Falstaff: To die is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav’d my life.
Shakespeare: Henry IV, Part 1 Act 5, Scene 4
We got word this week that our favorite motel in the mountains is re-opening today. We’re resisting the urge to rush over there – the restaurants aren’t open for dining in yet, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open and I fear it will be overrun. Blue Ridge Parkway, last I heard, is still closed.
It appears that there are many people volunteering to be guinea pigs, and I’m happy to let them. It’s not a matter of fear for me, but rather a sense that I don’t have to be first in line for anything. There’s a message in that bell curve, and I’ll stay comfortably ensconced on my side of the curve for a little while longer. Kathy & I are informally using our next haircut as our benchmark. Salons open in Phase II, which should be another 2-3 weeks. That will give plenty of time to see how the impatient ones make out. In the meantime, our weight keeps sliding down the scale, so the longer we avoid restaurants the better off we are. We’re getting plenty of exercise and fresh air and getting lots of long-overlooked projects out of the way. Making the best of looking at the bright side, so to speak.
This is the last photo I’ve taken for this project, but as much as I said the other day that I was tired of it, I think I might continue, just perhaps with a different theme. I figure we aren’t going anywhere so I might as well make new photos. Maybe I’ll work on photos from outside the house instead of inside. At the very least I’ll try to continue posting some kind of daily photo, even if it is one from the archives. I’m working diligently on trying to finish up with my unprocessed photos and hope to have that project wrapped up soon. There are plenty of treasures in that pile to share, too!
The following started as a comment on Earl’s blog, but I thought I would refine it a bit and share it here. For Whatever Its Worth, as they say.
I’ve not been a regular viewer of (NY) Governor Cuomo’s briefings, but I have gained a good deal of respect for his candor and leadership. His state is the epicenter of the virus in this country and New York is fortunate to have him in that position. I only wish we could say the same of other places in the country.
I don’t remember the exact words, but someone recently described the leadership dilemma – in particular as it pertains to the Coronavirus but also about most other things – as something along the lines of “well-meaning people attempting to make the best choice between difficult options with limited information about something no one knows enough about.” Close enough – you get the idea.
The question of “how much is a life worth” is a difficult one at best. The best answer to that question depends on which Pandora’s Box you open first. Or last. Answering that one life is “priceless” is commendable, but if that is the case, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to avoid other preventable deaths? If so, we should outlaw all dangerous habits and behaviors. Smoking kills but it is legal. How about junk food? Pick your poison. Personal choice is in another box. Everyone should be able to determine his or her level of risk and act accordingly, but there are limits to this freedom. Does your choice to wear or not wear a mask take precedence over my right to not get your germs? And then the economic costs are huge. The government programs to help those who have lost their jobs are a drop in the bucket for those who are struggling to pay rent and buy food with no promise of when or if their jobs will return. And that assumes that the money will go to the right people, which is questionable.
A certain number of people die from many things each year. The Coronavirus is just one of them. I’d love to see the amount of time, attention and money being thrown at this virus spent to eliminate all or most of them, but that will never happen. The trillions of dollars being spent to prop up our economy – at unknown cost to our futures – could be spent on countless other things – ending our dependence on fossil fuels or improving our food supply to get rid of the crap that makes people sick are two examples. A longer term approach would ultimately save even more lives than this virus will take. Unfortunately, we are in a world that reacts to the short-term crisis and foists the long-term crisis off on someone else.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to this dilemma. We each have to make a choice as to which experts we are going to pin our hopes to, hope that we have the right leaders and hope that the decisions they make are the ones that work out the best. It’s too late to make second guesses or point fingers about what has or hasn’t happened. But hopefully we can look forward, get through this, and use the lessons we’ve learned to be better prepared for the next time. I’d like to think that could happen but am just cynical enough to expect that it won’t.
I’m amused this morning by the story of the 5-year old boy in Utah who had an argument with his mother because she refused to buy him a Lamborghini. With $3 in his wallet he got in the family car and headed for California to buy his own. He might have made it too, if it wasn’t for a suspicious Utah Highway Patrolman. Way to take matters into your own hands!
Someone wondered how he learned to drive, and someone else speculated “X-Box!”
