“The Bob” Commentary

Social distancing might be holding in the over-60 population, at least to an extent, but it does not seem to concern the younger folk. Today I’ve seen more groups walking than I have in the year I’ve been here. I don’t know if that’s been the case all along since I’ve stayed inside babying my knee, but today I thought I should challenge myself, so I went outside for a short walk. (If 300 steps can be considered a walk.) I might have stayed out longer, but in that short time, one single walker and two closely-packed trios passed me. In all cases, I crossed the street to get away from them, but still, there they were.

Making matter worse, one of the guys horked up a wad of mucus in front of my house. Really? Really? I don’t understand people, and they sure as heck don’t understand health safeguards.

Needless to say, I took I wide berth around that mess, and came back inside where I am safe. (Just because I think there’s way too much hype over The Bob  doesn’t mean I don’t take precautions. In fact, I take these same precautions when it comes to any flu or other contagious disease. And I might as well admit it, I always cross the street to avoid people when I’m out walking unless I know them — it’s a leftover safety measure from when I lived in a big city.)

There are many loopholes in this stay-at-home order. Except for the closures — places where people obviously can’t go — they can go anywhere and do anything as long as they say they are taking a walk or getting essential items. Some people — couples and families — are going en masse to the stores that are open more as a recreational thing than because they really need the merchandise. And the early shopping hours for seniors are a joke — so many congregate outside the doors of places like Walmart, waiting to get in, that it seems to create more of a problem than it solves.

So why issue stay-at-home orders when it’s so easy to get around them? Well, I do know one reason — by establishing their locale as a scene of disaster, the local governments are positioning themselves for federal relief funds. But for the rest, who knows. There is much going on that we are not privy to.

Speaking of privy (chuckling at my wit here), I did some research on the toilet paper shortage.

I don’t know why no one is admitting that a percentage of our bathroom tissue is imported from China, but it is. (A Walmart employee told me that’s where their store brand comes from.) According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity: The top exporters of toilet paper are China ($2.84B), Germany ($2.78B), Japan ($1.67B), Poland ($1.4B) and Italy ($1.26B). The top importers are the United States ($2.29B), Germany ($1.79B), China ($1.43B), France ($1.33B) and the United Kingdom ($1.26B). So, as you can see — if you curtail the imports, there is a definite shortage. Even if the shortfall is only 10%, that shortfall soon escalates into a massive shortage as people try to stay ahead of their needs.

I’m shaking my head at myself. I had no intention of ever even mentioning any aspect of this current medical situation in my daily blog posts (190 days in a row as of today), but it is there. And it is hard to ignore.

Of course, if the guys would come and build my garage, I’d have something more exciting to write about. Meantime, there is just me, my computer, and vast numbers of articles and commentaries about The Bob flooding the internet streams. And now, with this blog, there is one more.

In case you’re sick of all this, here’s something to brighten your life: today is National Crayon Day. Happy coloring!


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.



Tuesdays seem to be a busy day for me, and yesterday would have been no exception, but I ignored all that I’d planned to or agreed to do, and just stayed home. Took a snow day.

There hadn’t been much snow to speak of (though I did, in fact, both speak of it and write about it). The snow had mostly melted by midmorning, but I didn’t feel like battling the cold. And oh, was it cold! (In the evening, when I should have left for a meeting, it was 6˚.) I simply wasn’t interested in dealing with the weather. I have plenty of warm coats and hats and scarves and mittens and such, but not even a muffler wound around my lower face can keep off a wind-driven chill.

It was fun staying home and cozying up with a book. Toward evening, though, my sinuses started acting up, and I wondered if my lack of energy and ambition were the result of allergies or . . . eek . . . the beginning of a cold. (Please, not a cold! I don’t want to miss my murder mystery dinner this Sunday.)

Whatever is going on with me, it sure wiped me out. I got up at my regular time this morning (or as regular as it ever gets), turned on the heat, and went back to bed until the house warmed up. By the time I resurfaced, it was almost noon. Noon? Sheesh. That’s hugely late even for me.

Although I feel okay, I’ve been dragging a bit today. Despite my lack of energy, I still dusted and mopped the floor in case my lethargy was a dust-created allergy attack. (Sluggishness has always been a major factor of my allergies, even more so than sinus congestion.) Because I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t simply having an allergy attack or even a bout of laziness, I danced a little, but not too much on the off chance that I really was getting sick.

I relaxed with a cup of tea for a few minutes, then made a clean-out-the-refrigerator salad with all the tag ends of vegetables as well as a few olives that had gotten pushed out of sight in the back of a shelf. It was a great salad. And now . . .

I don’t really have the energy to think of something witty or wise, wonderful or wry to blog about, but since I prefer not to break my 135-day streak of blogging every day, here I am with this oh, so very mundane post.

Did I say mundane? No, the post is moribund. [To save you from having to look it up, moribund means a) at the point of death or b) lacking vitality or vigor.]

And that’s sure me (and my post) today — lacking vitality and vigor.



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.