Two important questions

A couple of questions for you to ponder this morning. Totally unrelated, except for the fact that I’ve been thinking about them both overnight.

Q1: somewhat serious

Early yesterday evening, Rose and I went into a large, cheery, busy and welcoming riverside pub/restaurant. A great spot, and we’ll go back. I was conscious, though, that there must have been around 150 people there, and large numbers coming and going throughout our visit (they did takeaways too), yet in the whole evening I saw nobody — literally nobody — wearing a mask except the two of us.

This is, increasingly, my experience in other situations too, anywhere outside supermarkets and town-centre shops. At what point do we stop looking like sensible good citizens and start looking like tin-foil-hat wearers?

Q2: more frivolous

If a fairy appeared and offered to grant you a wish which, for the relief of humankind’s frustration, would eliminate just one of the following from the human experience, which would you choose?

  1. Sticky labels that don’t peel off cleanly, leaving adhesive behind.
  2. Packaging that requires a knife or scissors to open.
  3. Zips that get caught on things or jam at inconvenient times.
  4. Pens that run out halfway through the sentence.

Remember, you can only choose one. Answers in the comments, please, or on a postcard addressed to Santa Claus.

I thought about asking ‘If a venture capitalist is considering investing in research which could rid the world of one of the following, which would make him or her the most money?’ But, sadly, the route to direct return on investment is not too obvious for some of the above. So it would need to be a fairy. Or a great philanthropist.

If you want to ensure that people build statues in your honour and put blue plaques on your former residences, you know what to do…

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A live tin hat survivor will be my vote, and I wear with “all due respect”

Frustrations? These don’t rank up there with occupying mind space when we have so many serious threats to our lives an lifestyles all around us. Pick from climate shift, pandemics, religious zealotry (called “fundamentalism”), the decline of democracies, social media tribal enablement, harmful carbon based petro-chemicals that last forever… but on the plus side “streaming”

Yes, yes, of course, Ben, but note that I use the phrases ‘frivolous’ and ‘frustration’ more than I use ‘major existential treats to our species’.There’s no shortage of posts about those, and sometimes I think the job of this blog is to redress the balance! Besides, one of the biggest threats is that we lose our sense of humour.

And I bet that, when your zip jams at an inconvenient moment, your mind isn’t entirely occupied by the problems of religious fundamentalism and democratic decline!

Oh, labels that remove cleanly, definitely. I have a lovely newish T shirt with a bobbly patch where the sticker residue reacted badly to being washed.

I imagine in the sort of setting you describe, you might continue to be a lone mask-wearer, but this is possibly also because others who would choose to wear masks in, say, crowded indoor spaces, are avoiding going to busy pubs. Instead, we will be continuing to find frivolity and playful experiences online instead 🙂

    You may be right! In our case, having ordered at the bar, we sat at a table outside and watched the sun set over the boats on the River Deben, though this locations was driven as much by having a canine companion as by virus fears!

Well, on Q1, the latest review from the U.K. respiratory infections group published yesterday confirms that the weight of scientific evidence is now in favour of face coverings of all types having a significant impact on reducing infection of oneself and others.

I’m tempted to add that most of the population instead prefer to follow our PM, who back in July declared Covid ‘done’ in the same way as he’s ‘done’ Brexit, and he’s about to declare climate change ‘done’ as well… However that might be considered over-political, so I’ll just think it very loudly instead.

Meanwhile we have 5x the rate of cases and 3x the rate of hospital admissions and deaths of most of Europe, who are still mostly socially distancing and wearing face coverings and whose vaccine programmes are now well ahead of ours.

Q2: definitely 1. Although, do try to remove them from kitchen equipment before dishwashing for the first time – I believe some of them come off more easily if one does.

Panic buy tinfoil now!

100% zips. Most men’s zips are good and chunky and I’m lucky it doesn’t affect me, but my partner is forever battling with ill-placed, insufficient zips. Battling with these is the most often time-sensitive too. The other 3 I can handle with a deep breaths and colourful language. But the zips. Anything to save us from the terrible zips of fashion designers.

As for the masks, we were on the receiving end of some unhappy headshaking for being the only ones wearing them when moving through a busy pub. My view is that the virus doesn’t care for the opprobrium of strangers and I’d rather not inadvertently kill a family member. Until we have a case load that doesn’t cause international distress, we’ll be keeping ours on in public.

It’ll have to be the zips for me too!
The consequences of zip-failure is potentially publicly embarrassing!

Now… about being publicly embarrassing…

I was recently in both Malta and Canada for weddings and they both have “proper” mask policies. Canada even requires proof of vaccine for entry into almost all public spaces: cafes, shops, etc.

When I raised the “masking thing” with British people at the wedding in Malta almost all of them retorted that is was “because ‘they’ rely so much on tourism for their economy”. I respectfully submit that as utter hogwash and present Canada as my counter example.

Wearing masks in public seems to simply be a way of life for most non-British countries.

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