Friday, April 24, 2020
A Path Forward, and the Horvaths
Another day, more lounging in the garden, more dog walks, more reading, more gardening. Like all of us, I am trapped in a monotonous loop. It seems ungrateful to complain given how much we do have -- outdoor space and fine weather, not to mention our health -- but I must admit I'm getting pretty sick of this lockdown situation.
Many other people are, too. When I take the dog out I see lots of people milling around, sitting on the park benches, on blankets in the grass, visiting and chatting. I am sure all those people don't live in the same household with each other. I was Zooming with my co-workers yesterday and we all agreed more people seem to be ignoring the restrictions.
And I'm just experiencing mild frustration. Imagine how people feel who have lost jobs and livelihoods. (Not to mention loved ones.)
On March 20 I said we'd be emerging from this situation in six weeks. Obviously that was wildly optimistic and we're still not there. But some world leaders -- the Germans, the Danish -- are talking about how to carefully open up the economy again, in ways that might be less dangerous but that will get people and goods moving. I think this is a good thing. We need a publicly stated plan. Otherwise, where are we going with all this? If people don't see light at the end of the tunnel I worry we're going to start seeing civil unrest.
I wonder, for example, if it would be OK to allow certain small businesses or shops to reopen -- bookstores, or florists, or dry cleaners. Perhaps businesses in more rural areas, where there's a sort of natural social distancing, could be given more latitude. (All this assumes people maintain social distancing in their own interactions, as well as hand-washing and other basic infection-control measures.)
What if restaurants that have outdoor seating can open those areas for table service, keeping distance between tables?
I just don't know what the answer is. I'm no epidemiologist. Inevitably, people are going to continue to get sick. This virus isn't going away. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to continue with our lives. It's a balance, and possibly one that shifts and fluctuates over time. In years to come, maybe we'll see periods of closure interspersed with periods of openness.
We went out and applauded the NHS again last night, along with all our neighbors. Of course those are the people who really have to be protected -- the ones on the front lines, helping to fight this thing while potentially exposing themselves.
In other news, our upstairs neighbors are installing pigeon-proofing spikes on their patio railings. I think they're annoyed with us because we have bird feeders which, along with all the garden songbirds we like, inevitably also attract pigeons. I'm not sure what to do about that. Pigeons are a fact of urban life, aren't they?
Here's "Throwback Thursday," one day late. ("Flashback Friday," maybe?)
I came across this photo yesterday, showing me (the blurry kid in front, obviously) sitting with some other kids during a dinner party my parents attended. It was held at the home of the Horvaths, who I believe they knew from the University of Maryland, where my dad was getting his Ph.D. in mathematics. I was about two years old, and I dimly remember this night because I quite dramatically fell down the stairs at the Horvaths' house! (I was always falling down stairs. Our own house didn't have stairs, and I wasn't the most coordinated kid, so it took me a while to get the hang of them.) I think this photo was taken pre-fall, but in any case, I didn't seriously injure myself. I screamed a lot, though, and the incident freaked me out enough to imprint itself on my memory!
Oddly, I don't think we were ever asked back to the Horvaths'.
I wonder where those other kids are now? I don't even know who they are. Horvath daughters, maybe.
(Top photo: Golders Green, on Sunday.)