Duo.

The United States government wasn’t really designed for a two party system. The founders didn’t even write about parties in the Constitution. They didn’t want two factions going at it for political purposes.

But here we are.

During family night watched the Jon Stewart movie “Irresistible”.

The movie is well done, packed wall to wall with familiar faces, and is a satirical look at what the two-party system has come to in the Trump era. The plot was not as predictable as I predicted it to be. At the end of the movie we all declared that we enjoyed the movie very much.

Recommended.

Spacing.

So this evening we decided to go for a walk about the neighborhood and maybe have something to eat, if the situation fit our personal standards for personal safety. We are both approaching the current state of the pandemic as if no one else is looking out for us, so sitting inside a restaurant is completely off our radar right now, but we would consider eating in an open air area if there was plenty of precautions in place.

Many of the pubs and eateries in the neighborhood are still closed or delivery only, be we stopped at The Rambler, as they have outdoor seating and there was a wide selection of empty tables, and all their seating was spaced well apart.

The precautions in place were very good. If you weren’t wearing a mask you weren’t allowed in, and they had two large bouncers confirming this. As we sat down at one of the well spaced tables outside, we were told “you are not allowed in the restaurant without a mask. This includes going to the washroom”. All of the workers were wearing masks, full-time and properly. (No chin or skip-the-nose approaches). Food was served on paper plates, beverages in plastic cups, and they provided individually wrapped single use utensils and napkins. No shared ketchup or mustard bottles, everything was single serve.

This is how you do it, America.

It has been since early March since I enjoyed a draft beer so it was nice to have that change of pace. The food was good and plentiful. Earl and I put our masks on every time anyone brought something or checked on us. We left a nice tip for their hard work and I wrote a short note thanking them for trying to adhere to sensible pandemic precautions.

I was still a little uncomfortable with the situation but I was as comfortable as I could be because it appeared they were doing everything right.

I did go to the washroom at one point, there were people in the bar and they were well spaced apart. Everyone was wearing a mask.

Overall, the experience was great and the best it could be. It was an interesting adventure. I wish the hot spot states could take note and start taking the same precautions. This could be the new normal for a while.

Time.

So we have tomorrow off from work to celebrate American Independence Day. Since the fourth falls on a Saturday we get the third off. It all makes sense.

Except, I don’t feel like it’s the Fourth of July. With this pandemic thing going on I’m still waiting for Easter and Memorial Day to roll around. I’ve lost all track of time. I find myself thinking it’s the weekend when it’s Tuesday. The long years of the Trump administration that happen every week, coupled with this weird pandemic routine shtick we’re all doing right now has me so very confused.

Now, I suppose I could go right out and start running around like everything is normal and start celebrating my patriotism like a true ‘Merican, but the thing is, I don’t want to die. Not yet. If I were to die, I would die a very happy man, but there’s still much more I’d like to accomplish. I’d like to see a happy world again before I die. I don’t believe we live in a happy world right now. Actually, it’s quite presumptuous for me to speak for the entire world, since I live in a very small corner of a smallish state named Illinois, but with all the information blasts I get on a minute by minute basis I feel like the world as a whole isn’t very happy right now.

I would love to see statistics around any increases in drug or alcohol use since 2017 in the United States. I think it would be a fascinating statistic.

So we don’t really have plans for the holiday weekend other than a sunset flight tomorrow night, but I didn’t need a day off to do that. We’ll probably go for a ride out on the prairie in the car, go through a drive thru or two, and look at the clear blue sky. Maybe we’ll watch fireworks from afar. I miss the days of handing out glow sticks to all the kids gathered to watch the fireworks from the village green.

I have no sense of time. I think I just took a nap. I’ll finish my beer. Happy, erm, Thursday.

Flat.

Earl and I had a nice ride out on the prairie today. The corn is coming along and looks a little higher than the knee, which is where it should be come the beginning of July.

We started our ride in southern Wisconsin. It’s a nice area of the country as well but not as flat as the prairies of Illinois, which isn’t as flat as the plains on the other side of the Mississippi.

I took this photo because of the storm in the distance. It was to our east as we made our way south on Illinois 251. When we finally turned to head back home in Chicago we drove through some wet spots on US Route 30 but never hit any rain.

Perhaps I need to spend time at night on the prairie in July. Enjoying the landscape at night during a thunderstorm would be optimal.

Culture Shifts.

Storm.

We took a drive into Northwest Indiana today. We had no plan in mind other than a change of scenery. We’ve lived in the Midwest for nearly three years but I feel like our exploration adventures are still in their infancy.

We stopped at a Target in Valparaiso, Indiana to use the washroom. Unlike establishments in Illinois, there are no big signs on the front doors requiring the use of masks, just a few 8 1/2 x 11 printed signs reminding customers the importance of Social Distancing. Either the virus has passed over or gone beyond Indiana or folks there feel like wearing a mask is an infringement on their freedom.

I tend to think it’s the latter.

Earl and I wore masks while in the store. Approximately a quarter to a third of the other customers were doing the same. The folks in masks seemed to be doing the most social distancing. We used the washroom and then left the building.

Our drive was pleasant. We passed through a couple of thunderstorms along the way but nothing outrageous. When it was time to head home I jumped onto Interstate 65. I’ve always known this roadway to be under construction and it didn’t disappoint today. The construction area was flooding in the rain causing a traffic backup. I dodged around floating construction barrels. I didn’t know they were able to float.

The ride was most enjoyable because we always enjoy our time together talking and watching the countryside go by. The isolation of the car is an added bonus.

Douglas.

Tonight Earl and I watched Hannah Gadsby’s latest Netflix special. It is called “Douglas”.

We both found it very funny and very enjoyable. I love the way Hannah communicates with her audience. I get her. I get her humour. There’s a whole spectrum of comedy out there and Hannah sits right in a place I can identify with. It’s a wavelength thing.

Is “identify with” correct syntax? I think with is a preposition and if you’re writing informally ending a sentence with a preposition is completely acceptable. I tend to write informally. Even when I put a “u” in humour.

I do recommend “Douglas”.

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter. To say it any other way is to deny there’s a racism problem in our society. It’s a racism pandemic. It’s a bigger pandemic than COVID-19 and it’s been raging for too many years.

Black Lives Matter.

Shore Leave.

So I took the day off to get a breath of fresh air. My husband and I are back from a nearly 12-hour road trip across the prairies of eastern and central Illinois. For the record, we did not choose LSD for this trip.

Now, we went for a much shorter ride last weekend, and it was a nice taste of what I was needing to clear my head, but the going out for 12 hours today was just what the doctor ordered. The sky was blue with puffy clouds, the roads were relatively clear of traffic, and the winds brought us a pleasant breeze as we drove south on Illinois 1 in our Jeep Cherokee.

Along the way I stopped for some Starfleet photos; it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a day of shore leave, so I thought it was prudent to take some photos of me in my Starfleet Shore Leave uniform.