Enough Already!

I had a conversation with a friend back in Yellowstone the other day.  I wanted to catch up with her, of course, but — honestly — I mostly just wanted to see how things were going back in paradise.  And how are things going?  Record numbers.  Not just crowded, but the busiest month the park has seen…ever.  And that is before the “busy season” starts!

I might miss the wolves and bears, and all the back country shenanigans that were my form of relaxation, but the crowds this summer are going to be biblical.  Honestly, I’d rather have the plague of locusts than the even-more-record numbers that are going to be filling the park in July and August.

I’d make a joke about how I hope the bears eat well, but some folks have a tendency to take me far too literally for that!  No, I don’t want a grizzly to eat a camper — do you have any idea how high in cholesterol American campers are?!  The poor bear would have a coronary!

Ahem.

Speaking of record numbers, and of people just wanting to be out and about again…

Can we be done with this shit already?  No, really…can the damned pandemic just be done?  Let’s do a Vietnam War thing and just declare victory and go home.  I know, I know, things are relaxing, and a lot of the nuttiness is being pushed aside.

A lot, but not all.

What’s funny is that the things that really did/do better against COVID are what are gone — or at least going — but the what remains, and may never leave, are the silly things that are far more performative than they are legitimately effective.

What is saddest is that these are the things that are probably going to stick with us when full “normalcy” returns.  Good lord, every time I see one of those stupid plexiglass shields in a store or restaurant, I want to go all QAnon and just start screaming incoherently…and don’t even get me started on the damned temperature sensors!

Yeah, I’m vaccinated…and I want the old world back!  I want to be able to party at a waterfront bar on Hvar!  I want to be able to be all superior and condescending to lost tourists in the Roman Forum!  I want to be able to sail along the Amalfi Coast!  Hell, I’ll even let a French waiter be all superior and rude to me — without telling him I understand every damned thing he’s muttering under his breath — if that means I can drink wine in small Provençal villages!*  And don’t even get me started on the places I’ve never been!  I want to be able to see a baobob tree!  I want to be able to experience the steppes of Mongolia!  I want to be able to explore Egypt and Iran and Cappadocia and all the other places that were as ancient to Rome as Rome is to us!

Harrumph!!

*A bit of unrequested travel advice for everyone: when planning a trip abroad, you could do a lot worse than plan your visit around staying in towns of no more than ten thousand folks.  Preferably fewer than five thousand, actually.  You will not regret it.  Just trust me on that one.

I read in an article a while back the theory that once you relax all of the pandemic-related restrictions and regulations, you will never again be able to re-implement them.  That I believe whole-heartedly.  People are done with the restrictions and, once those finally disappear, no one will accept them again.  At least, not without a Monty Python-level pandemic.  Honestly, I’d have to say the odds of getting me to self-quarantine once again are roughly the same as the odds of me starting for the LA Lakers…

p.s.

Random bit of insight for you — here is what I have in the back of my mind when I say that I miss living on the water:

And here is what I get:

And, yes, hyperbole is fun!

Epidemic Microfiction: Ghost Town

I’ll just let this one stand without explanation:

Ghost Town

They sat there, inert and dead, metallic cysts erupting from the crumbling asphalt.  The rust was there, already, and the cobwebs.  A deer poked her head from behind one as I passed, curious if I was fried or foe.

A call in the middling distance, the chittering of squirrels.  Of voices and humanity there were none.  No sound, no evidence.  Nothing.

I was hungry.  I had no food, and little water, but I was hungry.  You had to keep moving if you were hungry, had to find the food that may be lurking ahead…had to, even more, keep ahead of the greater hunger coming behind you.

The creak of fading hinges and a door winked like some obscene blind eye in the building ahead of me.  It hung crazily on its remaining hinge, clinging desperately to life with a last, futile fingernail.

I went to ease it open, then.  I went to enter, then I saw the sign.  “We’re closed for the health of our employees” it said, the paper sun-bleached and rotting.  I turned and returned to the street, started to walk again.

A newspaper fluttered by, the words faded and barely legible.  It could change nothing — certainly not for me — but from curiosity I chased it down in the failing breeze.  “…open by Easter…” the words said.  That was all I could read, but it was enough.

I cursed and threw it aside, returned to my slow walk down that street, listening for any sound of life.

Keep Them Wheels Greased!

“The corona virus is a hoax.”

“It’s just a cold.  The media is blowing this out of proportion.”

“It’s only the old and sick at risk.  Everyone else is fine.”

To those who spout those little tidbits of “wisdom” — along with the (literally) dozens of other headlines, quotes, and hot-takes that I didn’t type here — all I have to say is this: kiss my quarantined ass.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m pissed off.

I’m pissed off for several reasons; for the willful blindness inflicting so many supposedly intelligent people; for the red- and blue-team politics turning this thing into a full-blown clown-shoes-level farce; for the self-centered hypocrisy lying at the heart of US society.  But, mostly, I’m pissed off at the callous, immoral and deeply irresponsible short-termism of those who insist “business as usual” is the best way to get this through this thing.2hhhnd

I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating: kiss my ass!

It is not business as usual.  It is not a hoax.  It is not the liberal third of the country enacting some grand conspiracy to “get” Trump and the conservative third.  Nor is it “in the minds” of those affected and at-risk.  It is not a cold, it is not the flu.  No more, of course, than it is the “judgment of God for our sick depravity” as I have heard it described.

It’s a virus.  A nasty, mean one, yes, but a completely natural virus.

Humanity has faced countless viruses and diseases throughout our history.  Well over a third of Europe died to the bubonic plague…millions died to the Spanish influenza…millions were killed or maimed by polio…billions have been killed by dysentery…*

*Thomas Malthus, by the way, is laughing his ass off in his grave right now, in between bouts of shaking his finger and ghost-shouting, “I goddamned well told you so!”.**

**Yeah, that Malthus.  Google it, for chrissake.

The entire town of Gardiner, Montana is closed at this point.  Yellowstone might as well be.  Is my work closed?  Of course not.  Someone has to be there to receive those pallets of cheap mugs and plastic bison manufactured by Chinese slave labor…

Someone has to deal with the drivers who have been to 50 warehouses in four states over the last three days…

Someone has to “keep the economy running”…

Yep, that someone is me.  Me and the two over-60 ladies that are the heart of my warehouse crew.

Oh, but wait…I’ve now had two people (one visitor and one regular) be required by the state to go test for COVID-19!

Should we, maybe, you know, shut down for a few days?  Should we maybe, you know, live up to the organizational “value” of taking care of our staff members?  Should we maybe, you know, treat the staff like the “heart of what we do” like all the HR notices say at the top?

Fuck no!

Keep them wheels of commerce running!

Your concerns are noted, now get your ass back to work!

And, yes, I am quarantined this weekend due to possible exposure.  Since, however, I am the only one able to go to work on Monday, I have to.zimg_001_1

Someone has to keep them wheels greased with bloody mucus, after all.

But it’s all a hoax.  It’s just a cold, turned into some plot to bring down the current government…

I might live in paradise, but my work is a satire of epic fucking proportions.

Ain’t life grand?

P.S.

Either the same earpiece on every single set of buds I have is going bad at the same time, or playing the music a bit too — ahem — “enthusiastically” in my ears is starting to catch up with me.

Well, shit.

 

P.P.S.

Random song because it kinda fits — oh, and don’t skip over it like you usually do.  Listen to it…and listen, especially, to the words…