Masked.

There’s still a ruckus from folks about wearing a mass while you’re out and about in public. I don’t really have an issue with it; wearing a mask isn’t a difficult thing to do, it can’t make a situation any worse, and I don’t feel like my freedom is being taken away when I wear a mask.

I don’t understand the whole “freedom taken away” thing. Freedom isn’t a pie. There isn’t a finite amount of freedom. If a person with a different skin color is treated as humanely as I am treated it’s not like we’re going to run out of humanity. If I decided to become a nudist I wouldn’t expect people to just stand around while I browsed an all-you-can-eat salad bar with my junk swinging around in front of me. No shoes, no shirt, no service. We now add “no mask”. It’s not difficult. People need to calm down.

Perhaps folks need to do something other than wrapping a sock around their nose. My Starfleet mask was less than $20, it will last a very long time, and it does the job of its intent quite well. It’s comfortable to wear and I feel good in it. I feel good in it because it looks good but more important I’m doing a good thing by wearing it. And that’s protecting others from the off chance that I have contracted COVID-19.

The CTA has improved their graphics explaining COVID-19 precautions-related expectations of passengers. I was encouraged to see one of the masked cartoons wearing a Gay Pride themed mask. I like the subtlety. I’m not offended by the bilingual messages, but then again, I grew up near the Canadian border. Some signs north of us had EXIT/SORTIE along the Interstate. No one was offended.

Many states are starting to see record numbers of new cases of Coronavirus. Trump’s solution is to stop testing for Coronavirus.

I’m thinking of turning off my alarm clock so every day is a weekend.

Insight.

The tendency for family and friends to share their political beliefs on social media, especially leading up to and since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has been very eye opening for me. A little bit of background; my father never discussed politics. Actually, it was pretty rare for anyone in our family to have a political discussion. Either that or I was shielded from any discussions of this sort. Of course times were different back then and people weren’t as whipped up about these things, though now that I think about it I remember a couple of off-handed comments about “All In The Family” or “Maude”. But seeing what family and friends write on social media today, me included, is rather eye-opening.

I understand that not everyone is going to see eye-to-eye on these things. I get that. To be honest, my “world view” has expanded considerably since moving to The Windy City nearly three years ago. Before leaving Upstate New York I used to enjoy spending Thursday evenings at the airport having a couple of beers with close friends and solving the political problems of the world. The three of us that tended to do this were a good blend: one on the right but not too far right, one on the left but not too far left, and one in the middle leaning socially in one direction and fiscally in another. We kept the conversation civil, even leading up to and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. It’s certainly possible to do this. However, there’s a reason those two aren’t active on social media. They’re sane.

On social media right now I have family by relation and by marriage that are saying the wildest things. Disappointing things. Some things that leave me speechless. Dumbfounded. These particular folk feel that Trump is doing a great job in the White House. Today. Right now.

The only thing that goes through my head is this: da fuq?

Now, I’ll admit I can’t bring myself to watch Fox News for more than 30 seconds without wanting to kick the television across the room. When my husband is watching some sort of news broadcast and Trump comes on with that horrible sing-songy preacher-for-a-penny-wannabe voice he has I become enraged. The man is a moron. Anyone who has to tell you constantly share his superior level of intelligence is actually an insecure idiot. Back in my commuting days I’d listen to right leaning talk radio just to see what others were thinking on various subjects, but even the most pearl-clutching, shat-bit crazy rhetoric at the time had nothing on some of the twisting and turning the folks on Fox News do to plump up Trump today.

And I can’t believe I’m associated, either by relation or by choice, with people that believe that crap.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been drawing a line at maintaining amy relationships. If anything racist is shared I end the online relationship immediately and honestly I question assembly with these folks in real life. And yes, that includes memes where “#BlackLivesMatter” is crossed out and replaced with “AllLivesMatter”. No explanation, no dialog, you’ve made up your mind, I’m outta here, and no need to pass me the cole slaw at the next gathering, we probably won’t be in the same room.

I tried. I attempted to understand. I tried explaining the importance of like this: imagine going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and telling the kids living through their childhood cancer that “Hey, All Children Matter!”. Any compassionate human being wouldn’t ever say that. Just because we’re saying “Black LivesMatter” right now, because it’s been much too long since society has realized this, doesn’t mean other lives don’t have value. It’s just that we’re not going to tolerate this racial injustice, we need to fix it, and something has to be done.

