Blue Finger Days

Blue Finger Days

Like millions of people these days in the U.S. and around the world, my wife and I are taking a lot of walks. With our gym shuttered during the lockdown, it’s a great way to exercise and get out of the house.

We are fortunate to live in an area where the weather is predictably sunny and warm. During our walk we are surrounded on all sides by manicured landscaping and, in the distance, snowcapped mountains.

Since we’re not in a bustling city, we actually need to press the crosswalk button at intersections if we want to get a “Walk” sign. It occurred to me early on that there must be a lot of fingers pressing that button. That sounded like an activity to avoid.

My wife is practical, ingenious and focused on keeping us both healthy. Recognizing this COVID-19 Hazard, she immediately remedied the situation in a stylish manner. She cut off the finger tops of a kitchen glove.

So every morning before we go for our walk, I put on the blue finger, ready to boldly press any Crosswalk button with confidence.

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I Felt Like a Criminal For Shaking Hands

I Felt Like a Criminal For Shaking Hands

Not long after the California lockdown I was talking with my gardener. He had just transferred some rocks from my neighbor’s yard into our yard at no cost to me. (It helped him out too because the neighbor was also his customer and he didn’t have to haul the rocks away.)

Still, I have a good relationship with the man and I wanted to let him know that I really appreciated him thinking of us.

I don’t know what I was thinking, but as I was thanking him I was overcome by the hardwired action of reaching out to shake his hand. Even as I saw my hand moving toward his, in the back of my mind I was thinking: NOOOOO!

But I couldn’t stop myself. Before I could control myself we were shaking hands.

I looked around furtively to see if any of my neighbors had observed my social transgression. I felt as though I had done something awful. I had actually shaken someone’s hand! What in God’s name was I thinking?

I’m happy to report that as of this writing—several weeks after the event—the gardener and I are still healthy.

But the mistake taught me a lesson: It may be hard to break habits of a lifetime, like hugging people you like and shaking someone’s hand to express your gratitude. Greeting people you hardly know with a kiss on the cheek is now a relic of the past.

But then, to be honest, I never much liked kissing people I barely knew anyhow.

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The Plus Side of Social Distancing

The Plus Side of Social Distancing

Like hundreds of millions of people around the world, I’ve been practicing social distancing. In some cases it’s kind of a drag not being physically close to people you love or like. On the other hand, for me this policy has provided an unexpected upside.

There are certain people I actually want to avoid. Now, if we’re walking on the street, I can maintain my distance with a polite wave or even cross the street and no one thinks I’m being rude or standoffish.

The truth is there has never been a better time in my life to avoid people I don’t want to see.

I actually enjoy going out more now.

With my mask, of course.

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Searching for Good News During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Searching for Good News During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Some people consume media, others are consumed by it.

Every day I do a search for “Coronavirus good news.”

One of my favorite articles comes from the Harvard Medical School website and is entitled “Is there any good news about the coronavirus pandemic?” Another article I liked was in the LA Times (Why this Nobel laureate predicts a quicker coronavirus recovery: “We’re Going to be Fine”). It’s an article/interview with “Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, who has been analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide since January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted.”

I’m not talking about just going to sites that say there’s nothing to worry about, but rather sites that acknowledge what is and what is not true, and try to keep people calm, not complacent.

If something seems too good to be true I check it out on one of the debunking sites like www.snopes.com. For example, Snopes took a look at a popular Facebook post (Is This ‘Good News’ List About the COVID-19 Pandemic Accurate?) and found it to be “Mostly True.”

I also get daily information from the John Hopkins University of Medicine website and, because I live in California, I get daily updates from the California Department of Public Health.

The bottom line is that I do my best to get information without political comment or apocalyptic rhetoric. Information I can use to keep myself and those around me safe. Not information that confirms my hatred for people I didn’t vote for.