Paeans and Peons

I went to the grocery store today. It’s not so much that I needed things, but I wanted to start my car. It’s been so hot, that even with the car being snug in its own little house, I thought it should be exercised. And oh! What a joy! No disconnecting all the buckles that hold on the car cover, no folding up the cover and stowing it before I could even get into the bug. All I had to do was unlock the garage, push a button to open the door and presto! Magic.

When I first found out the old garage would have to come down, I felt silly realizing a new garage would cost more that the car is worth, but then, there really is no price to be put on the freedom having a vehicle gives a person in our wheeled world. Now that the money is spent, I’m glad I had to do it — if the old garage had been fixed, I wouldn’t have my magic door. And I don’t begrudge spending my travel fund on the garage. As great as one last epic trip would have been, it doesn’t compare to the convenience of a garage, especially as I get older and feebler.

But I didn’t come here to write a paean to the garage gods. A sign on the door of the grocery store geared to us peons prompted this post.

According to the sign, by Colorado law, all peons (regular folks, not people engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel) over the age of ten must wear a mask when in public places. The only exception is if there is a medical reason why a person can’t wear a mask. But no one — not individuals, store workers or “the authorities” are allowed to question those without as mask as to their medical condition, so (again according to the sign) the assumption is that those without a mask have such a condition.

Huh? What sort of law is that? We peons have to wear a mask but if we don’t wear a mask, people are supposed to assume we don’t have to wear one? Which means that despite the law, no one has to wear a mask since no one can question why a person isn’t wearing one. Still, wearing a mask is the law, and even if it weren’t, in these Bob days, it’s the safe and courteous thing to do. Besides, it’s not something I want to fight about.

The other half of this law requiring people to wear masks also requires people to remove the mask if someone needs to verify who they are, because even a half-mask can mask a person. The person behind me in line wasn’t anyone I recognized, but when he said, “Hello, Ms. Pat,” I recognized his voice — he was the builder, a person I’ve seen almost every day for the past few weeks.

I found it interesting that as soon as I got out of the store, I removed the mask and when he left, so did he, though some people didn’t. Luckily, we’re not forced to wear masks outside unless that “outside” is a public place like a bus stop. And, even though people wear masks while driving alone, it’s not required. (Wearing a mask when one is alone seems silly to me because I don’t think you can give yourself The Bob, but what do I know.)

Even if it were required to wear masks out walking, it wouldn’t matter. With a single code enforcer in town, there’d be no one to enforce the law anyway.

Come to think of it, I should have stuck with the paean to my garage. It’s a lot less complicated than trying to make sense of this law, that’s for sure.

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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

 

Ordinariness

It seems weird that at a time like this, when everyone’s life is interrupted, mine goes on as before without any major changes. Or any change, actually. For various reasons, I’d already stopped most of the activities I’d been involved in, and I hadn’t yet decided what new activities to try, so I’d been staying home even before it was recommended we stay at home.

Although there have been no cases of “The Bob” here, this county seems to follow along what Denver is doing, and Denver has issued a stay-at-home order for its residents that will be enforced. They are allowed to go the grocery store (and, I presume, work in those stores if they have a job), visit doctors, and go out to exercise and that’s sort of what I’ve been doing. Except I don’t have a doctor here. And I haven’t been braving the grocery stores. (I didn’t stock up on anything but a bit of tuna, so I’m just nibbling my way through leftovers and what little I do have.)

I have been trying to walk a bit every day, and I’ve been looking at videos on knee exercises because I tweaked my knee while sleeping one night, and it hasn’t yet gone back to normal.

And I have been going to sit with a sick friend occasionally when her husband needs to be away. (Yep. Living dangerously!)

The library is closed, and the latest I heard was that all services were suspended, maybe even the quick exchange of books they’d once promised, but I do have emergency books — a stash of unread paperbacks and a Nook with books I would only read in an emergency.

One thing I have been doing differently is experimenting with something I’d once planned to do but never quite got around to doing— using a pee rag. It’s something I learned when preparing for a backpacking trip, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work inside, too, especially since there is only me here (and especially since I haven’t seen a package of Charmin in the stores for weeks now).

Other than that, the only change in my life is:

That’s right! A daffodil!!

Such a sweetly ordinary thing to see.

Wishing us all the ordinariness we once took for granted.

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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.