Sunday, June 14, 2020


The more that people think it's OK to go out in congested public settings without masks on, with the virus still rising, the less I think it's OK to venture out at all. Even surviving the virus turns out to be grim, and I'd just rather not get it.

Remember that you don't wear the mask to protect yourself, but to protect other people. To venture near them without one amounts to assault. They talk about "freedom," but it's an old line that the freedom to swing your fist stops before it gets to the other guy's face, and similarly there's no freedom to breathe virus on them.

The stores I've been to - mostly groceries and take-out food - require masks, but they don't always enforce it. One grocery, every time I go there there's always one older man shopping without a mask. Different guy each time, but one's always there.

I decided to order my latest batch of needed books (a swath of new Tolkien-related items) from a local store instead of going through a big online retailer. They arrived four days later and I went down to pick them up. This was the first time I'd been in a downtown retail district since February. The store had limited occupancy and required masks. But that didn't mean a lot of the people strolling the streets - I had to park around the corner, which is actually pretty good for that area - weren't wearing them. I thought I'd save a lot of potential hassle by not opting for mail delivery, but this is a different hassle.

With groceries, we're relying mostly on pickup services. There, there's no contact: you park, phone them, and pop your trunk. But the online ordering is often deficient and confusing. Broccoli, for instance, is sold by the pound, it says, but if you order a quantity of 1, which I thought meant one pound, you get one broccoli head, which isn't enough. That made me terrified of what I'd get when I ordered brussel sprouts. If I ordered a quantity of 1, would I get just one sprout? But if I ordered a dozen, which is the number I usually get, would someone who interpreted the selections differently give me 12 pounds? I ordered 1, and got one 2-pound pre-packed bag, which was not what had been on the ordering system. But this kind of substitution doesn't apply to celery sticks. The kind of packaged celery stick I usually see in the store isn't on the online system. The brand they have on the online system I've never seen in the store. Nevertheless I've ordered it twice and then the order comes saying they're out of it. So I have to go out and buy something.

Take-out restaurant food has worked a little better (we had Mexican takeout for our anniversary dinner, from a local taqueria with good food but terrible ambiance, so I've never gone there with B., who prefers nice table service for in-place dining), and the public libraries are preparing to reopen for pickup of holds, so I'm looking forward to that.

More later on some recent things seen.

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