Douglas and I went today to one of the state parks to hike on the trails.We remembered to take our masks. We stopped at the store for Douglas some cough medicine, as he has had a cough now for over three months, and I am worried. But the doctor doesn’t think it is anything but residuals from a cold.
We drove the 30 minutes to reach the park, and lo when we arrived, we couldn’t find a parking place as they were all taken! We crossed the lake at the park, and there were so many boats in the water, it seemed like the Fourth of July! Maybe one in every twenty-five people had on masks, even though there were so many there that social distancing was nigh impossible.
I wanted to scream out my car window that the masks are not to keep them from getting the virus, as much as for them not to spread it! How can so many people not be following the guidelines set by scientists who know how viruses work, even if this one is novel? Is it just the American attitude that because the Declaration of Independence declares their inalienable rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they are free to do whatever they want, without government contraints?
Or is it that we haven’t done a good job of convincing people that yes, they are their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in times like these when there is a deadly virus going around. There’s nothing whimsical about coronovirus; this disease is nothing to play around with.
We drove up into the park, and when we couldn’t find a space away from others to park or walk, we left. With so many people without masks, I lost my aplomb for hiking among a group of people talking and laughing. I have a defibrillaor and only half of a left lung, which makes me more vulnerable.
It has been hard for me to be away from my students, as I feed off the interactions with them, but I know that online is best when there were 1064 new cases in Georgia yesterday. I am as weary of being inside as anyone else, but we have to come together and think of the people around us, especially the children I see without masks who don’t realize the dangers. I must wear a mask for them, especially if their parents won’t do so.
Reading of the protests, my prayer is that social distancing to impede the progress of the virus won’t remain a political issue or a conspiracy theory that convinces people that there is nothing to fear. I hope that the year 2020 will come to be known as a time when Americans were sensitive to the health and welfare of neighbors and strangers. Now, that is a new normal that I can live with (pun intended).