Petrified People

We have become petrified people.

‘Pilgrim At the Eternal Gate” by A. Polasek. Bronze, 1924.

We are a people frozen by fear. Immobilized by the specter of illness and death.

This paralysis is fed hourly and daily by the media with death tolls, today’s incidence of Covid-19 in your zip code, and new “hot spots” to avoid. Retreating in fear is the latest indoor sport.

My wife and I just came back from an excellent weekend away. We drove to Winter Park, stayed in a bed and breakfast, visited museums, ate at local restaurants, took in the local color, and came back satisfied and refreshed. Partly because of the hospitality and beauty we took in but mostly because we felt free.

Yes, the influenza is real and serious and we are all at risk. So we took the usual precautions of frequent hand cleaning and respectfully wore our face masks where we got close to other people. But as we walked along an open, grassy park, a man 20′ away looked at my bare face and pointed to his mask, suggesting I should be wearing one too. Back off dude, I’m not taking medical advice from a stranger.

“Do you fear death?” spouts Davy Jones.

We expected the usual wait time when we arrived at the restaurant at 6:00 PM but only about 10% of the tables were taken. It never got busy. I had to ask. “Miss, your food is delicious, your prices are reasonable and your service is great. So, where is everybody?”

She wondered the same thing. There was an announcement that day that state-wide, all people should wear a mask, indoors and out. There were four reservations that night that were canceled.

Cappuccino Chocolate cake.

Rather than operate at reduced capacity some business remained closed until further notice. To our advantage, traffic was light, there were no lines and prices were right. I’m not sure we are ready to fly anywhere yet but our two day excursion was a happy, liberating experience.