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.


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


Blowing in the Wind

Today has been a challenging day for reasons other than health — either mine or the world’s.

I was all set to go out for a walk this morning when the winds came up. Not breezes. Full winds. Since I was already dressed and not at all gruntled — I’m still feeling a bit ruffled by the minor (very minor) storm some of my posts have created — I figured this would be the perfect time to prune the dead branches from some bushes I’d transplanted because the unpleasant task wouldn’t ruin a good mood or a good day. Considering that most of the bushes that needed to be cut back were native roses, it turned out to be rather a prickly situation. Even with thick work gloves on, I still managed to draw blood.

After I’d wrestled the dead branches into the dumpster, I waited for the winds to calm down so I could run a necessary errand, but it didn’t happen. So I had to uncover my car while the winds were blowing. That turned out to be much the way I imagine it would be if one tried to fold up one’s parasail while one is blowing in the wind. Normally, I could have walked to do my errand — the bank is a mere three blocks away — but now only the drive-up is open. So, considering the battle to unwrap the car and fold up the cover, drive to the bank, head down the road a couple of extra miles to make sure the car got it’s weekly workout, then come back and recover the car, the errand took three or four times what it normally would.

Such are the adventures of my day.

I looked at the weather forecast — a rather foolish endeavor since in the past couple of months, few of those predictions turned out to be correct — and noticed that next week should be very warm, and the week after that quite hot. In the nineties. So I am trying to enjoy this cooler weather, wind notwithstanding.

But it’s March. Winds are to be expected.

Wait! March? No, it’s April! I seem to have lost a month somewhere along the line. Maybe the winds blew it away.


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.