There is no need to buy more than 2-3 weeks worth of necessities at a time. And Christ on a cracker, you do NOT need to wear a damn mask unless you are coughing, regardless of exposure! A regular face mask will not protect you in the slightest. An N95 mask is only as good as the seal it makes on you face, which most folks constantly touch and or fuss with. So again, not helpful. More importantly, by buying all the N95 masks, you are depriving the essential service personnel of these much needed items.

This entitlement idea that ‘your freedoms’ are being restricted is nonsense. First of all, “your” freedom is not guaranteed at the expense of everyone else. And you aren’t being enlisted to fight a war, jump on the front lines with police, fire, & medical staff, or even lift a finger. You are being asked to self-isolate by staying at home. You are literally being asked to do nothing. If you are so petty as to not overcome being inconvenienced, then you deserve whatever happens to you IMO.

Yes, you may have to cancel trips, weddings, family gatherings, etc. Yes, you may have to avoid loved ones who do not live in your immediate househould.4 Yes, you might not be able to go to the gym,5 bar, or sporting event. So in essence, you are being inconvenienced. The end.

Listen and live or be foolish, your choice. With the latter. the life you lose may not be your own.

  1. meaning: new []
  2. note, it is one word, not two []
  3. The distribution is being impacted from panic-buyers and hoarders, but there is no shortage. []
  4. If only we had some sort of technology to over come that isolation…like cellphones and video chats! []
  5. oh lawd I am sooo struggling with this one []