Strange Times in Cootieville

Today was an odd day.

My spouse and I decided to go for a walk to the mailbox about half a mile from our place. Instead of cutting through the parks and walking the greenbelt, we decided to walk along the main road in our neighborhood.

It was a nice day, blue skies, not too cold, windy, or anything extreme. Just a nice day, generally.

We don’t wear masks when we are outside. Mainly because, well, science? There were no ther humans on the street within a quarter mile or so.

Until we saw the kid. But he wasn’t really a kid. Maybe late 20s. Dark hair, grocery bags in hand from the local Nugget grocery store. And a super large mask.

It wasn’t surprising to us to see someone wearing a mask as they walked outdoors, alone. Or to see masks on drivers in theri own cars, with no one else in the vehicle. We typically just shake our heads and wonder how much the person actually knows about immunology and the transmission of viruses.

What WAS unusual was how the kid-not-really-a-kid reacted to us. We were walking toward him on the sidewalk. When he saw us he stopped dead on the sidewalk then half ran onto the driveway of someone’s house. He was clearly terrified.

The last time I saw someone react like that to others was when we played a tag game in kindergarten and the person who was “it” had “cooties.”

But here was an adult male, twitching and obviously in distress.

I couldn’t have scared him more unless I ran towards him waving my arms and shouting ooga-booga! (For the record, I did not do this.)

Meanwhile, both the spouse and I were puzzled and somewhat concerned about this person’s reaction.

I can assure you we take the spread of infection seriously and would have provided this person more than six feet in a courteous passing of each other on the road.

I’m just wondering how much that person knows about science. Obviously, not very much.

I suppose there will be those who will read this commentary and assume I’m being flip. I’m not.

We were, however, more concerned about that person’s mental health than anything else. It must be hell living in a world where everyone has cooties and even though you have lots of options such as handwashing, Vitamin D, rest, and other immune system supports, you think the mask is your only option and that even thought you are wearing a mask, it’s not enough.

I wonder how people handled flu season every year, before this year? Flu isn’t magical.

You should have been washing your hands last year too.

Photo by Burst on

I’m hoping that the scientists and the armchair policy people realize what they’re doing to anxious people out here. It isn’t good.

Oh, and the new phrase for Californians now is no longer “Have a nice day.” It’s “Be safe.” Sometimes it includes a “Be well.”

No one cares about having a nice day anymore. Just make sure you don’t breathe on that guy in the street. He might have a heart attack.

Be safe out there. For real.

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