"Essential Services", "Now I lay me down to sleep- I pray the Lord my soul to keep...", "Quarantine", "REOPEN AMERICA", ¢24.5 per minute job, Cary North Carolina, Corona Virus, COVID 19, hydroxychloroquine, Lockdown, MAGA, Nieto, PRC, Risk, Shelter In Place, Social Distance
My “Essential Services” job isn’t really. Essential that is, it’s a real job and I live and preach the importance of exercise and getting OUTSIDE! especially during our COVID crisis, but we’re open because the bottom line is tops and loopholes in the law say we can be, not because we service folks who need their bikes for transportation. Nope, most of our Cary, North Carolina clientele are about as likely to cycle to work as I am to buy a gas guzzler but, open we are and COVID we’re conscious.
Our COVID consciousness means that it’s anything but business as usual as we proceed in a pandemic proactive manner but no matter how much bleach we drink nor how many sunshine enemas we take working retail means that my fellow work warriors are not sheltering in place and, try as we may, at work it is simply not practical to adhere to effective Social Distancing. This increase in risk has led to many of my co-part-timers bowing out of work for the duration of the sickness siege, something I chose not to do.
Our parent company is attempting to walk the line between $ale$ and security and therefor has initiated a radical paradigm shift in how we retail. They’ve also promised that anyone who chooses not to work during Corona crisis will not be let go. Additionally, they’re also offering some PTO for full-time employees who become ill or who have to care for others who forgot to pop their hydroxychloroquine which subsequently led to them or their loved one to have lungs that are impersonating a pair of personal swimming pools. (BTW- not being fired doesn’t mean they’ll keep our position open. If the business hires a new employee good luck getting your hours back when all this COVID nonsense evaporates in Trump’s promised miracle of a summer sunshine cure. Go MAGA!)
With all this snarky realism you’d think that I’d be one of the few, the proud, the sane, who chooses to self-quarantine and put my ¢24.5 per minute job on hold but it just ain’t so. Nope, I’m a 59-year-old, well-to-do, semi-retiree who is reporting for duty along with the youngsters who NEED THE MONEY! Why? Solidarity. Fatalism. A risk to benefit analysis that says while it’s my choice to risk my life I wholeheartedly believe everyone should follow the CDC/WHO guidelines and tell the “REOPEN AMERICA” MAGAts to shove their agenda where the UV don’t shine, a position I held intellectually but not viscerally.
This difference between head and heart knowledge came tumbling to the ground when a fellow employee told me he was bowing to pressure from his relatives and was going to stay home from work for two weeks. My fellow worker is a recent immigrant from China with young children at home and his folks in the PRC convinced him to take a breather. When he told me this I sincerely said to him he needed to take care of himself and his family and that mental health is part of self-care. I was sincere, but in my heart felt his reaction was a bit, well, reactionary.
Then my wife said we might have to care for our three-year-old grandson and I replied, “When? I’ll need to quit work right away and self-quarantine for two weeks.”
BOOM! Left shoe? Meet right foot.
My fatalism, which allows me to imperil myself and my informed, adult, love of my life, goddess, was irrelevant when I perceived my acceptance of risk to be a possible life threat to our nieto. Turns out our caring for grandson Jack didn’t materialize but the possibility of having to do so was a perfect Object Lesson in why we need Lockdown.
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” would be cold comfort should my actions kill an innocent and I hope all the gung-ho living-room economists who are so willing to risk others lives inject that into their veins.
I’m heading to work. Be safe!