Mind Over Matter

I attempted to avoid the queues this week. I arrived at one of the usual supermarkets I visit and like last time there was a queue. This time, instead of standing in the queue and reading a book (I actually didn’t have one with me on this occasion) I drove (because I was using the car today) round the block to Tescos, which I have avoided doing for a number of years*. I got in pretty swiftly; there was the typical member of the staff manning the door, but he was simply waving everyone in and thanking them. I ended up with less than a basket’s-worth in my small trolley. I found this Tescos to be quite disorientating and of course I had to figure out where everything was; I tend to seek out the reduced-priced sections. I couldn’t find any of these although there was an excessive number of ‘special deal’ stands which were not of interest to me. I found more interest in observing people, in particular, families of mask-wearers. I felt sorry for the kids. I wondered if they’d had a ‘family meeting’ prior to venturing out for the the first time to do shopping with masks on. I further wondered what reasonings these people had listened to/decided upon and agreed to. Kids are the least at risk of suffering from catching Covid-19 so it seems nonsensical to be trying to prevent them from catching it and instead restricting their breathing [“Why not leave the kids in the car”, I now wonder].

I quite liked it when I reached a chilled food section and felt the cool air in my face; “Would the mask-wearers be missing out on this sensation?” I wondered. Then to the checkouts and I found myself queuing. There had been quite a few members of staff in the aisles, sorting out and restocking the shelves, and there was that one on the door, but too few on the tills to assist the flow of customers. One fellow shopper kindly suggested I could use the self-service checkout (since I had so few items in my trolley), but considered, on my behalf, that perhaps the trolley wasn’t allowed through the self-service section. This section in Tesco looked like a small sheep pen; the type used to hold a small number of sheeps while they are being sheered or awaiting dips or vaccinations or whatever sheeps have done to them. Eventually though a member of staff who was overseeing the whole checkout area said I could indeed use the self-service area with my small trolley load, and I sheepishly made my way to and through it; as you may well know, I much prefer human’d checkouts.

The guy on the door wished me to “take care” as I left the store; I was surprised how “not fed up with standing here all day saying the same things to different shoppers coming and going” he appeared.

Then to the next day and I’m out in my car again; off to tinker with some more bikes as I have been doing of late, for sale at my mum’s charity shop. I’ve found this project to be surprisingly absorbing; fitting new parts where necessary, adjusting, tweaking, cleaning and testing (which even involved a wheelie and bunny-hop today! It has been a number of years since I’ve done one of those on a BMX!)

In addition to the bike tinkering I’ve found myself getting absorbed in some mathematics; I had dug out my old high-school calculator and decided I wanted to gain or re-gain (I can’t remember what I actually learned back then) what the various buttons do. My old university maths book (which I also still have), has this:

I can’t figure out how to do it on the calculator. I can input whole powers and negative ones, even getting as far as 1/2 and 1/3 powers, but not decimal ones.

Anyway, after excitement of bike-testing I decided to visit another shop to grab some more supplies, since I was using the car it seemed nonsensical not to. This time there was a refreshing lack of queuing (in or out of the shop), but still those many masks. The boggling part of it was seeing people driving their car whilst masked; I could understand it for the learner driver and instructor I saw, but the single occupant in their own car? Then there are those masks that are hand made to unknown specifications, and the ones that being incorrectly worn, such as failing to include the nose.

I later watched this video by Dr. Pamela Popper. She has been criticised by Mic the Vegan regarding her views against masks, but I side with her, even though her experiences (or rather those of others she shares) are based in America. In this latest video she pointed viewers to the British Columbia Center for Disease Control and the topic of Covid and Sex. It really is highly amusing. I wondered about the whole issue of sex during lockdown; I thought “what if a child is born and it is determined that the sex took place during lockdown and between people that weren’t living together… i.e. should have been social distancing?!” Could they then be fined?!

Anyway, the BCCDC has some helpful advice:

  • If you’re feeling sick, skip sex
  • You are your safest sex partner. [it’s emphasis]

It goes on to suggest sex with whoever is in your household! I kid you not:

You are your safest sex partner; your next-safest sex partner(s) is/are the person(s) you live with, or the person(s) who has close contact with only you and no one else.” BCCDC

Then there is, it further suggests, virtual sex and, if you’re not down with that (or the previous options), to

  • Talk with your sex partner(s) about:
    • The types of sexual activities you want to have with them, and
    • The precautions that you can each take to make sex safer for you and your sex partner(s), like wearing a mask and social distancing… [my emphasis]

It doesn’t suggest any particular types of masks that might be used in the bedroom, which could be considered an oversight by whoever wrote this thing, because they sure know everything else about how sex works… The page goes on to list the following:

  • Consider keeping contact information for your partner(s) so that you can reach them if one of you develops symptoms. [because who doesn’t already have such information from such partners?!]
  • Before and after sex: Wash your body with soap and water.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • … Do not share [toys] with multiple partners.
  • Wear a face covering or mask. Heavy breathing during sex can create more droplets that may transmit COVID-19.
  • Avoid or limit kissing and saliva exchange.[!]
  • Choose sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact. [I’m laughing here]
  • Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.

I thought about this last one early on in the whole Covid-19 thing; it reminded me of a TV series called Pushing Daisies in which, due to the quirky and magical reasons that underpin the series, the two main characters, who were deeply in love couldn’t touch or kiss. The female character was played by Anna Friel, which would make the whole situation even more unbearable IMO. There are a few comical circumstances where they combat this, one of which is to kiss with a sheet of cling-film between them. The show was aired during the watershed, so they only ever got as far as kissing.

Oh, the Mind Over Matter thing, (which I chose as the title before I’d written anything else here)… I later went on to watch a little fascinating talk between Joe Rogan and Andrew Weil on the subject of “Can Psychedelics Cure Your Allergies?” It lead me on to consider how masks not only “silence” people but they help to cement the belief that we are at risk, rather then developing faith in (and supporting) the body’s natural defences and immune system. That’s how I see the whole thing anyway. Mind control.

*I avoid Tesco on what I have always deemed to be moral grounds, but yet I shop at other places that are really just as bad. Ho-hum, it’s however we justify things.

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