Coronavirus Columbus

Because of the way my work is, I can spend days without driving the car. In fact, I only really need to drive it on Wednesday and Sunday to go to church. And with the car, the use of a facemask. I don’t think, altogether, I’ve had to wear one for more than a few minutes. Where I live, I could probably go without it if only I had the dignity of some I see who would not be embarrassed to be called out.

Now I’m on vacation though, and that has brought changes to my life. I don’t work, that’s one. I have driven for over 2 hours for three days running. And I’ve had a facemask on for longer than five minutes. I don’t know how people do it. By now most of the world is used to going about with a facemask uncomplainingly. I find that it is no way to breathe.

Parking overnight in the streets of Pittsburgh, I’m happy to say, is still something you can do. I have been in small towns in Colombia where it was not safe thing to do. Pittsburgh was chilly, and quiet, and they have a lot of Burger Kings. Cleveland was also cool, but it did not have anywhere the amount of fast food places downtown the Pittsburgh does. Cleveland is the less lively place. And yet, I think the difference between states is that the reductions for restaurants are more drastic in PA.

You get to Ohio and you know you’re in the Midwest: the roads are straighter and wider, the overpasses infinite, the land endless, and people who drive like its New Jersey really stand out. I like the way they drive in New Jersey, where it is rude to waste people’s time. It is not, as far as I have ever been able to discern, rude in the Midwest to waste people’s time by the way you drive. I am surprised how many distracted drivers there are texting or calling holding the phone up to their ear. The state patrol in Ohio explicitly warns that it will strictly enforce both speed limits and distracted driving. I think the solution is the self-driving car. I personally can’t wait. They can implement it in the Midwest most easily, and in other parts of the country, where the roads have variety and intrigue, wait till the AI is more sophisticated.

The glory of the Midwest is that it has a chain called Half-Price Books. I hit two in Pittsburg, one in Cleveland, and have four out of five to hit here in Columbus. It is my favorite way of getting books. Amazon is the worst way.

Columbus is a paradise for walking. Its crown jewel is the High Street, along which one can walk for five hours altogether if one wishes. It has all kinds of sections, all kinds of interesting things, and few dull moments. Columbus also has several wonderful and each distinct metro parks where I of old learned Greek and spent many a happy moment; these I haven’t seen replicated elsewhere. Along with that, the usual biking paths and river walks obtain. Columbus, I am sorry to report, has people going on said trails wearing facemasks.

It is good weather for walking here: early autumn, a warmer clime, steady winds keep the skies blue, and the passion of not just white people, but midwestern white people in coronavirus season makes for wide and clear avoidance that is amusingly ludicrous. They are not as friendly here as in our more rural PA districts. That allows uninterrupted solitude, and that makes the walking paradise.

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