Safety in numbers


I’m not sure why, but I’ve been oddly unmotivated to write. But here goes.

I’ve gone from the dry California desert to the humid southeast and from a nice condo to a beautiful house. I’m enjoying the company of family as well as my sister-in-law’s cooking. My brother was weak but is now strong; he is determined to outlive us all. Our other brother and his wife visited, and it was great that we were all together under one roof for the first time since 2018.

One of my greatest pleasures here is walking the family dog every night. This is a ritual (and exercise) which I have missed sorely; also, there is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. One of my first orders of business when I settle will be to get one of my own.

My health is improving.  March was rough, but, after numerous doctors’ visits and tests, it’s been determined that my gall bladder needs to come out. I’d rather have it done where I am near family. I’m hoping it will put a stop to the months of nausea and abdominal pain and discomfort. The good news is that every other part of me tests out OK.

The covid situation is improving. California has the lowest rate in the continental US, and 66% of Floridians has had at least one dose of the vaccine. In Costa Rica, sad to say, the situation is not good. As was feared, Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is a major event when the country closes down and families reunite and travel, has led to a substantial upsurge in new infections, many among the young. The hospitals are full, and the vaccination process, which started fine, has stalled. They are still calling seniors to go to their local clinics and get their first shots.

As a carless person, I’ve taken a lot of Uber rides over the years. Uber was created to provide a less expensive alternative to taxis; and one has the advantage of knowing the price upon booking and not having to worry about a ticking meter. In Palm Springs, it’s backwards: The majority of Uber drivers are older white guys who don’t appear to need the money; they just do it for something to do or for extra cash.  Therefore, the prices are as high or higher than a taxi.  Also, they don’t just accept any ride; they let the app search and make the client nervous and then counter with a higher price. “Would you like this ride for $50?”  Would you like it for $70?” Whoever added the bidding feature should be shot. Only in America.

The only downside of taxis is that I had two drivers who were maskless and who had taped up plastic between the front and back seats. The plastic, however, did not go all the way to each side and flapped in the wind. Also, the windows of the cars were closed and the air on recycle.  Someone needs to give these guys a brief science lesson to explain how air works. In both cases, I opened the rear windows, and only to the second driver did I finally say “You know this plastic is useless, right?” To my surprise, he said “yes” and, without another word, put on a mask.

I don’t get it; why pretend to be cautious when you’re not fooling anyone? And, on that note, what the hell is up with all these citizens who wear masks only over their mouths or chins?  The only thing I can figure is that it’s some kind of passive-aggressive protest to having to wear them. What makes this unnecessary is that, even when stores say that masks are required, no one is thrown out for not complying. 

I understand that some folks think that they have the right to not wear masks. What appalls me is that they believe they are entitled to ignore the policies of stores and businesses who mandate masks. If a store requires shirts and shoes, would these same so-called patriots demand entrance and service while shirtless or shoeless?  How is this different?  I know that logic and rational thought doesn’t apply any more, but WTF?

I’m still looking for a place. I’d appreciate your letting me know if you hear of anything livable and affordable.

I hope you’ve all been vaccinated and are beginning to emerge from isolation. The psychological and emotional ramifications of this pandemic will be long-term and, in many cases, subtle. I’ve learned that my physical health has been affected as well, or at least my ability to cope with the vagaries of the aging process.

Here’s to all of our health.