Every morning around 7:30 or 8:00, I throw on a particularly thick Rutgers hoodie and a well-worn pair of sneakers. I hook up my wireless earbuds and tune into The Daily podcast on Spotify. Then I go out for a mile walk. It’s nothing ambitious. Just takes me about 30 minutes. But it gives me a little alone time, away from the other inmates in this asylum.
I have been religious about this walk for the past month. I head out in rain and during unexpected cold snaps, like today. Just a couple of months ago, I avoided bad weather being rather wimpy about shivering. There were spin classes at the gym and trips to the museum or the mall to keep me amused and exercised. Now, I have no choice but to deal with the damp and the cold.
I have made friends with bad weather, which makes me feel very rugged indeed. This morning it was 35 degrees and with a brisk breeze when I headed out. I listened to an interview with Rick Steves and thought about Facebook, my current writing project, and various plans to keep Ian amused today.
For some reason, all the smoking bathroom kids who scared the shit out of me in high school, have friended me on Facebook. I’m finally popular! Woot! Anyway, they’re all talking about how vaccines cause COVID. Turns out, they still scare me.
I am starting to see other conspiracy theories floating around social media. There are some people think that Bill Gates has released this virus to take over schools and our lives, and make a bazillion dollars in the process.
I am not sure what to do about it. Should I face down these semi-strangers on social media and force them to stop spouting their crazy ideas? Or do I have compassion? They are clearly desperate and sad individuals, so maybe I should let them cling to their ideas. It’s probably a waste of my time to convince them that they are wrong, so I won’t. But I might unfriend them, so they don’t depress me with their stupidity.
Steve’s theory is that the Enlightenment has always had a fragile hold on our society. This pandemic, if the pain goes on for a long time, could unleash all those people who never trusted science and ideas. In former lives, these people were witch burners and phrenologists. They’re highly dangerous and more numerous than we realize.
If that’s the case, then I shouldn’t unfriend them and allow the Conspiracy Virus to spread unchecked. The Conspiracy Virus is just as dangerous as the virus that makes us cough.