Category Archives: Life

Individualism: Healthy vs Unhealthy Varieties

I’ve been thinking about individualism, and how there are healthy versions and unhealthy versions. For instance…

Healthy: If you can take care of something yourself, do it, so you don’t have to rely on someone else to do those things. Self-reliance is valuable, but it’s only one tool in the toolbox, and you recognize situations where cooperating with other people is the better option.

Proverbially, teaching a man to fish helps him develop self-reliance.

Example: I’ll make my own masks out of material I already have.

Unhealthy: Don’t ask for, accept, or offer help, because if you or the other person can’t do it on their own, they’re less worthy a person. Self-reliance is treated as an end in itself, and cooperation with others is inherently suspect.

And why would you teach a man to fish? He should know how to do that by now!

And definitely don’t trust someone who wants to teach you to fish. What the hell do they know?

Example: Why should I wear a mask to help someone else? Whether they get sick is their business, not mine. (Even if they get the virus from me. Which they won’t, because I’m not going to get sick, even though I’m not taking any precautions, because I know better.)

One of these attitudes can help us deal with a pandemic virus. The other will help the virus deal with us.

Still Here

OK, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to stop posting for almost two months during a global pandemic. (May 6, really? Time feels like it doesn’t mean anything anymore.)

Though I have still been active on Mastodon. And occasionally I’ll share a link on Twitter, or sign on to look at something, get sucked into the vortex, and retweet a dozen posts before I drag myself back out.

But for the most part I haven’t had anything long-form to say, or that hasn’t already been said better by someone else that I could be boosting on social media. Short comments, photos, links, and retweets/boosts. Things that fit better on other sites in the moment, though I’ll probably import some of them here as the site of record.

Anyway, we’re all still here and haven’t caught Covid-19. Yet. The state and county and cities have been slowly re-opening over the past month, except for all the curfews during the first week or so of the Black Lives Matter protests after police killed George Floyd. We haven’t been out ourselves, but we’re listening, and reading, and thinking, and signing petitions, and amplifying other voices, and donating.

Cases are still rising as businesses and gatherings ramp up, though. And it’s been politicized to a ridiculous degree. People are going to die because their neighbors believe politicians telling them what they want to hear instead of experts telling them what they need to know.

We’re still mostly staying at home. Socializing online and on the phone, or from one patio to the next. Shopping online for delivery or store pickup. Working from home, doing school over Zoom video calls. Takeout maybe once a week. I have been going into the grocery store to buy produce and refrigerated items, but I’ve been trying to stretch it out to two weeks when possible.

I still try to get out for a walk in the neighborhood at least once a day, unless I’ve got an errand to run. That way I only need to deal with a mask once.

Sure, masks are a pain to deal with. But they’re better than staying shut down, and they’re better than letting a pandemic spread exponentially because you can’t be bothered to do the bare minimum to protect people around you. (I was appalled at reading how people in Orange County harassed their public health lead out of office for saying they should wear masks. It’s a state mandate now, but FFS people…grow up and accept some of that responsibility you’re always yelling about.)

Bicycle Barricades are Down

Bike path on a sunny day with a sign saying to maintain 6 feet of distance between people.

…and replaced with these warning signs to maintain distance.

I think this particular path could have been left open with these warnings to begin with, because there’s so much room to go around people even if it did draw a crowd. It’s not like the paths along the base or top of the bluffs near the coast where you really can’t keep your distance if there are too many people (particularly when the beach itself is closed).

Heck, there’s more room to spread out here than on the sidewalks along most streets. I think the only reason they closed this path to begin with was that they had closed the other paths — the ones that don’t have giant open spaces on either side — and were concerned about people gravitating toward the one remaining path and, once again, creating a crowd.

It’s worth remembering, as California moves to stage 2 and cities and counties start loosening pandemic restrictions, that the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over. We’ve slowed its progress enough that it looks like we can take a few more risks without overwhelming the health system, but if we go back to large gatherings and people milling about together, we’ll be right back where we started.

And we still don’t know how long antibodies provide immunity — if at all.

Keep your masks. And keep your distance.

Dance of the House Finches