The person I shared this with said everything was fine since Obama was president, and actually President Obama was racist against whites because of Affirmative Action. I didn’t go any further in their diatribe before hitting “Unfriend”.

As I type this I can’t help but think that perhaps not talking about politics may have not been the best approach. I feel less educated on matters than I should be and I’m not good debater on these subjects. I’m not looking to live in a bubble of my personal belief, but I’m looking to have discussions with people that have open minds. I like to think I’m open minded.

But the idea that based on skin color some folks have more value than others? Yeah, I’m not discussing that. It’s just wrong.

No Words.

I wish I could write something profound today about everything that’s going on in the world right now but I’m overwhelmed. My heart breaks when I see photos from Minneapolis, my heart breaks even more when I read the number of people that have passed during this pandemic, and my heart screams when I see what the U.S. government is choosing to focus on right now, mainly the labeling of one tweet from Trump as being factual inaccurate.

I managed a paragraph. That’s all I got.

Reality.

Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of human beings are going to die from COVID-19 before the end of 2020. This is in addition to the 95,000+ Americans that have already died from Coronavirus. This is an unfortunate reality.

The more unfortunate aspect of this reality is that too many Americans have pretty much grown bored with the whole COVID-19 news cycle and feel they’re entitled to nights out at restaurants and bars, nail appointments, board meetings, and movie theatres because that’s the American way! Being able to watch blockbuster movies about killing things in IMAX is a symbol of freedom and no one is going to take away their freedom.

Social distancing is falling apart. Even here in Chicago where Mayor Lori Lightfoot has become little more than a meme with her “No!” stance in a poorly tailored pantsuit, folks aren’t really trying to maintain social distancing as much as they were a couple of weeks ago. My morning walk has become an exercise in frustration as I walk between cars, jump over grassy knolls, etc. to isolate myself from someone walking down a sidewalk, phone in hand, no mask or other protective covering in site, cluelessly schlepping along in their only little bubble of liberty.

I’m determined to keep me and my family and friends off the statistics board of COVID-19 deaths. I used to be focused on doing my part to keep that worldwide statistic as low as possible, but because American society is what it is, it’s now every man or woman for themselves.

The latter half of 2020 is going to make the first half of 2020 look like a picnic. History has shown us, people are talking, but few people are listening.

But hey, freedom.

Precautionary.

If I can fly an airplane at 150 knots wearing a mask of sorts to keep me and my instructor safe, you can certainly wear a bandanna or mask while walking around the Walmart.

For the love of god, too many people are not being smart.

I Can’t Quit You.

Twitter’s “Fail Whale” graphic from its early days.

We really have some poor choices available to us in this here 21st century. You know, our telephone calls in the 20th century were of a better voice quality than what we have today? That’s right, when we “let our fingers do the walking“ and we talked to friends and family over 20th century telephone equipment, the reliability of a connection and the quality of our speaking voices was better than what we experience today, even if we are still using a land line and a corded phone.

Progress?

Society has also shifted to social media for things far beyond sharing little bits of life like “I just had the most awesome hamburger!”. Government officials use Twitter to declare war. Family members have moved their entire lives to Facebook. Geeks used to talk about their geeky interests on Google+. If there’s late breaking news you’re most likely going to read about it on social media first and then let the news media fill in the details (hopefully).

Yesterday I tried to stop reading Twitter. I didn’t delete my account because I was still working on downloading my data but I told myself if I could go one month without touching the platform I would probably delete my account.

Didn’t even make it a day.

We live close enough to the CTA tracks to be able to hear announcements to the platforms when we have our windows open. Even though I haven’t ridden a train in over a month, my spidey-sense knew something was amiss and then I heard an announcement. The trains were stopped for a sizable chunk of the line and mumble mumble mumble. I instinctively turned to Twitter to see what was going on, because as a Chicago I follow the CTA Twitter feed to see what’s going on with the trains.

Now, there’s other places I can see what’s going on with the CTA, however, the fastest response is usually on their Twitter feed. It’s not like I’m looking to ride the train but in these idle, lockdown times, I was curious as to what was going on.

So I fired up Twitter.

It was then I saw several tweets about airplanes from my pilot friends and I also saw why the trains were stopped and I caught a couple of nifty little musings from folks amongst the 600 or so accounts I follow on Twitter.

It was a beautiful day in Chicago, it would have been a great day to fly, but the airplanes are grounded for non-essential flights. It was good to see aviation stuff from aviators.

