Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Covidlocks - A Fairy Tale from 2020

Covidlocks was born sometime in 2019, to the best of her recollection. After all, a young virus like her doesn't have much memory regarding her genesis in a lab.

When she reached an age when it was perceived that she would be able to survive on her own, she was released to find her way in the world.

She enjoyed travelling, and so quickly made her way around the world, sampling from all that humanity had to offer.

In time, she arrived in a new country, and quickly realized that something was different. Her arrival was greeted by hostility, and she found locked doors and shuttered businesses everywhere she went.

People were keeping their distance from her, and even were wearing masks. She began to find it difficult to travel.

But still she persisted, and entered in. And then she found that this was a place of contrasts and disputes.

Despite the fact that from north to south, east to west, and every area in between there were vast differences in climate, speech, and way of life, there were those that wanted to treat everyone identically.

Even Covidlocks realized that just as fish don't climb trees and cats don't behave logically, expecting to use a single "one size fits all" approach was not going to scare her off.

So she decided to find a place to stay to further study this diverse society.

The first place she tried to stay was shuttered tight - windows and doors locked and at first no answer to her knock on the door or ring of the doorbell. The beings within peered carefully out through small gaps in the stacks of toilet paper piled in front of the window - they were masked and gloved and armed with spray bottles of hand sanitizer.

When Covidlocks loudly asked for a place to stay, they screamed at her to stay away, and immediately began spraying the inside of their window with the sanitizer.

The second place she approached looked like there was a party in progress. Crowds of people were hugging and touching each other, not a mask or glove in sight, and it was packed wall to wall with all types of organisms.

Covidlocks spotted a family in the corner that she recognized as members of the Streptococcus clan, and she decided that she'd better find a different place to stay.

The third dwelling looked fairly normal in comparison to the first two and she decided to take her chances. After knocking on the door, the individuals within opened the door with a request that she remain on the porch while they heard her out.

Although they were masked, they made sure that they spoke clearly enough that Covidlocks could understand what they said. When she presented her request for a place to stay, they let her know that she could use their guest room that had it's own entrance and bathroom, but that they would appreciate if she did not attempt to use any of the rest of the house.

After agreeing to the terms, Covidlocks decided to head out to see what else was available. Feeling a bit hungry, she decided to search for a restaurant.

The first restaurant she approached looked dark and deserted, and when she peered in the windows, she saw the chairs stacked on top of the tables and cobwebs and dust.

The second dining establishment had tables packed so closely together that the wait staff could barely move between them to deliver food. There wasn't a mask or glove in sight on diners or employees.

Covidlocks decided to move on, and found a third place to eat. After a brief walk, she found a welcoming location that had both indoor and outdoor seating. She noticed that three out of every four tables inside had the chairs set on top to prevent seating, and outdoors she saw that the tables were placed quite a distance apart. All of the employees were wearing masks, and there was even a box of masks available for patrons to take one if they chose.

She watched a table leave, and immediately a busboy wearing gloves came over, cleared away all the dishes, and wiped down all the surfaces of the table and chairs with a cloth repeatedly rinsed in a bucket that smelled of bleach.

Covidlocks sat down and enjoyed a meal, not the best she had ever had, but the level of comfort in the environment made up for the food deficiencies.

After her meal, she decided to take a stroll to see what recreational amenities were available. First she passed a large skate park, gates locked and signs posted announcing its closure due to Pandemic. Shaking her head in disbelief, she didn't understand how an activity that by its very nature required distance could be considered "unsafe".

As she continued on her way, she noticed a beach with sunbathers packed towel to towel with not a speck of sand visible. People attempting to walk down the beach, in search of seashells or exercise, found it difficult to wend their way through the crowded bodies.

Finally, as she passed a public boat launch, where people waited their turn to put their boats in the water to go fishing, a stray gust of wind caught her long golden hair.

Covidlocks realized that it had been far too long since she had a blow out. She decided to find a salon to tame her unruly locks.

The first place she approached had a "Newly Reopened!" banner across the front, proclaiming its status. All the chairs inside were full of waiting customers, and there was a line going out the door. Every seat was full and not even the nail techs were wearing masks.

Covidlocks moved on to find another parlor. The next one, although it had six chairs, only had a single person working, and a sign on the door stating "Regular Customers Only, Call in Advance for an Appointment". A second sign proclaimed "Masks Required and Documentation of COVID-19 Negative Testing Mandatory".

Not feeling the love, Covidlocks moved on. She found a third spa that was open, and noticed that as a customer was leaving the beautician was wiping down the equipment and chair with Clorox wipes. As she entered, she noticed that the only chairs in use were spaced a body's length apart, and that all the employees were wearing masks. She made an appointment and was told that she needed to be on time or she would lose her place.

After her blowout, Covidlocks went back to the place she was staying to relax and contemplate life for a while. She reviewed everything that she had seen and experienced that day, and realized that she needed to FaceTime her Uncle Darwin later.

Apparently, despite her uncle's belief that nature would provide for adaptation of the fittest, she realized that the "common sense" gene had bypassed around two-thirds of the population.

Covidlocks realized that in times of difficulty, most people over or under reacted, often to an extreme degree. In their zeal, they attempt to impose their beliefs on everyone else, often with a "one size fits all" approach that is impractical at best.

Covidlocks knew that the "new normal" was like herding cats. Everyone had their own opinion of how best to proceed and most of it was not rooted in sound beliefs and practices. She lay back on the bed, perceiving that everyone was in for a bumpy ride and would need their rest.

The moral of this story? "It is time to turn away from self-interest and return to morality."

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