The main street is nearly deserted. I pulled into one of many available angled parking spots across from the pharmacy. As I reached for the door-handle there was a blur in the spot next to me. A small car pulled in as if it were a brake test zone. The young woman driving was wearing a surgical mask. Had I been a second earlier I would have been mince. No mask would have helped me.
There’s a weary old joke about a person who quits smoking only to be run over by a tobacco truck. We fixate on one peril and ignore several others. Think of all the near misses one endures while out driving on any road. You have no control over the other driver and what a single twitch of their hand could do. Danger is all around us, at all times, we cannot escape its presence even as we obsess about the perils of our present pandemic and all the social issues of isolation versus contamination.
Most of us would go completely around the twist if we lost our electronic and cyber web of information and distraction. I was on the phone yesterday with a friend from South Africa. He talked about my recent blog and the sad news of the wolf Takaya. He then related a similar story about a hippopotamus that went walkabout and was eventually shot. The story is about ninety years old but simply by googling “hippo shot in South Africa” I had instant access to several accounts of the legend of Huberta. It is truly amazing how the internet evolved so quickly to become the wealth of information (and lies) it is. Even more incredibly we take it all for granted, accepting whatever is presented as truth.
Yesterday morning we awoke to the sound of a train on the roof. Actually it was a burst of rain and sleet which gave way to another sunny morning. The next onslaught of precipitation came just after Jack and I had launched ourselves on our morning wander. Of course. Like the few folks out with their dogs, we all respectfully maintained a two-metre radius and it is suggested that we not even pet each other’s canine for fear of transferring heeby jeebies that way. There are dark aspects to people’s behaviour certainly but that seems outweighed by the goodness and graciousness demonstrated by most but the symptoms of analytis are evident at the best of times and those folks put themselves in a place of auto-distancing by default.
Lollygagging, remember that word? It sits on the shelf just after heeby jeeby, not far before malinger which is a bit before a box marked “Redneck Terms” which are often single-syllable four-letter words far more commonly used, especially in times like these by crusty old dudes like me. Folks will come to understand “Cabin Fever” if they don’t already. That in turn may erupt into a wild rage far more insidious than any virus. When we can all come up out of our lemming holes again, perhaps we’ll find the world a little better place with a newly re-found respect for each other and ourselves. How long those lessons last will be up to each of us.
This morning Jack and I were out and about in the cold crispy air and misty light of early morning. We met no-one else. There were not even any cars on the road. It seems very strange indeed.
Despite my cynicisms about media information here are three online items which might provide some comic relief, dark as it may be.
The first is from New York City where throngs of people crowded together on bridges and the waterfront to see the arrival of the US Navy hospital ship ‘Comfort.’ There are several photos which show folks with mobile phones held high, trying to record the moment.
The next is about the ‘Resolute,’ a small cruise ship in international waters off the coast of Tobago. It was accosted by a Venezuelan navy patrol vessel, the ‘Naiguta’ which demanded the ship allow itself to be forced into a Venezuelan port. Instead the ship, which had been built with an ice-breaking bow, rammed and sank the naval vessel. There were no lives lost and the story cheers me immensely.
And finally, a horrible story from Texas. On an interstate highway a tractor trailer load of toilet paper crashed and burned. Photos show flaming rolls littering several lanes. Hot wipes!
And so another day drags on, hopefully we all find something to smile about. I hope the spring flowers bring a little cheer.
“Humanity is not without answers or solutions regarding how to liberate itself from scenarios that invariably end with mass exterminations. Tools such as compassion, trust, empathy, love, and ethical discernment are already in our possession. The next sensible step would be to use them.”
― Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays
6 thoughts on “It’s All Relative”
Well said, and wonderful flower closeups – I admire your steady hand, Fred! Stay healthy.
Best to you and Allan
I need to learn the names of the Michigan local wildflowers – these are perky and pretty. That WAS on my bucket list to do this Summer along with the bird photos – make an effort to learn their names. Yesterday the head of the Michigan State Police suggested that while it is still good to visit parks, hike/bike/walk, it is not a good idea to just joyride around because if you get in an accident, you take the time of first responders, tow tuck drivers, making these people need to touch you unnecessarily, maybe even end up in a hospital – who wants to go there with the really sick people. Today they suggested that wearing masks might be a good thing, contrary to what they told us three weeks ago. Well make up your mind. As to being a kinder people, nicer toward one another … I hope so. A Detroit bus driver died of Coronavirus today – two weeks ago a bus rider coughed in his face. He fell ill four days later, died today.
Yes, I wish I knew the names of all the flowers,
I can’t even remember where I’ve left my wild plant books. I bought a book on improving my memory but
I’ve forgotten where I put that one. So far as face masks, the Chinese wear them a lot at the best of times and guess where this shit-show started!
There’s no substitute for kindness and common sense, as rare as they appear to be at times.
I have a book my parents bought me as a kid called “Audubon Guide to North American Birds” – it is downstairs in my desk I used through school, but it is behind a sea of Rubbermaid containers and I can’t get to it. Annoying. I guess I can just compare the pics to those on the internet … but still. The bus driver who died did a five-minute rant on his Facebook page the day he was coughed on. Little did he know he’d succumb to it, as did the head of the union for the bus drivers.
No-one knows for whom the cough is cast.