Shelter-in-place, Day 4: How are we today?

I had to step beyond my bower today to deal with money things, and was expecting to see a total absence of other people in the world. What I was met with instead was both startling and yet completely understandable.

Check out my fancy ride

During this “lockdown” (which isn’t a true lockdown, as I’m about to detail) certain types of businesses are being allowed to continue operations. Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and any other concern that could justify itself as essential, are being allowed to continue provided they are taking certain safety measures: heightened cleanliness, sanitation readily available to patrons, keeping people at a distance of 6’. Employees should wear gloves and stay home if unwell.

What I found shocking was the number of people actually out-and-about. I live near a very busy freeway intersection and had to pass over it today. The ease with which I passed through surprised me. I’ve often hit the red light on the preceding side as well as the red light on the side just past the overpass. So there was that.

The first grocery store I entered was filled with shoppers and workers alike wearing face masks and gloves. I felt a bit naked, showing my face and hands. But I held a secret, that, if they knew, would make them turn green with envy, or so I told myself: I had both hand sanitizer and Lysol Disinfectant Wipes with me. Haha! In fact, I had the wipes with me right there! Haha! Haha!

After much consideration

The ATM I was about to use was most certainly a cesspool of some kind, and I was resolute, nay destined to conquer its disgustingness. I entertain the thought that I did so, by applying the well-wetted semi-cloth to the keypad in a vigorous, circular motion, being certain to not only hold the thing in such a way as to prevent any direct contact with the filthy surface, but also to ensure application to all the outer edges of each key. I felt both accomplished and virtuous.

The next place I needed to go had to do with replenishing this particular resource, but in this pursuit I was foiled. I was also dismayed at the number of people casually strolling around, touching products with their bare hands and replacing them on the shelves…and I saw nary a mask. Additionally, people seemed unconcerned about the distance they kept between each other.

The stories are true

My last stop was the fuel station, where I couldn’t help myself from refilling my brother’s tank at an under-$3 price, the likes of which we haven’t seen in Silicon Valley in nearly a decade, much less this particular neighborhood. All of the pumps save for one were in use, and while there were no face masks in view, I saw gloved hands and sanitizer being thoroughly employed. Surely, not only due to Coronavirus, but also due to the reputation fuel pumps have of being utterly disgusting. Once again, my virtue shone forth, as I applied another of this precious and limited resource to the keypad, card reader, screen, pump button, and finally, the pump handle itself. In this last, I attempted a glove-like approach, and grasped the pump with the (can they really call these flimsy things “cloths”?! I mean, really) device, and made it go ‘round the trigger.

You’re a dirty, dirty person

I filled up the tank and made my way back home with what little I was able to accomplish compared to the length of time it took me, and this time it wasn’t owing to traffic! I heard that the police are going to start issuing fines to people who aren’t taking the shelter-in-place seriously. I’m not certain of what the fines would be for or for what, exactly, but the casualness I observed was definitely disturbing.

So that’s the news here. How are things where you are?

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