The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Peeking Outside


Like most people, we have been cloistered the last seven months, with trips to the grocery store for excitement and an occasional meal at a local open-air restaurant.   Recently, I needed to visit a client in Greenville, South Carolina.  So, it was with some trepidation that we temporarily re-entered the normal world, because it was important.

There was more traffic than expected.  At stops, most people were wearing their masks and trying to give space to others.  Those were the places that prominently displayed “Masks Required” signs and enforced the rule.  I felt safe in those places.  However, some places did not, drawing a surprising number of those who felt they were “too-American-to-wear-a-mask.”  It was as if they had a homing device, bringing them to places where mask-less-ness was tolerated.

Hotels and motels have made a real effort to keep guests safe.  Everybody wears a mask and maintains social distancing.  Daily maid service is a thing-of-the-past.  But, guests are still required to pick up that attached pen to sign the little computer pad, when paying with their credit card.  Take a handi-wipe!

Restaurants are problematic, of course, because you cannot eat or drink with a mask on.  I found most restaurants to be safe for breakfast and lunch, but risky for dinner, when the bar gets busy.

A surprise to me was the danger posed by kids.  Under age two, masks are not required, and I understand the reasons, but the fact remains that they can still spread the virus.  Avoid kids at all costs!

Sociologists have already noted that communication levels have dropped, due to the difficulty of talking thru a mask.  There are, they said, “fewer words in the air.”  One humorous change is that, pre-pandemic, men seldom said a word in public restrooms.  Today, men NEVER say a word in those restrooms.  I predict that change is permanent.

Safely back home and into our cocoon — self-quarantining for the next two weeks.  Still, it was an interesting peek into the new world.  I liked the old one better!

Be a “real-American” — wear a mask and stay close to home!


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