Outdoor Dining Has Been Shut - Scribbles and Tunes

…and other crazy stories.

The lockdown pandemic has manifested in different forms throughout the world. Here, in California, it exists in one of the more extreme versions. Many businesses, restaurants, schools, and churches are shuttered. Hotels are supposed to rent rooms to essential workers. Restaurants are only open for take-away. Churches can only meet outdoors. Schools are mostly virtual and remote (remote learning is the new catch-phrase; but, in reality, that translates to “remote from learning”).

To be honest, I think the whole thing is a crock. I realize that statement draws ire from some people, but I really don’t care. What’s irrritated-at-Christopher Bob going to do? Not buy my books? That transaction is extremely low on my priority scale these days. I agree that the virus is real, that it transmits, infects and affects. And, that it does kill some people. Each death is a sad event, because we are not islands (see: John Donne). However, the cold statistics don’t warrant the extreme reactions we’re seeing. They simply don’t.

What’s fascinating about it in my home county is the incredible lack of transparency in regard to our local statistics. Every week, the health department trots out the new infected numbers, breaks them down by zip code, gender, ethnicity, age, and business sector, and then does a little Henny Penny dance at the zoom podium. In response, everyone shivers in fear and affirms the ongoing paralysis of businesses, families, individuals, children… life. Also, a great deal of money is spent, has been spent, and will be spent on various outreach programs, messaging, business subsidies, rent subsidies.

The problem with this is that the weekly numbers are incomplete. Yes, X number of people have tested positive, but of that X, what percentage are asymptomatic? What age groups tend to be mostly asymptomatic? Yes, Z number of people died, but of that Z, what percentage died of pre-existing conditions? Did any actually die of a gunshot wound, car accident, falling off a roof (see: San Diego et al) but happen to have COVID, which resulted in the death certificate reading COVID as cause of death (because that releases more money)? And, by the way, what are the current numbers for substance abuse, child abuse, mental disorders, and suicide? How are endless hours on Zoom effecting children? Any reason why you don’t want to talk about all of those angles?

Incomplete discussion. Resulting in edicts that do not reflect reality. Which means people suffer even more. For lack of truth, the people perish…

In a morbidly lighter note, the local rag in our county just posted a story about the fact that, while outdoor dining has been shut down, people are still eating takeout food outdoors and in public. You think so, Sherlock? We’ve had lovely, sunny weather lately, so of course people are taking their food containers and promptly sitting down on the nearest curb or bus stop bench they can find to eat.

Local regulators run the gamut from the health department bemoaning the situation and wishing people would eat the food at home or the hospitality association suggesting that municipalities create new regulations for designated outdoor dining spots with trash receptacles, tables, distance guidelines, etc.

Sadly hilarious. The outdoor dining spot idea reminds me of something else. What is it? Oh, right. Buildings that would allow indoor dining. What a novel idea. I think they’re called restaurants.

I’m relatively confident that the local police will soon be arresting people for eating outdoors. “Mrs. Donnelly, you’re under arrest for eating a custard eclair while sitting on this retaining wall. Put your hands behind your back, old woman; you’re going to jail. And I’m going to have to confiscate the eclair as evidence.”

At least the police will not have to spend as much money at doughnut shops.

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