Based on media reports, America is in a state of hysteria over the Wuhan Coronavirus. I haven’t experienced any of it personally, however, perhaps because this is the remote hinterland of the Virginia Piedmont, where the hysteria has yet to penetrate. Intuition tells me the amount of hysteria over the disease is directly proportional to the population of a city or town, and I live in a completely rural area, far from even a small town.
I went to a St. Patrick’s Day Party last night. Two of the ladies who hosted it are in their eighties, and it was attended mostly by geezers, with just a couple of younger fellows in the crowd. There was no hugging this time, and less hand-shaking than usual. I shook a couple of hands when offered; I’m not worried about such things. Perhaps I should be, but I’m not.
Any elbow-bumping at the party was done ironically or in jest. But I did see some “Namaste” gestures among the guests.
There was some discussion about the Great Plague, especially the cancellation of church services and Friday’s ukase from Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam ordering the closure of public schools for two weeks. But there was plenty of normal talk, too — local politics and events, family news, the telling of jokes and old stories, etc. No sign of hysteria. The two women in their eighties — who have COPD — are aware that they’re in a high-risk group. But they don’t seem to be worrying about the coronavirus any more than I am.
After I had collected my plates and containers (I had brought finger food) and was saying my good-byes, I told them that I would let them know if I came down with the coronavirus. They said they would greatly appreciate that…