I believe Twitter has been a major contributor to the negative conditions we are experiencing in the world today. I think the basis of why the platform was created is sound, I just think it was ahead of its time. While I have major concerns with the uneven application of Twitter’s Rules of Conduct policies, I also believe American society was not equipped to handle Twitter, and much of the other technology we have available to us today. The evolution of technology has outpaced the evolution of our society. This leads to bad actors, weaponization, and general misuse of the tools we have at our disposal.

So I went back on Twitter via Tweetbot and am tweaking it again to make the best of it.

It is my intent to share my displeasure with Twitter’s uneven application of their Rules of Conduct whenever and wherever appropriate. Without users Twitter would have nothing. Without loud voices trends can never be changed.

In the meanwhile, I’ll know what’s going on with the trains and I’ll be able to chat with the friends I’ve made on the platform.

Hope.

I’m in a mood. So here’s a picture of an airport from space. It’s in Ohio.

Clueless.

The railroad bridge near us is undergoing reconstruction. At the major intersection up the street are a bunch of signs showing people a reasonable detour to their destination. The signed detour takes folks over major streets that are designed to handle the extra traffic, not that there’s a lot of traffic on the streets these days. Yet, cars and trucks of all sizes barrel down through, ignoring the posted detour and end up at the barricades. They then try to maneuver down our street, which is a very narrow, one way street. They make a lot of noise and risk sideswiping the vehicles parked along the street.

Read the signs.

But no one in today’s American society really reads signs, do they. Stay home to stop the virus from spreading? “I need to get my nails done”! Don’t wipe out the supermarkets, there’s plenty to go around. “I need 96 rolls of toilet paper this week!”.

I’m so very tired of having to accommodate rampant stupidity.

Beyond the fact that Trump is a rambling moron at every press conference, and the fact the news media continues to cover him live when he brings absolutely no informational value to the table, I’m really tired of having to accommodate my life to a reductive existence to make sure all the stupid people are able to stumble through this crisis, or life for that matter, unimpeded.

I was hopeful folks would become sensible and do smart things, kind of like what we read about happening during the two World Wars, but it seems like selfish will continue to win and stupidity will prevail and anyone with more than a handful of IQ points to rub together will have to put up with the folks running around in a panic over toilet paper while worshipping a spray tanned moron.

God help us all. Follow the signs.

Shopping.

My husband and I walked down to the local Trader Joe’s in search of a loaf of rye bread. St. Patrick’s Day is Tuesday and we’re going to celebrate by enjoying a couple of reuben sandwiches. If we can find some Guinness we’ll have one or two at home, since all sit-down restaurants and bars are closed in Illinois until March 30.

There were a total of ten loaves of bread left and none of them rye. My husband said he can improvise with what was available and he picked up a loaf of bread.

There wasn’t much else to choose from. All canned goods, dairy, frozen foods, meat, and produce was gone. We did find a bag of potatoes, so we grabbed that and there was a decent amount of chocolate chip granola bars left.

As we checked out of Trader Joe’s, a person at the door thanked us for stopping by and offered us a rose. I appreciated the gesture.

I still don’t get the insane hoarding that’s been going on but I use the activity as a barometer for what the general American public is really like at the core. As I quipped on Twitter, imagine the reaction if extraterrestrials made their presence known.

People would really go crazy for toilet paper then.

Insanity Ends. 2019.

And we come to the end of Daylight Saving Time in 2019. The next time 1:59 AM rolls around, the clocks will then advance to 1:00 AM. Tomorrow, “noon” will be that much closer to when the sun is at its highest point in the sky for this part of the country at this time of the year.

We will no longer be faking extra daylight by moving the clocks artificially ahead.

I find it much easier to adapt to Standard Time. My body will be in sync by the end of the day tomorrow and the feeling of jet lag I’ve had since DST began last spring will quickly subside. While others complain about the “early” darkness, I will feel energetic and centered.

There are some studies that find our bodies are looking for a 25-hour day on a planet with 24-hour long days. Moving the clocks around to fake us into thinking are days are longer is not the answer. The cows don’t like it, the farmers don’t like it, and it doesn’t save us any energy.

I pray that I’ll see the day when Daylight Saving Time is a thing of the past within my lifetime. Judging by the idiocy that’s accepted as normalcy these days, my hopes for such sanity are quickly fading.

At least I can sleep in tomorrow morning without losing an hour.