There are a lot of things to hate about the freaking coronavirus — the way it is destroying the economy, taking some lives and wrecking others. The sheer randomness of it is maddening.
Right now I am preparing to go to Acme. I will not touch the buttons in the garage elevator, I will wear rubberized gloves when driving and latex gloves under them when pushing the cart and selecting the items. I will stand near no one, but will pass some people in the aisles within 6 feet. I bag my own groceries and slide my credit card in the reader with it being touched by no one. I will ditch the latex gloves in the parking lot.
> It is now 2 hours later. Acme set aside 7-9 a.m. for people over 60, the people at most risk, to shop in smaller crowds. I got there at 6:55 a.m. and waited outside with 20 people, one-quarter of them were 20-40.
When the doors opened at 7, I asked the assistant manager if he noticed “all the really young-looking 60-year-olds”?
“They may have immune issues,” he said, and I gave him a really long Larry David look because we both knew he was lying. It just wasn’t worth it to enforce the rules the store itself had made.
Two of the things wrong with our society: 1) Selfish, self-centered lice who break the rules. 2) No one with the nerve to enforce them. A society that won’t enforce its own rules, its own norms, is heading to chaos — and in these times when people are arming up, chaos can be catastrophic.
At the Acme, with all the precautions I had taken, I still might catch the virus, while the jackass kids who partied in Clearwater and South Padre Island might get a pass. The athletes we are learning have it are the lucky ones — they caught it before we knew about it, and given their age, health and wealth, they can withstand it.
I wrote the other day that your best friend can be the carrier who gives it to you, and that’s true. I recommend you avoid your friends, but I am not taking my own advice. I will take precautions.
World War III, which is what we are in, a war against the virus, will change us. We are now a nation at arm’s length.
We will come out of this a changed nation, a poorer nation.
Will that mean the government will provide more, or less, “free stuff,” as Bernie Sanders’ critics might put it?
That is something I will handle in my next column. In this one, I want to take on cultural shifts.
The Inquirer newsroom, where I used to work, is empty. People are working from home. Half-Pint works for a financial services firm and everyone is working from home. Pretty much everyone in service sector can work remotely, and we are much more of a service economy than a manufacturing economy, sad to say.
Why sad? Because we were better off when we manufactured things other than excuses.
Maybe that’s just me.
TV network shows are being staged in remote locations with producers and staff in front of keyboards elsewhere.
Students are having “classes” on the internet — and that could open the door to lower costs for colleges. One prof can lecture 1,000 students at a time, meaning fewer teachers will be necessary.
People are “going to the doctor” over the phone. We long ago lost doctors’ visits to homes. Maybe we now lose going to their office, except on rare occasions.
People in the other kind of service industry, those who serve customers in stores and restaurants, most of them are laid off, and their customers are learning to order food by phone and having it brought to them.
We may decide we like that better than eating out except on special occasions.
Amazon was way ahead of the curve and has paved a path for more and more home delivery.
With bars and clubs closed, more people are going to the internet to find possible dates or mates.
But how do you date when under lockdown, wear a head-to-toe condom?
Maybe the spring break crowd will let me know.