june 17 – june 22

june 17

We went wine tasting on the central coast of California today. I guess wineries just got the ok to reopen. Lucky us!

The covid-appropriate tasting methodology at the first winery was to give us our own glasses, pour the taste into a small plastic cup, and hand that to us for a self-pour situation. And employee masks were in effect.

They also featured one of those QR-code menus where you scan the code and view the menu on your phone. Very clever and increasingly common.

The second winery offered tastings outdoors and provided us with a survival kit of sorts. Our kit included a tasting menu and pen for tasting notes, two plastic wine cups, a bottle of water, and napkins – which are oddly hard to come by with virus restrictions for self-serve goods. Our masked server came ’round every so often with their next offering, but pouring from the wine bottle directly into our cups didn’t seem to be a deal-breaker for them.

june 18

This part of California is my absolute happy place – we feel so lucky to be able work remotely here.

I have this report for area: 50% mask adoption.

Today Governor Newsom mandated that all Californians wear masks in public. There are all kinds of exemptions – including engaging in outdoor recreation when appropriately distanced. And, as we’ve been told many times and numerous studies have demonstrated, wearing a mask significantly reduces virus transmission. So why is there so much resistance?

Well, in my anecdotal conversations with Central Californians, the “Supreme Leader” is a tad “dictatorial” and over-reaching in his liberty grabs. Also, and I generally agree, the virus is not uniformly affecting each county. Some counties, like San Luis Obispo, have had only one coronavirus death. As such, their tolerance for these mandates is very small and their agitation with Commander Newsom is bubbling over.

june 19

Today we hiked a popular peak in the area. It was a very narrow trail in some spots, so avoiding people and their virus-laden spit was tricky. Most of the time, we would pass back-to-back, but sometimes a misinformed/lazy/mask-exempt/Trump-loving hiker would boldly approach and aggressively greet you as if to say, “There’s no pandemic and even if there was, I’m an invincible man and God loves me.”

And you’ve never heard someone as committed to complaining as my 9-year old. This mountain is horrible, this is the worst day of my life, I hate you, etc. I’m honestly impressed with his unrelenting litany. If channeled appropriately, he’ll be very successful at something.

After hiking, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants to dine on their lovely outdoor patio and I ran into some old friends. Do we hug?? Yes.

Normally, this restaurant has table service, but their modified opening has you ordering food and drinks at the bar, collecting your food at a separate station, and finding a seat outside. I wanted a straw for my margarita and was a smidge surprised to find a glass of unwrapped paper straws available to anybody’s grubby hands. It’s like we take all these virus precautions – masks and cart wiping and limited capacity and removing the napkins from public access, but leave these cracks in the plan. I know that some safety measures or compliance are better than none, but it feels arbitrarily mandated and arbitrarily followed.

It should be noted that less than half of the patrons in line to order food were wearing masks. I wonder how long San Luis Obispo will keep their distinguished place on the list of Covid deaths.

june 20

Ever consistent, about half of the patrons in my favorite Morro Bay coffee shop were wearing masks this morning, but zero employees. Zero!

We made our way to Avila Beach for some sun, sand, and day drinking and it was PACKED. But, this kind of outdoor crowding is less problematic for me. Even on a crammed beach, are you ever closer than 6 feet to the strangers next to you? That would be weird even before social distancing was a thing.

Dinner was a spontaneous gathering at a friend’s house – my 13 family members and their 5 family members. It was a very non-pandemic affair. I’m starting to wonder if I will be the vector that brings down San Luis Obispo County.

june 21

Today we golfed. You can rent equipment (do they wipe it down? who knows?), rent carts (wiped??), and easily keep your distance from other foursomes. If you have your own clubs, it’s a really a perfect pandemic hobby.

june 22

Coronavirus numbers are spiking, especially in states who opened early or otherwise had aggressive reopening schedules. This is not surprising, of course, it’s not like the virus went away. Now we’re just creating more opportunities for it to flourish. But it is depressing. Another reminder that this existence, this anti-social schedule, this anti-learning educational system, this no-sports zone life is here for a long time. I’m so sad for the kids and these lost years.

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