A penny for your thoughts.

The first 2000

Two thousand people died from covid in the USA yesterday. It’s the highest daily casualties number since covid started spreading. Our small town is not spared, the amount of people infected tripled in a week to 83 cases. The wave has not passed yet and we are expecting the numbers to grow. Our opera theme this week is Shakespeare and we set to watch Romeo and Juliet by Gounod. Sad sad sad story, this one set in the eighteen century in elaborate costumes style Court Marie Antoinette. The settings for that ageless story could take place in any époque says Carolle, reminding me of West Side Story, our modern Romeo and Juliet. I found it difficult to watch, not in the mood for tragedy and in need of a happier ending. Disney should remake the script. I keep busy, my attention deficit disorder helping, jumping from one project to the other, small tasks requiring little attention, compartmentalizing ideas until they fit together like a 3D puzzle, into a finished product, a vision or a thought. We took a walk again, on Main Street to the trail behind the box store, and up the woods. This time, instead of taking the trail leading towards the Mill, we took the left trail in the direction of route 4. There were remnants of railroad ties left over from the time railway cars delivered to factories. The trail ends at route 4 but can be seen going further, all the way through town. It would make a wonderful urban trail, a bit of cleaning up would help, unscrupulous people chucked TVs and other unnatural objects and have used parts of the trail as a dump site. Our town has so much untapped potential for urban development, with little new infrastructure to be built, using the existing structures that are underused now, like the empty factories left semi abandoned. It has been done in other towns all over the country. It could be done here as well, if there was a will.

Easter Sunday came and went with a car drive around the country side, something we had not done since getting back to Connecticut, our entertainment today consisted of Don Pasquale, a very funny comic Opera reminiscent of Comedia del Arte or Boccaccio, after that, a recent remake of Jesus Christ Super Star, finishing with Colombo, the Monk opposite.

We woke up with new numbers from covid and its havoc on society. Inching towards twenty thousand, the death count rises together with the number of infections. Today Carolle went to another big box store up the hill. She was disappointed to witness the lack of precautions taken by the company to protect their employees and the customers. Practically no workers wore masks and to make matters worse, did not respect distances, there were no shield at the cashier, overall a dangerous lackluster attitude towards the danger we have all been faced since the start of the pandemic. It’s mind boggling to see folks risking their lives, when the danger is lurking everywhere, so foolishly. I went to the official town website and saw a generic link to a page listing several states and federal announcements, some dead links as well, and a link to a cookie cutter Declaration Of  Local State Of Emergency. I did not see a front page message urging people to take precautions or giving advice, nothing particular to our town, business as usual, or so it seems looking at the opening page of the site. Where is the leadership? The numbers are climbing in our town with 110 recorded infected people from zero three weeks ago. The covid wave is expected to hit us in a few weeks, wouldn’t it be good for the folks in charge to take a more proactive actions, like making sure the stores apply recommended safety measures. Unfortunately, our town government is not alone, the chain to harness covid has many broken links and the numbers of infections continue to rise and they will rise until a unified plan is adopted. Republicans elected officials are starting to complain about the shutdown and ask for a speedy return to normal. One of our elected politician, owner of half dozen non essential businesses, wants to reopen sooner than later, money lost is more important than lives lost, it seems. He is not alone, nine governors, all Republicans, are pushing against total lockdown.

Carolle is done with cleaning the tiles grout, it took a week to finish the task. Now she is building the LEGO Guggenheim that my daughter gifted some years ago. She is pretty fast and will finish quickly, but for now, she is having a good time, not thinking about covid. I was thinking about covid, angered by the scene at the big store down Main Street but today’s Opera quickly made me forget. Finally, after weeks of Opera and hours of Wagner, I got to see a work by Mozart. And what a production, set on Coney Island and the amusement park, together with flame eaters, sword swallowers, contortionist, a tattooed man, all performing around the singers, in a Cosi Fan Tutte that Mozart would have been proud of. I had a good laugh when Carolle told me about the plot. It’s a recurring theme in Opera she explained, folks disguised themselves and appears as someone else all the time, to lovers, would be lovers or whomever the story needs. Gullibility rides a long way with operatics. The story takes place in the 1950’s with all the appropriate wardrobe, jeans, Bobby socks, sequin jackets and a lemon yellow zoot suit (one of my favorite color), worn by the schemer in chief. I sat and enjoyed the whole show, Mozart’s music in the background discreetly ceding the show to the singers. Carolle had seen this production a couple of years back, first time for me, we both enjoyed it immensely.

