Friday, October 15, 2021

Today I had an adventure

Today I had an adventure. Well, “adventure” is probably too big a word, but it was filled with firsts nevertheless, and isn’t that a necessary characteristic of a good adventure?

Today I had to pick up prescription repeats at two places, one of which was the chemist in a supermarket, and the other was an ordinary chemist (boring story as to why there were two places). This was the first time I’ve been to either a supermarket or a chemist at Covid Alert Level 3. That kind of thing’s always anxiety-producing for me, not just because of the possibility that someone with Covid might be there, but also because of the more fundamental anxiety about not knowing how to act in a foreign, unknown social situation: What are the rules? What are the expectations? It’s just run-of-the-mill social anxiety, made worse by the possible presence of a deadly virus, is all. No wonder I’ve avoided it.

As it turned out, the chemist was actually no different than when I last visited, at Level 2 (and dramatically better than it was at Level 4). The supermarket, on the other hand, was actually better than at Level 2 because there was no waiting to get in! I was surprised.

I should add that at both places everyone appeared to abide by the rules, although there weren’t enough customers at either for me to see if most were scanning the QR code. However, most were observing social distancing and everyone was wearing a mask. This is New Zealand: We do that.

Once I got back to the car, I took the selfie above, and there’s a funny (to me…) thing about that, which I’ll get to. I recently ordered in a reusable mask, one with a NZ-made lamb’s wool filter. I’d noticed that a specialist scientist interviewed on TV was wearing one of that brand, and it was multi-layer with a replaceable filter, and it seemed like a good idea. Today I put the filter in and tried it on for the first time: It was way too small and pulled my ears cartoonishly forward, making it very uncomfortable. Because it’s a mask, it’s not returnable, so another mark on my “Experience” chart, I guess.

I ended up wearing the ordinary blue surgical-style mask in the photo, one of a box of 50 I bought last year but didn't open until this outbreak. Recently, I’ve begun thinking about the environmental impact of those ubiquitous blue masks, which is why I bought that non-usable re-usable mask. It turns out that studies have found that the blue masks can be “washed” (really, just well rinsed out in warm water and air dried) up to 10 times. That means they’re far cheaper than any reusable mask with a replaceable filter, and arguably more efficient (a topic in itself).

The funny part to me (I was going to get there eventually…) is that when I thought about the fact that facemasks are now required in indoor places, and will probably remain so, one advantage is that they hide my gray whiskers if I’m slow to keep up with dyeing my beard. Yeah, well, the grayness is clearly visible in the photo. More fool me, apparently.

When I was getting ready to leave the house, Leo was quick to work out what was going on (he’s a smart boy who sometimes pretends to not be as bright as he is), so he knew what I was up to. He wanted to come with me, like he had last weekend when he got to meet his dog cousins. He barked at me, and at a louder pitch than he usually gives to dogs walking past his house. He sounded pitiful. I felt terrible about leaving him behind.

I fully expected to come home to a mess of one sort or another, to see he’d torn things up. He didn’t—in fact, when I sat in my chair, he crawled into my lap, snuggled up to me, and licked my face (graybeard photo below). I thought that it meant that Leo had forgiven me for leaving him home alone today, which was the first time since October 3 (the last time I ran errands; we went back under Level 3 Lockdown that night). Leo, it seemed to me, thought that us being locked-down together is great.

Yeah, well, it turned out that Leo let me know he was displeased by leaving me some gifts in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. But… he still snuggled up to me later? Maybe that wasn’t just because I’d fed him his dinner?

Today’s adventures weren’t really adventures, I guess, but they sit at the intersection between new, scary social things and ordinary life. These days, at Level 3 Lockdown, that’s about as close to a real adventure as I can get.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

In my neighborhood, I see those blue masks all over ON THE GROUND. I suppose some people may have dropped them, or the string broke, but I suspect they just abandoned them. Ticks me off, especially since they're too icky for me to pick up unless I were wearing gloves.on