Log: Fighting Sloppy But Fighting!

Worm Date: 0.017

Although the recent use of exclamation marks in the emergency alerts probably doesn’t bode well for my wife’s chances of returning to work this week, I’m really kind of in love with the messages from The Korean Health Authorities. “Stay home when you’re home” is about perfect. And I don’t think “precious” is meant to be read as sarcasm but I like that it can be.

I’m also in love with this use of “or.” It’s like, “stay home when you’re home or stay home when you’re sick.” Choice is yours motherfuckers, but one way or another, you will be staying home. And I don’t blame them for the recent exclamation marks.

We’ve been fucking up.

This has gone on for about a month and half here now. It has a certain beat. The authorities seem to make plans in about two week blocks. There isn’t a lot of thinking beyond that point. It probably isn’t really possible to think beyond that point. Towards the end of one of these two week points –particularly if the news is good, leveling cases etc.– people start trying to get back to normal. It’s nothing like the YOLO shit you’re seeing on American beaches or those pig ignorant quarantine parties. People just get a little sloppy. The authorities see this and they say “WHAT THE HELL DUDE!?” and we’re all like joe-song ham-ni-da, my bad, and go back inside with suddenly strengthened social distance. It kinda happens like this every two to three weeks. I think it might just be how it happens. It’s just how it goes.

Going outside gets a little contagious. You see more people out and you just sort of think it might be okay (ish) to go out. Very early on, I noticed this with the masks. I try to follow the example of the people around me. There was a period before the Daegu outbreak with mask use was on the rise so, feeling self-conscious without one, I wore one. Then the masks kind of dropped off so I stopped wearing one but kept carrying one. If I was in a spot where everyone wore one, I did the same. In a spot where no one did, I did that. You kinda try to read the room. Especially if you don’t speak the language. Then there was the outbreak and everyone put their masks back on again and wore them everywhere at all times so I did that. (I’m not trying to be some white maverick, you know?) This is one of the reasons that you have to be careful with your own behavior – what you do, the actions you take – are contagious. I think we have to be careful showing pictures of our outdoor runs and our time outside. It’s natural to assume other people know something we don’t. Especially when there’s a lot of them. We’re all influencers now. May Satan have mercy on our souls.

So, yeah, over the past three days, wife and I made three short trips out. These were all for necessities but they probably all could have been folded into one longer, harder trip, and a bus-ride instead of a walk. Like I said, sloppy. A touch too comfortable. This happens when you’re tired. But just a little bit of sloppy is all it takes. We weren’t alone in our sloppiness. There were quite a few people out. Busan was some sloppy fuckers together.

But then, yesterday, we got the alert with exclamation marks. And, well, that’s it for sloppy. We have to make one trip out between here and April 5 –for another bag of rice, though we’re going to see if we can have that delivered instead– but that will be it. The shame strengthens social distance. It’s a strange rhythm and I doubt it can be exported but, here, it works. And I suspect the city will go through this all again around April 5. The authorities will tolerate it just long enough for us to all stay somewhat sane and to let us pump some money into businesses but they’ll come down on this bullshit before it becomes a habit and we idiots cause an outbreak. And then we strengthen social distance together. Fighting!

The streets weren’t bustling dynamic Busan but they were pretty busy. The only visible sign of societal stress is around the pharmacies where the mask rations are distributed. There’s some short lines (maybe twenty people or so) at these locations. Most everything is still open but most businesses are empty. Shops that are usually packed tend to contain you and four employees, most of whom are cleaning. It doesn’t look like hours have been cut. That’s a good thing. Keeping things open is good, if it’s possible. So far, here, it’s been possible.

Also, although I’m not an office worker, I received updated instructions for office workers. These include facing away from each other while eating. I really feel like my wide variety of issues with eating in public and eating with people are finally really starting to come in handy. It’s like — “face away?” can we also try hiding in a corner and weeping? I mean, I’ve worked kinda hard to habituate myself to eating with other humans and now I’m just like ‘let your little light, shine, Oakley! Right under the bushel where it belongs!”

Anyway, if you’re reading this – whoever you are – I really hope that you’re doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Fighting!

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