The World Outside my Fence

I walked to a nearby store today to pick up a few items. What used to be a short walk (a half-mile round trip) turned out to be a far piece since my knee is still not in top shape, but I did walk. Yay!

I even saw a couple of friends who were also running errands, which is another yay, but they told me of a new law in Colorado — that everyone above the age of ten or those who were medically exempt had to wear masks in public, and I’d forgotten mine. Oops.

I have a surgical mask on a ribbon that I generally wear around my neck until it’s time to go into a store. Because of allergies, I can’t wear one for very long otherwise my sinuses protest and I start gasping for breath. Lately, though, I haven’t bothered, and apparently, there’s been a twenty-five percent increase in local cases of the Bob, from 4 to 5.

That’s one thing my friends and I marveled at — that the local economy was destroyed for a mere five cases of the Bob. That’s it. Five cases.

Well, if it makes the power-wielding folks happy, I’ll wear a mask when I’m around others, though there is no way I can have been infected by The Bob. And yeah, I know — people can be contagious without knowing it, but I’ve pretty much only seen one person the past couple of weeks (the garage-builder), and from what I can gather, he doesn’t see many people, either. The chances of one of us near-hermits coming in contact with the one person who recently became infected with The Bob seems minuscule. Still, being the quintessential “good girl,” I’ll do what I’m told. So, a mask it is.

The interesting thing to me is that if I hadn’t come across my friends this morning, I still wouldn’t know about the new law. There is a rather pathetic newspaper, but it comes out only once a week, so the only place I’d been able to keep current about local affairs was a town news group on Facebook. Which means, as long as my Facebook boycott lasts, I will have to continue relying on chance encounters to find out what’s going on. (Some people are trying to get a more focused newspaper going, and they asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, but I have a hard enough time writing just for me. And besides, the isolation due to The Bob has regressed me to my default mode and killed any desire to make the effort to be around people.)

To be honest, I don’t care — can’t care — what’s going on in the world outside my fence since I have no control over any of it. (Now that I think about it, I don’t even have any control of what’s going on inside my fence. The feral cats have staked out my bare earth spots as their latrines. Weeds take over when I’m not looking. Friendly plants grow or not according to their own whim.)

I sometimes wonder if we’d all be better off not knowing anything beyond our immediate environs. Does knowing make anyone happy? Does not knowing make anyone feel more isolated?

Maybe I’m just making excuses for my own predilections. Still, next time I want to know what’s happening beyond my property, I’ll go for a walk, and if I need to know what’s going on, I’m sure someone will tell me.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

7 Responses to “The World Outside my Fence”

  1. Sam Sattler Says:

    Sometimes I wonder, Pat, if we would all be better off with less access to news – especially since most of it seems to be twisted in one direction or the other in order to score political points.

    I had to chuckle about the huge percentage increase in cases you’ve had locally. It’s amazing how the numbers work out when you move from 4 cases all the way to 5 cases.

    The virus finally hit near home for me a couple of days ago when I learned that a good friend died from it over the Fourth of July holiday. Apparently, he lasted only five days after symptoms first showed up. He was one of my regulars and I’m going to miss him terribly. So, do be careful out there.

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    Isolation is an interesting world. It really changes us!

  3. Joe Says:

    In relation to the access to news, I learned a new word: doomscrolling. Essentially, one continually scrolls through the news-feed, scanning headlines and becoming increasingly cynical about the state of the world, if not outright depressed.

  4. Estragon Says:

    Hmmm… “doomscrolling”. I like that too. It’s pretty much always been the case with media that “if it bleeds, it leads”, but it does seem to be more so now. Maybe it’s just the seemingly singular focus on the Bob. In this province (pop. ~1million), there were zero cases for a couple of weeks, then five in one day, which was apparently from someone who had recently returned from travel. Is it even possible to state zero to five as a % increase? Even if they tried, I’m getting immune to these sort of shrieking headlines.

    I think of wearing a mask as sort of like dressing appropriately for foreign travel or to a social function. It may not be comfortable, but if it makes me fit in better, I’m okay with it. I don’t get out much except to walk anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. I would be really annoyed if they force us to wear one for walking though. If they do that, I’ll just find somewhere more remote to walk where there’s nobody to chew me out for not wearing one. Seeing people wearing masks while driving alone in their cars makes me wonder if we might be close to “jumping the shark” on the whole mask thing around here anyway.

    Good that you’re walking. As we get older, I think we need to use it or lose it!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s two things I learned today. “Doomscrolling” and “jumping the shark”. I’d never heard that before, so I looked up the origin. Interesting.

      I’m taking it easy with the walking — I don’t want to stress the knee, but I’m looking forward to a time when I can walk as easily as I did a few months ago, because you’re right — we need to use the ability or we lose it, and that would sure put a crimp in my lifestyle.

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