Thursday, June 18, 2020

Silly or sorry

Over the past few weeks I put together a family history booklet for my primary kids, working on it here and there in the evenings (between trying to get my manuscript polished up and catching fireflies with the children and a few other projects). Yesterday I met a couple of other ladies from the primary at the church so we could make copies of and assemble the booklet (and make a little package for each of the kids with candy (for a game inside the booklet), and cutout leaves and a glue stick (for a make-your-own-family-tree activity inside the booklet).

Before I got out of the car, I put my mask on.

I had figured that the other woman would as well. She is from Taiwan, I reasoned racistly, so surely she will have respect for masking. But, alas...

"Oh, do we have to wear masks?" she asked. "It's just so silly."

"Well, I'm going to wear a mask," I said. "Better silly than sorry."

She decided that if I was going to wear a mask she would also wear a mask, even though she believes this whole thing to be a hoax. She doesn't know anyone who has died, therefore she can't believe there have been so many deaths. And in Taiwan, her relatives are simply carrying on with life as normal—schools have been open, her elderly parents are out and about at gyms and grocery stores. They aren't remotely concerned.

"Well, they have the numbers to support that behaviour," I said. "We really don't."

She argued that Taiwan was so close to the epicenter in China that it should have been hit hard. I argued that Taiwan is a physical island that closed its border to all foreign nationals (including—perhaps especially including—visitors from mainland China) the minute they saw their cases rising. And they haven't yet allowed anyone into the country (except for its own citizens and then I'm sure they require rather stringent quarantine procedures).

Meanwhile we in the United States feel we can still traipse around the country, attending family reunions, visiting theme parks, and so forth. Is it any wonder the disease is still spreading?

We refuse to wear masks (such a simple thing; look at the serpent), we refuse to stay home, we don't have contact tracing in place...whatever.

Andrew will be teaching in person in the fall. I'm only going to take online classes.

I simply don't see, as a student, how meeting in person is beneficial when there will be no group discussions, when students must sit facing forward, six feet away from any other students, never raising their hand, making all contributions to the discussion through their keyboard. At that point we may as well stay home—where we can all safely unmask—and participate online, right? Like they're taking away any benefit of in-person instruction and are even embracing a teaching model that we know to be ineffective (ie. having the teacher stand in front of the class and drone on and on for an hour (or more)).

Now that's silly (and very well may make us sorry).

While I'm glad that my friend (because she really is my friend) decided to mask for me, in spite of feeling that it was a silly precaution, I am alarmed at how committed she is to the idea of this whole thing being a hoax. I know her family is just living their life in Taiwan and it might not seem like they are having to shelter-in-place, to me it looks like the entire nation is sheltering in place...together.

I don't know. I don't know how this ends. Does it end in herd immunity? Does it end with a vaccine? Does it end by everyone agreeing to actually shelter-in-place until the virus runs its course and has no other bodies to infect (seems like a pretty effective way to battle this, judging from Taiwan and New Zealand)? How many people will end up dead? How many people will end up weakened for life? How many people will lose their jobs?

I don't know what we have to sacrifice to put an end to this, but I do know that sacrifice will be required. What kind of sacrifice will we make? Will we make calculations and decide what sacrifice we will willingly make (for example: requiring everyone to mask when outside their home, a blatant attack on our "liberty")? Or will we require the virus to pry our sacrifice from our cold, dead fingers?

But, you know, whatever you need to do to not feel silly. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a sentence! "Or will we require the virus to pry our sacrifice from our cold, dead fingers?"