When I went to visit my cousins on Thursday, I was traveling from one rural part of Virginia to another. By carefully choosing a circuitous route, I was able to avoid major metropolitan areas, which is what I prefer — since the onset of the “pandemic” and the Black Live Matters riots, staying away from cities has seemed like a good idea.
My relatives live in the county seat of a very rural county. It’s small enough to have escaped the Coronamadness, but large enough to have the basic amenities — a Food Lion, a good restaurant, a brewery and a distillery. The townspeople dutifully wear their masks when they know they’re supposed to, but tend to pull them off as soon as possible, the same way I do. Only I complain about it more.
I spent a delightful evening at the small craft brewery. It was still warm enough to sit on the terrace and listen to live acoustic music, but after sunset it got chilly, and everyone moved inside. And nobody was wearing masks, not even inside, except for a couple of the staff, and those for only part of the time.
I had interesting discussions with some of the locals. There are a lot of old hippies in the area, transplants who moved out to the middle of nowhere to do serious organic farming, plus craftsmen and so on. They mix fairly amicably with the original inhabitants — traditional Virginia good ol’ boys (and girls). Both groups share a strong libertarian temperament, with the transplants skewing towards the leftward side, and the natives to the right.
I have a right-libertarian temperament myself, and I like talking to left-libertarians, with whom I can find a lot of common ground. I got into a discussion with a couple of women about the coronavirus, and we were in agreement that the disease was not a pandemic, and that all the hysteria was generated by the government and the media. And these were older people, maybe not quite as old as I am, but getting up there. And, like me, they weren’t afraid. To be afraid of COVID you have to swallow the media line. We agreed that one could be cautious and prudent about the disease, and mindful of those who are truly at risk, without ever going into panic mode over it.
And these were left-leaning women, mind you. We didn’t discuss politics as such, which is good, because there were certain topics that I would probably have had to excuse myself to get another beer to avoid any unpleasant arguments. But we stayed away from those.
Interestingly enough, when I said that George Floyd was not killed by the police, but died of a fentanyl overdose, they agreed. Very unusual lefties, those women. But then, it’s an unusual town.
I stopped by the Food Lion while I was there. It had prominent mask-up signs like all the others, which I ignored. No one accosted me at the door to hand me a mask. Most of the shoppers in the store were masked, but a fair number weren’t. The dissidents were mostly older men, but included a couple of women, too.
It made me wonder why the younger people seemed to be more mask-compliant than the geezers. I’ve noticed the same pattern in other places, which is strange, because youngsters have the lowest risk. Not only that, youth is traditionally the age of rebellion. So why such conformity among the young, and so much dissent (albeit to a limited extent) among the aged?
I don’t have an answer to that question, but it does make me ponder the strange times we live in.