Going Up?

Yes. Yes, we are once again going up on COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with almost all the states reporting increases.

And yes, it’s mainly happening in the unvaccinated. But not entirely. Just ask many vaccinated people who visited Provincetown, Massachusetts within the past week or so.

But let’s hold off on even making a booster vaccine for the already vaccinated. You know, in the case of rising COVID-19 breakthroughs. Because, unlike almost two years ago, we now can actually foresee what is going to happen. But let’s ignore it for now because, you know, lack of “data”. And the vaccinated getting sick aren’t dying. Yet. And we don’t know how long the vaccines last. Let’s just wait until the cases are out of control and then scramble our asses around trying to come up with something…you know, like when we were using bandanas as facemasks.

Speaking of which, keep those facemasks handy. Because you’re probably going to be needing them sooner than later. Whether you want to or not.

Enjoy the remainder of the summer. Because the fall, winter and 2022 may not be very pleasant.

What Wasn’t Learned In School

For my teen-age daughter another school year has come and gone. She has officially spent an entire 15 months in school remotely, which is a good twelve months longer than she spent in public online school back in 2017.

I give teachers all the kudos in the world for teaching remotely. It became even more difficult for them when they had to teach both remotely and in person. And my daughter’s teachers did a remarkable job. As did my daughter. Maybe it was the environment she was learning in that helped, but her grades were either the same or slightly better remotely than being in school physically.

With all the changes that occurred this school year, one thing remained constant: the curriculum. I understand the state has certain learning requirements. But for once, especially at the high school level, I’d love to see something taught that students may actually be able to use in the real world one day.

Take biology, for instance. It was a class freshmen had to take. I know it’s great to know the basics about biology, why we get diseases, how body systems function, etc. But is it that important to know all the ins and outs of the body to survive in the world? Is it going to make you a better person? Teach you what to do in looking for your first apartment? How to apply for a job? Biology may be helpful if you’re going on to medical school. But even there you’re bound to take a lot more biology and learn a lot more ins and outs of the body. Maybe teaching them something as simple as knowing when to see a doctor, because I know adults who don’t even know when they should see a doctor about something.

I’ve always found English class to be enjoyable. My daughter not so much. So when she told me they were reading “The Odyssey” and asked why she had to read it, I told her I didn’t know. Because I had to read it once and wondered the same damn thing. So I got thinking “In real life how can we benefit from what happens to Odysseus”? I got nothing.

“Oh my God! My car was stolen!! Shit! What would Odysseus do?”

“Damn! I was just robbed at gunpoint. What would Odysseus do?”

From my memory of the story, and from what my daughter reminded me, he’d probably run away on his boat as fast as he could. Yeah, Odysseus and his gang isn’t going to help anyone in real life.

And after teaching that, the teacher taught about disastrous events for the remaining three months of the year. My daughter got to learn about Chernobyl, which really bothered her, and “War of the Worlds”. Maybe stuff you’d teach in a history class but not something I’d imagine being taught in English.

Environmental Science, if taught correctly, could come in handy with regards to dealing with climate change, but only if someone is there enough to teach it. Which wasn’t exactly the case. And if the work is challenging enough for a high school student. Not something meant for a fifth grader to do.

And then we have good ol’ math. Algebra. Still trying to solve for X after all these years. Linear equations. When do they start teaching kids how to balance a checkbook? Or file taxes? You know, useful every day things. I think my daughter had a few word problems that had to do with percentages. Those may come in handy somewhere in life.

Why can’t people just go to a fucking movie and *enjoy* it, without bitching about who is or isn’t in it? For chrissakes, most of us haven’t stepped foot in a theater for over a year. Be grateful you can physically go see a movie, no matter what race the people cast in it are.

How Will We Know?

When it was announced from the CDC that all vaccinated people could now whip off their facemasks and live life “normally”, of course we knew the non-vaccinated fools took that as their queue to go maskless also. The vaccinated people were wondering how they would know who was vaccinated and who wasn’t. Well, over the weekend, I found out how we will know.

While getting a coffee at Cumberland Farms on Saturday I witnessed a conversation taking place between two older individuals, a man and a woman, less than six feet from me. Luckily I was wearing a facemask.

HER (to him, but she could’ve been talking to anyone who was listening to her–it was clear they didn’t know each other): Oh it’s so good to be free from those masks.

HIM (in his crusty old fart voice): You got that right. I didn’t believe any of that shit anyway.

HER: Are you vaccinated?

Pretty bold question for her to ask.

HIM (scoffing): Hell no. I ain’t putting that shit in my body. It’s all a crock of shit.

HER (maybe with a little sarcasm in her voice): That’s okay. I’m vaccinated. I’ll protect you.

At this point I was rolling my eyes so much they were almost up into my head. I hurried up and went to pay for my coffee so I wouldn’t throw it at the asshole. What I really felt like telling the asshole is that, since he admitted to not being vaccinated, he was the one who needed to be wearing a mask. That’s when I realized this would be the way we would know who is and who isn’t vaccinated. And since the unvaccinated fools are brazen enough to actually admit it, we should get it on record and report them.

On the other hand during a visit to Walmart this weekend, I saw more people there with masks than without. Which tells me one of two things: either there are very honest people who shop at this particular Walmart and they are unvaccinated so they are wearing masks, or they are vaccinated and still want to keep wearing a mask. Either way, it was good to see.

Proceed At Your Own Pace

For my state of Massachusetts masks and restrictions are being lifted this coming Saturday, May 29.

Am I ecstatic? Hell no. Because I know a good portion of the people who will be running around without masks are people who have not been vaccinated. Even in my state, which is one of the highest vaccinated states. No, I do not feel entirely safe. Let’s put it this way: in my immediate family (siblings, their children and their spouses), there are ten of us. Three of the ten are not vaccinated. One is a child under twelve. The other two are adults. The adults have no intention of ever getting vaccinated. That’s just two in my family. Luckily I don’t see them very often. But for the people I see at a store, at a restaurant, name your place, it’s a different story. I’ll look at them and say to myself “there’s a 50/50 chance they’re vaccinated”. And I’ll keep my distance. Even with my mask on.

Am I “vaxxed and relaxed”? Vaxxed yes. But far from relaxed. But since there is little I can do about people not wanting to get vaccinated or the nonvaccinated not wearing masks, I look at it this way:

As a fully vaccinated person, I have the upper hand. I actually have a choice of either wearing or not wearing a face mask. And considering that I know most of the unvaccinated will be choosing to not wear face masks, I choose to still wear one.

For me it’s a wait and see game. I’m going to proceed at my own pace, still wearing a face mask in most public situations, even if not required, for at least the next six months, if not into 2022. Because that’s what I feel comfortable doing. And I’ll see what happens.