In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the kids develop a game around a piece of moldy cheese on the school playground. If someone touches it, they get an invisible disease like the cooties and to get rid of it, they have to touch another kid, who then become the host of the vile and dreaded “cheese touch.”
The state parks of New Jersey opened up this weekend. We ventured out early on Sunday to one that we considered particularly remote and unexciting. We put on masks when we came close to another group of people, but we were the only. people walking around with on and off masks. They passed us on narrow paths breathing their foul germs on us, and I was grossed out.
And angry. Yes, I was angry at those people who couldn’t be bothered to put a mask on their face as they passed me on a trail. What was wrong with them? It’s not that difficult.
When will I stop looking at non-family members as disgusting virus generators? It will be a long time. Right now, they all have the Cheese Touch in my mind.
If all those people were flouting social distancing in my population dense and hard hit state, then we’re screwed. The rates will go back up again. And my parents will be in danger. We’ll blow by that 100,000 death count in a few weeks.
We’re getting better at amusing ourselves without our usual weekend amusements. On Saturday, Steve and I got dressed up. I actually put on a dress. It was a casual one, but it was fancier than I’ve gotten in ages. Steve put on a nice shirt. And we went for a drive in his convertible. A date night for a social distant world. We’re so easily amused these days.
Other things that made us happy this weekend included a new expanded garden, a lovely take out dinner, and a social distanced backyard cocktail with a couple of friends. Next up, a blog post with some links.
16 thoughts on “The Cheese Touch (Plague, Day 60, May 4, 2020)”
“When will I stop looking at non-family members as disgusting virus generators? ”
I had this moment on March 4th and feel very bad about it. But, it’s an example of why we can’t have nice things (if parks get crowded, if people won’t wear masks, . . . .). In Oklahoma, they had to rescind the mask order because non-mask wearing folks were threatening employees.
But, it’s also untenable to tell people to wear masks but not provide them. I bought my masks from a local small business, in part to support them, and they were more expensive, probably, but masks are expensive.
In Michigan, someone murdered a security guard at Family Dollar.
MH said, “In Michigan, someone murdered a security guard at Family Dollar.”
It wasn’t impulsive, either, or just one person. It was a family group of several people and they came back with more relatives and shot the security guard (who leaves behind a wife and nine kids):
Three people are being charged in the murder.
“And we went for a drive in his convertible.” Sweet.
Can I say how much I hate masks? Another aspect of all of this for me, personally, are the memories of working in a lab where masks were [sometimes] necessary and gloves were necessary. I am finding myself revisiting my lab rules in my home (of thinking before I touch anything, washing my hands so frequently that I can’t wear rings). Masks are hard to wear correctly, and taking them on and off is a risk as well, and the reasons you are wearing the mask matter (as with gloves).
For example, masks with vents are good for avoiding forest fire smoke but defeat one of the main arguments of wearing them for COVID — or other infectious diseases where you are a potential vector (because they allow you to expel your own air).
Masks are hard to wear correctly, and taking them on and off is a risk as well,
And fit matters. I don’t mind wearing a mask; what I mind is the constant taking-it-off-and-putting-it-back-on because the damn thing won’t stay put. “One size fits all” masks are designed for people with significantly larger heads than what I have. I assumed the ones with elastic straps would fit better, but it’s the opposite—the elastics are too long, and my ears are too small. The tie-style fit better, but won’t stay put if I’m in motion. A typical grocery store visit means I’m fixing the damn thing five or six times. I don’t feel so bad about that at work, where we *all* are doing the constant hand-to-face readjustments because they are fogging up our safety glasses to the point we can’t see to walk or work.
We would have better compliance with mask-wearing if masks were readily available in stores (getting a mask that fits means either being or knowing someone with serious sewing skills—the “fold a bandanna over hair ties” videos teach you how to make a mask that constantly slips off if you’re moving), and *fit*. Like “XS, S, M, L, XL” type fit. I got lucky—one of the foremen on my job has an aunt who makes masks that fit smaller-headed people. But otherwise? I would have been shit out of luck out here, far from home.
I really think it’s underestimated how masks are becoming a target of the frustration people have with the whole sink-or-swim method of managing COVID. Masks are the safe target to vent about, because….well, because there’s a chance that others might relate. Whereas with the bigger-picture items: unemployment, empty bank accounts, watching bailouts for the rich while still waiting on unemployment benefits, watching everyone you know either lose their job or work their ass off under the stress of exposure from being an essential worker, losing health insurance, kids more-or-less kicked to the curb when it comes to schooling, worrying about kids abiding by the stay-at-home order even though you have to go to work, going to the grocery store and seeing empty shelves of needed items, knowing your young adult child is going to have to drop out of college, knowing that if you or anyone in your family gets sick you won’t be able to access treatment because of that pesky “lost job–no insurance” status, etc…..there are clearly two very different USAs with a Grand Canyon sized chasm between them. COVID has ripped the mask off of that pre-existing condition in a big way.