But covid is never very far and the upsetting scene at the market surfaced again with images of an unprotected couple nonchalantly strolling through aisles, touching products and shuffling them on shelves, not respecting social distancing. More infuriating and frightening are the posts on digital town boards, from people still not believing the crisis is serious or thinking that they don’t have to follow recommendations. I should not get involved in those conversations but I do, pushing against made up conspiracy threads and other nonsense aimed at belittling covid or the fight against it. There are still people, after the daily announcement of infections and deaths, who think covid is like the flu, and acting accordingly, ignoring safety recommendations. Of course, the deniers and covid conspiracies trumpeters (pun intended) are all apologists for the president and his handling, or lack of, the crisis.

Stubborn to the point of stupidity, that’s what people thinking it’s a hoax or that it will not affect them or whatever nonsense, are. Teenagers die here and in Europe from catching it, no one is immune. You would think today’s number would bring some sense into their thinking or actions. Twenty thousands people have died from covid, and not all death are counted. Conspiracists question the number, not believing, saying that hospitals state covid as a reason for deaths, just to get more founding from the federal government. With attitudes like that, we are not out of confinement before a long time. News reach us that the church bishop claiming that god would defeat covid and  church gathering should go on as usual, died of covid yesterday. His wife, also infected, is now warning parishioners that covid is real and it’s a threat to their lives. A bit late, how many other folks from that house of prayer are infected or have infected others? The Supreme Court refused to let some election be postponed amid the pandemic, forcing citizens to literally risk their lives for the right to be represented. Is that what the founders of our country envisioned for the future of the country they had fought so hard to create? Six thousand cars lined up in Southern California to receive emergency food, not even three weeks into the semi lockdown. This was only anecdotal as it’s happening in different degrees of severity In other part of the country.
On the other end of the spectrum, another news story tells us that a business owner, with a net worth over 4 billions, and employing 45000 workers, is furloughing them early, as a favor (so they’d be first on line at the unemployment office), to collect unemployment, after sending a memo telling them their health benefits will be terminated, he must have had pushback from his public relations team as the memo was rescinded afterward.

I was not much in the mood to watch Opera these past couple of days, yesterday was Dvořák’s Rusalka, beautiful scenery but another sad story, and today, Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky an adaptation from Pushkin, another rather sad and dark theme, that I could not concentrate on. My thoughts and my aim for the day was  to understand why our official website front page does not have one thing about recommend etiquette during the pandemic. Idleness is dangerous as we know, specially when one post sensitive town issues on town boards. I have the feeling I’m not making friends, having had very few answers on a posts featuring health workers getting sick and dying of covid. Nine thousands so far, twenty seven died. I admit that I hijacked the post to point out the importance of protective covering, together with a question about the town website which I found lacking of urgent messaging. Why did one have to fish deep into a website to find safe advice on staying healthy and not contaminating others, why not inform folks of the proper etiquette during a pandemic as deadly as covid is. Why not having that information on the front page? Wouldn’t it make sense? I sent a message to the Mayor’s social board and I am waiting for an answer.
The Governor has mandated the use of masks within forty eight hours. The decree is for the public in shopping areas as well as for workers.
On the covid daily graph, the line is going straight up, infected folks have reached six hundred thousand cases in the United States alone, two millions in the world. The global number of deaths is hundred thirty five thousand. Twenty nine thousand people have died here in our country. Still, there are people like the fully armed band of white guys who besieged the state Capitol of Michigan because the governor’s orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the coronavirus outbreak, refusing to abide to their civic duties. The image of that group of white guys, armed to the teeth, on the steps of the building, left unfettered makes one think of what if. What if that group of people was not white, what if that group was, let say, African American, would such a group allowed to roam the Capitol armed with AK 47 and other military grade weaponry? Why should this group of people acting in total defiance of public safety be let to freely roam the streets? Is there a thing called civic duty, and what does it mean? Well, hold and below, yes, there is such a beast, it’s called Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities, it’s on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. One of the civic duty is for citizens to “Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws”.
With citizens rights comes citizens responsibilities, it’s not one without the other, the second amendment is not designed to allow folks to break laws. The laws should be applied to all, equally and without favoritism or privilege, and citizens should obey the law without ganging on the Capitol steps. Why were they not arrested?

The leader of our country is acting more and more like a king, claiming total power over Congress, threatening to adjourn both chambers, something no president has done before, claiming he has power over States, using daily covid briefings to further his political agenda and campaigning from the pulpit, opportunistically showing propaganda video montages of himself and all the good stuff he has done so far. The Grand Old Party, the political right, the same folks who decry too much government and have been fighting government all their lives, is all in that new trend, following a leader who is grabbing powers that are not stipulated in the Constitution, with total disrespect to the laws and the system in place. They are abdicating their civic duties and veering the country towards a dictatorship, one lead by a several times over failing businessman turned tv show host, with no government experience except for the myriads of law suits he has been involved in.
In the meantime, testing for covid is still at a minimum and the lockdown is basically ignored by folks because some leaders are not pressing the urgency of the pandemic, and people are getting infected and dying.