Walking Reflections

by Cathy L.Z. Smith
[email protected]

Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every vaxxer’s like a settin’ sun

Ooh, ooh, the damage done

I’m sure ol’ Neil won’t mind a little artistic license, right?

I took a walk today—which is something I’ve been needing to do for quite some time (it’s been at the very least, months).

The weather was nice (50s, sunny, warm as long as I stayed out of the shade) and predicted to end in the next couple of days with more snow and unusually cold temperatures. So, even though I had other things to do, I made myself go.

I haven’t been out much since March 2020, and hardly at all since August 2021, so it was with some anxiousness that I started off on my journey. There weren’t many people on the streets between my house and where my daughter works (my first stop), only a few, mostly my age or older. They were friendly, we exchanged pleasantries, comments about the weather, the joy of going for a walk after having been in the house for days and days.

Had a nice visit with Rylla—met her co-workers, listened to some good music, watched some cat videos, and witnessed the most expert, and fastest, box folding I’ve ever seen. I took a bottle of water and continued my wandering.

In all, I may have walked three miles. As I walked through Old Town Fort Collins where all the trendy kids hang out (mostly on the street corners), lots of people were out, many without masks, but there were a fair number walking around with cheap blue masks (also a fair number of same in the gutters and parking lots, having apparently outlived whatever usefulness they once possessed). Most of the folks with their faces showing were friendly, smiling and even exchanging nods or a few words of greeting.

I decided to stop for one of my favorite beers (Not Brown Ale) at one of my favorite pubs (Coopersmiths), in part because their patio was open and I was able to sit outside.  The mask lunacy is currently in abeyance (except in my place of employment where most of the least likely to be affected go to school), but I like it better outside.

Masks or not, though, what I noticed in the confines of the patio is that people are very reluctant to have conversations with people they didn’t arrive with. The servers were very friendly (I’m sure it’s a huge relief for them to be able both to breath and to hear and be heard), but for customers, it’s like it’s just too risky to say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing. So many ways to go wrong …

Now I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My grandparents had lived there most of their lives, and my parents their entire lives. I knew a lot of people … but in Cheyenne even the people I didn’t know were friendly. They said hello when they passed you on the street. They engaged in conversation in waiting rooms in banks and hair salons. And bars were conversational free-for-alls that rarely (at least where I hung out) became anything more than verbal sparring.

But I found myself wondering, as I sat there on the patio watching a very up-tight gaggle of four (hunched shoulders, lowered voices, humorless visages), if they had any idea how close we are to the collapse of our civilization, beginning with more and more profoundly empty store shelves, and ending with the collapse of the banking system when, following in the baby booty steps of the child-in-chief to the north, our own dottering dimwit finds a way to force legislation to monitor transactions greater than $600 in your bank account (right now it’s limited to apps like PayPal and Venmo) and hires some outfit with the integrity of Crowdstrike to help him figure out how to seize our digital currency.

And more, wondering what they were going to do about it. And for that matter, what am I going to do about it? It was very uncomfortable being out in the world. I don’t remember it being that way.

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