Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Social distancing

In the pursuit of my new found life goal to be the Jane Goodall of the squirrels and chipmunks, I head out most days into the neighborhoods of St Paul to document their still distant rodentine activities with my super zoom camera.

Unfortunately there is a pandemic going on, and I am doing this in a city, and I am not left alone.

One of the main ways we were combating this pandemic, which is one of the great and terrible International events of our lifetimes, was by social distancing. I won't explain social distancing because you are alive on the planet, and everyone knows about social distancing.

Unfortunately, where I live at least, even though everyone knows about it, no one knows how to do it.

When we went into Total City Shutdowns, and people's corpses started stacking up, people gave social distancing a go. They weren't very good at it, but they were alarmed, sometimes even terrified, and they occasionally tried it at least. But as the epidemic worsened, the attitudes of the extreme fringe lunatics (that we laughed at in horror in the early days of the Covid-19 spread) became the generally accepted public discourse.

To wit:

People die all the time.

That's what the crazy people said. Now it's us.

John Prine died.

People die all the time.

Little Richard died.

People die all the time.

Grandpaw died.

People die all the time.

Mike Pence died.

Really, how can you tell?

Er, no, um...

People die all the time!

There's a gun leveled at your head right now.

People die all the time. People die all the time. People die all the time.

We all became perfect Buddhists. Very enlightened. We follow the middle way. We accept fate.

Which we had better, because we don't know how to social distance! No one does! And it might kill us!!!!

People die all the time.

The old people, most at risk, don't know how to social distance. 

"What are you photographing?" They ask me, creeping up from behind.

"I was photographing that chipmunk 200 yards away from me until you scared him off and then tried to give me Coronavirus." I answer politely.

The very young people also don't know how to social distance. How could they? No one taught them its careful intricacies, and now they rampage through the streets, startling the squirrel population, in infectious gangs, more or less abandoned by their families who are all sick or dead at home.

And the in between aged people certainly don't know how to social distance either. They've had it. They're out with their friends biking and running on all the streets and river paths of the city, feeling too pure and virtuous to worry about any germs they might be spewing. Hell, they'll probably live through their inevitable viral disease encounter, but who knows? Their demographic sure doesn't always. Do they want to roll the dice?

Yes, they want to roll the dice.

People die all the time.

Actually though, it turns out that I know some good social distancers after all.

Squirrels and chipmunks. I can't get within 50 feet of them under any circumstances.

Alas, it makes it pretty hard to become the Jane Goodall of the chipmunks and squirrels.

Well at least they'll be fine.

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