Glad to see you chiming in lubiddu.
“here are clearly two very different USAs with a Grand Canyon sized chasm between them. COVID has ripped the mask off of that pre-existing condition in a big way.”
I see this clearly — my masks, $15 per person, and I bought 12 ($180 + tax) were purchased from a local small business that, normally, holds sewing classes for kids. They fit me OK, but I wear glasses and the glasses fog up, and then I can’t see. Also, I hate masks. Wearing one makes me feel like I am in an unsafe space.
We’ll get used to it, if we have to; I got used to seat belts and now, my kids feel uncomfortable without one (and I’m almost the same).
But, as with other issues (on the left, it’s the presumption that the red states don’t care if people die, or at least, that they don’t care if “other” people die) the mask issue is becoming politicized.
While there are details here or there I disagree with, I don’t think the shutdown fight is about anything so much as not paying unemployment to workers. If there’s a legal order, you haven’t quit voluntarily and are eligible for unemployment. If there is no legal order, or you work in a packing plant or other “essential” place, you either go to work or you have no income. People want things to open not because they think everybody is going to actually go to the movie theater or whatever, but because some of the employees will not be willing or able (their kids are home too) to work and they want to be able to fire them for not going to work.
People want things to open not because they think everybody is going to actually go to the movie theater or whatever, but because some of the employees will not be willing or able (their kids are home too) to work and they want to be able to fire them for not going to work
YES. Iowa even implemented a snitch line for employers to call the unemployment office to fast-track denial of benefits to workers who aren’t returning to work. (lack of child care is not a valid reason to not return to work, even if the child care is shut down due to COVID).
That’s going to be a long-term detonation in/of the economy—the lack of child care as more child care providers go bankrupt, and large sectors of the economy that depend on female workers have a hard time finding replacements.
Even Neil Ferguson and Dr. Catherine Calderwood can’t maintain social distancing: https://www.zerohedge.com/health/scientist-whose-doomsday-models-prompted-worldwide-lockdown-broke-quarantine-bang-married
“He has peculiarly breached his own guidelines, and for an intelligent man I find that very hard to believe. It risks undermining the Government’s lockdown message,” said Sir. Iain Duncan Smith.
Meanwhile, over 9,000 fines have been issued to quarantine violators in England and Wales during the lockdown – while Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr. Catherine Calderwood, made two trips to her second home during the lockdown, resulting in her resignation.
Is going to your own second home even a problem in America? The vacation home areas have asked people to stay away, which seems like a good idea, but it’s not the cops you need to worry about but that the locals will hate you and nobody will come fix your cabin when things break. The Pennsylvania guidelines say to stay home, but they don’t say which home if you have two. You can travel or shop to get supplies for working from home and you can be out for exercise. They can’t pull you over for driving to see if you are on essential business or not. It’s basically impossible to arrest a middle class or upper middle class person for breaking the order if they aren’t trying to force an employee into the shop.
Also, adultery is legal everywhere here, but in North Carolina you have to be careful because if the wronged spouse can prove your affair partner loved them before you started the affair, you risk being sued for damages.
“Is going to your own second home even a problem in America?”
I believe that has been an issue in Michigan. That’s one of the parts of the US where fairly normal people have cabins on the lake.
“But the chunk of the stay-at-home order that really isn’t sitting well with some Michiganders is that travel “between residences” will also be banned as of April 11.”
“On April 2, the head of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said violators of the stay-at-home order will be fined up to $1,000 or be given a 90-day stay in jail. The inter-residence travel ban was announced a week later.”
I don’t know if that is still operational.
Always a problem when the little head starts thinking for the big head…
The experts in this article don’t seem too worried about outdoor contagion, although I guess it depends on how narrow the paths are. Nor do they seem too convinced of the benefit of masks. I’ve been wearing a mask in Central Park, but I don’t intend to wear one when we start going to the beach. https://www.wsj.com/articles/should-you-wear-a-mask-when-exercising-outdoors-11588079594
And from the left, the same message. https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/05/a-bcg-chart-can-tell-you-whats-safe-and-whats-not/
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