Every indication points toward the governor starting his “Phase I” plan this coming weekend. Assuming that is the case, Friday will mark the end of this specific project. I love the idea of posting some kind of daily photo, and my intention is to keep posting daily. I’m hoping to get out and about a bit more and would like to take photos of something other than things inside my house! I’ve been unearthing some lovely “gems” from past years as I work on processing my old unprocessed photos, so I may post some of them as well. I’ll probably also continue to to supply a stream of drivel as we go along.
Forty days and forty nights – seems we might have been able to sail around the world in that time (oh, that was 80, sorry)! The good news is that not spending money on travel means that we have more money to spend on future travel. The bad news is that the markets have eaten some of our travel money!
We’ve had a number of conversations lately about when and where we’ll be able to go when the time comes. We were supposed to be on a Southwest US road trip right now. We have 17 states plus Hawaii left, and have routes mapped out to catch all of them. The current hope is that we can head to a family birthday/wedding/July 4 blowout in Ohio then extend on into either the Northwest or the Northeast, saving the Southwest until fall or next spring.
Our big issue now is not so much fear of the Coronavirus itself, but what I am calling “Pandemic Panic.” It’s all the ‘stuff’ that people are going to feel like they have to do to either comply with health department requirements or the expectations of the Perpetually Paranoid. I’d prefer to not have to wear a mask into a grocery store in North Dakota (not that they are requiring it, this is hypothetical) or a museum in Oregon (again hypothetical) but if the choice comes down to going with compromises or staying home, I think we’ll figure out a way to go.
The October cruise we have booked? Another story completely. It depends on many factors: Are the ports in Canada going to open (they are currently closed until July, and the cruise season only goes through October)? Is the port of Boston going to allow cruise ships to take on and discharge passengers? What is the onboard experience going to be like? We need to send them our money by early July, and I just don’t think we’ll know enough by July to make that kind of commitment. So October might be the perfect time for another road trip and get our 49th state. We’ll see! 🙂
Our bartender buddy dropped off his latest creation the other day. It’s a strawberry syrup made from fresh strawberries, sugar and 100-proof vodka. It makes a yummy addition to a gin & tonic, and would also be good in just tonic or soda water, probably in ginger ale or cola. He recommends it with vodka, rum or bourbon. I may try a few things to see how it goes. I used some of the Old Fashioned syrup in a salmon glaze, I wonder how this strawberry syrup would taste on pancakes or waffles. Hmmmm…. 🙂
Our stay-at-home orders are set to expire on Friday, when we will hopefully begin a phased approach to re-opening businesses. Haircuts are still probably a month or more away, but being able to get back to the malls (that we don’t go to) may ease some of the crowds in other places we do go to!
What if they had a protest but nobody came? A Facebook group attempted to have a “Reopen Meck” demonstration in uptown Charlotte yesterday, but more people from the press showed up than demonstrators. And it sounded like most of the demonstrators were driving by in their cars. I guess that’s better than the gun-toting crowd that showed up in Michigan, but not much better, IMO.
Some of the parks have reopened and the malls are supposed to reopen next week. Hopefully people will start going back to work soon so us retired folks can have our weekday grocery store and farmer’s market runs to ourselves again. 😉
We put a whopping 152 miles on our car during the month of April. I walked 51 miles in the month. If it wasn’t for the 3 times we went for a “ride in the country” I might have walked farther than I drove! I think some of my neighbors drive more than 50 miles in a month just going to Walmart and back. 🙂
One of my main goals for our unplanned “sabbatical” has been to complete processing of all of the unprocessed “picks” in my Lightroom catalog. I’ve been chipping away at the backlog since we retired almost 2 years ago (time flies!), and at the beginning of March had just about 2000 photos. As of today I am down to just under 700 in two years plus a few stragglers from my current photo-a-day project: 2007 (477) & 2008 (167) and 2020 (47). There are another 1000 or so photos that are frames from attempts at HDR or Panorama, and I’ve found that current software tends to do a very good job even with old files, so I may play around some with that later.
Finishing those photos won’t mean anything to anyone but me, but it’s a place I’ve wanted to get to for a long time. I may write in more detail about my organizational structure some other time, but I’d be surprised if more than a fingerful of people really cares about it. 😉
In a cruel twist of irony, an organizer of a North Carolina group calling on the state to ease its coronavirus restrictions was unable to attend two rallies because…she has tested positive for the disease. She (thankfully) is “asymptomatic” but still. Irony is irony.