Friday, May 15, 2020

Imposed Limitations, Self-Limitations and Risk

We may never go to a concert again. In person. Or a movie in a theatre. Or a play. Any event which involves large numbers of people in an enclosed space.

As various countries are starting to "re-open their economies," ie relaxing the restrictions imposed in March and April, it reintroduces or reinforces self-responsibility. It's one thing to be confined to your house, where we were caught in the near-total lockdown in France, only allowed out for basics such as grocery shopping and dog-walking. Now that we're back home in Switzerland, where the restrictions were never as severe, and where more and more activities are being permitted every other week or so, the real danger is irresponsible people.

We're not done with the virus by any means. It will be with us at least until there's a vaccine, and there may never be one, despite medicine's best efforts. We have to assume, at least for those of us in our 60s and above, we may have to live with the threat of the virus the rest of our lives.

The basic question that each of us needs to ask with regard to any activity we may consider doing is - is this worth my life? Harsh, maybe, but that's what it sorts down to.

Buying food? Necessary, of course. But try to do it while avoiding other people to the extent possible. For example, yesterday, we bought some meat and eggs from the local charcuterie: small shop, two very pleasant proprietors, allowing only one customer inside at a time. We buy as many basics as we can from a small local grocery, and we've ordered a service which delivers vegetables each week direct from the farm. In addition to minimising our contact with virus carriers, asymptomatic or otherwise, we are supporting small businesses.

Doctor and dentist visits? Yes, as necessary for major check-ups, but we won't waste their time for niggly issues.

Going to a restaurant? At least for now, takeout only, or maybe outdoor tables if available and well-spaced. And only places where the food is truly worth a little risk. (Would hate to have a mediocre meal that ended up killing us.)

Seeing friends? Yes, some, and at a safe distance. And not inside a restaurant. Coffee together at an outdoor café - when the weather finally warms up.

Airplane flights? As necessary, though fortunately not for a few months.

Oh, there is an exception to the no-theatre guideline: if my grandkids are performing, and I am able to be in the area, I will attend. Their theatre group, I am confident, is being very careful for the actors and the audience.

Playing golf? I'd like to say absolutely necessary, but even for me it's not. However, golf courses are taking good precautions, and often I play alone early in the morning when the nearest person is hundreds of yards away. Indoor simulator? Probably not so much. Hickory tournaments - where the camaraderie is as important as the golf - yes, with precautions.

Long walks with Sherlock in relatively isolated areas? Bien sur. Good for all of us.

Yes, life has changed radically. Three months ago, we had virtually total freedom to do what we wanted, go where we wanted, whenever we wanted. No more. Even when / if restrictions are totally lifted, some things are now much less important than staying alive.


  1. If that life/survival suits you OK. I am in my 70's and if that is all that is left its not worth it. Life is social interaction, bisous, hugs, joy and conversation with friends, family and extended family.

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