"Our walking shoes might finally be ready next Tuesday …"

I have come to presume that all people not wearing a mask in public are undiagnosed AsymptomaticSuperspreaders. I wear my mask to encumber my natural tendency toward AsymptomaticSuperspreading. Since I cannot definitively determine whether I'm carrying, I figure that we're all safer if I presume myself to be a dangerous presence. I know that I feel a whole lot safer when others presume the same about themselves. Sure, there's a chance that I won't immediately infect you if I don't wear my mask, but there's essentially zero chance if I do, so I take it upon myself to protect you. You're welcome. I do wonder why you don't feel compelled to protect me in return. Maybe you believe yourself not to be an AsymptomaticSuperspreader. This belief best preserves your innate ability to become one. Congratulations!

The Muse ordered the breakfast burritos the night before for pick-up at nine the following morning.
I decided that if I needed to make an eight o'clock appointment down in town, I might just as well pick up some breakfast on my way back up the hill. Arriving at the best burrito joint in town reminded me of the old Moray Amsterdam joke about the guy who moves out of his neighborhood without claiming his shoes from the local repair shop. Forty-five years later, he returns, and finding the old claim check still in his wallet, he decides to fetch his shoes. He presents his claim ticket to the by then ancient cobbler who scans the shelves behind the counter before turning back to the man to say, "They'll be ready Tuesday." My order would be five or ten minutes, so I milled around the patio where about a quarter of the people aren't wearing masks. I kept my social distance from their anti-social presence while wondering what those maskless millers were thinking. I still haven't come up with a decent comment to make when encountering the maskless, so I stifle and wonder. I watched myself treat every one of them, those aberrant others, as if they were AsymptomaticSuperspreaders.

I wanted to send each of them home to put on their pants, for naked faces now shock me in a similar way as encountering someone in public in their underpants, or worse. They've become my new clear and present danger, if only because they make themselves so unnecessarily vulnerable. No immunities have been granted or proven yet, so none of the maskless can possibly know if they're invulnerable, which means they are not, or certainly not provably so. I conclude that they just do not know, for if they knew, I figure that they'd be cautious enough to wear a mask. Ignorant souls unaware of their own ignorance or deliberately nonobservant of this newly emerging social norm, still wearing spats long after they've gone out of fashion. They become the butts of my far less than generous jokes.

I visited my nurse practitioner this week for the first time since the sequestration began. I asked how the pandemic has changed her practice and she complained about never having been trained in the gentle art of relying upon rumor and hearsay rather than solid medical fact, for emerging understandings about the virus cannot yet carry the weight of verified accurate facts. She tries to speculate conservatively, to not promote rank conspiracy theories or sound dismissively hopeful, but she cannot provide the quality of information she'd trained to dispense. She's experiencing the limits of all of our understanding. She told of a patient who had convinced himself that he had contracted Covid Toes and he didn't want to be told that he had routine old ordinary athlete's foot. Maybe, everyone secretly desires to be judged special.

It's been one of those weeks where none of us could be 100% certain about much of anything. We survive on nearly pure presumption now, guesses educated to some extend, likely to be second-guessed the following week. I suspect that we're experiencing a mass psychological test to determine our true underlying 'type,' a mass classification exercise. One type presumes everyone to be an AsymptomaticSuperspreader while another presumes that almost nobody is. One wouldn't be caught dead in a public place without a mask while another never wears a mask anywhere they go. One type habitually leaves their nose peeking over the top of their mask while another never, ever would, as if modestly obscuring their naughty nose cleavage. Us and Them in sharper than usual relief.

Six Hundred and Thirteen unique page views passed through PureSchmaltz this week, exposed to
ImaginaryEnemies and a RecoveringGuru. I recounted my history as a Longhair and a few of my more prominent prejudices regarding the Poelease. I recognized sunny side projections as Esteem-ating, maybe a necessary element of our humanness. I caught myself suspended in Timemorelessness and ended the writing week by reporting that I am planning a Breakout to start tackling the ninety percent of the writer's craft I have not nearly mastered yet.

We all live a work in progress now, some determined to return to ordinary time regardless of discouraging indicators and others seriously planning for isolation beyond any foreseeable future. We are, as usual, suspended in time, uncertain of our exact position, relying upon others who might hold no more than rumors we haven't yet heard. Our walking shoes might finally be ready next Tuesday, but probably not.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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