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October 30, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Snorts. Sniffles. Defensive Actions.

What would you do?

An old man hunch over the side counter filling out postal forms – a lump of wet tissues beside him. His mask slipping off his running nose. Trying hard to stifle a cough.

Old man's head. (USPD, artist life/

“Why doesn’t the Post Office ever give you a big enough space on the form to write the information required?”(USPD/

Obviously sick guy. Small enclosed post office with limited air circulation. A big line.

We just quietly backed out the propped open door. And generously used the hand sanitizer in the car before heading to another post office.

He wasn’t a homeless guy – just dressed in sweat pants and jacket for comfort, being sick and all.

It would have served absolutely no purpose to march over, yell at him to pull up his mask, and demand that he leave since he was sick and possibly spreading it to everyone.

Who knows.

Maybe his windstorm or flood premium had to be postmarked and sent registered mail today or he’d get canceled.

Maybe he had to send that favorite grandchild a birthday card/present – couldn’t disappoint the little one – even if it was the last one he sent.

Maybe he’s a widower or the least sick at his home and this bill had to be paid. His insurance premium. The mortgage – so his wife would be taken care of…

Maybe a letter or card to someone in a nursing home he can no longer visit – and may never see again.

I hope he’s just very allergic to the cedar that’s in the air today. Or a cold. Those used to be common, remember?

Who knows. Could be any of us these days

Diana the Huntress by Seignac (USPD, artist life/

“You know, it’s a bit hard to tell with all this social distancing, but it looks like his mask is not completely on properly. Onward Urban Protectors of Children and Enforcers of Mandates!” (USPD/

So next time, before turning into the sole Warrior Defender of the Human Race or before storming virtuously over with cell phone camera in hand determined to go viral, try some commonsense.

Remember the primary objective is to survive. 

Stay calm and carry on. (and run when appropriate)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.







Leave a Comment
  1. Kate Crimmins / Oct 30 2020 7:00 am

    Common sense? I think that boat sailed a while back.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. shoreacres / Oct 30 2020 7:02 am

    Have you read the regulations for Thanksgiving ordered by the California governor? I suggest you avoid reading them at all costs. It took me a few hours to recover after I came across them. As my ophthamologist said during my recent visit, the irrationality is spreading faster than The Virus.

    As for the old man, you’re absolutely right. We have the freedom to leave, and if we think we should, there’s no one stopping us. Besides, we were raised to put the best construction on things. There’s a good chance that fellow wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been important. We should give thanks for our own health, and offer up a prayer for his.

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2020 3:29 pm

      Yep, how long will people play along? Denver also has some doozies. And crazies urban enforcers: example, preschool kid having birthday and really wants a party. His mom sends out invitations ( no presents please) saying it will only be the 10 kids that are around each other in preschool every day. The party will be outside in the back yard – done in 2 shifts to stay pithing Mayor’s mandate of crowd number. Parents will have chairs and tables in from yard – all social distancing from each other. Sounds OK, right? One mom declined saying she wasn’t comfortable with that “because the parents are gonna talk, you know”. So that absence was OK except then she went on social media/neighborhood website and told the story and ask what she should do because she thought the party shouldn’t be happening at all. The comments were insane. You’d be surprised how many told her it was her duty to contact the police and have them stop it.
      Gads. Nut city full of self righteous saints! “Oh see how good I am”
      Obviously someone didn’t get enough attention on stage as a child – and never got over it…Please someone put on a neighborhood show and let her be a rock or tree and everyone applaud.
      Freedom means you don’t have to go or stay. It also means others do not have to listen to you and follow your orders/ideas.
      The old man was probably cedar allergic and his windstorm policy was due by midnight that day (ours was) He was of the generation that was raised to stay home if sick, and as you said, probably would have preferred to be home…and not stared at by everyone. I hope he’s better.
      If everyone only took care of themselves and theirs, and let others take care of themselves, the world would generally go a lot smoother.
      You just never know the whole story, so hush.
      There, now. See how much quieter and more friendly it all seems? HAHA
      (OMG. They sold the land next to the Big Compton Oak – it’s going to be townhouses. Inch by inch the farms are going. I’m crushed. That was a small jewel of rural life left. At least he saved the tree – so grateful.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. easyweimaraner / Oct 30 2020 7:03 am

    I wish there would be someone there for this people, that they haven’t to go out, when they are sick… but who? all our plans probably make god laugh…

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2020 3:33 pm

      You bring up a good point. We looked around and noticed so many people have moved/been moved to be close to their adult children so they will have someone watching over them and to assist. But some don’t have that safety net. Early last year there was a group of high school tennis team kids who organized a system where people cold email/twitter if they couldn’t get out and needed supplies/groceries of help of any kind and there was a match up with volunteers – they did this for months, but now school has started up again and not sure if that is continuing. It was a good thing.
      As you say, the best laid plans of men…
      Thanks for snorting along

      Liked by 1 person

  4. beth / Oct 30 2020 7:24 am

    heartbreaking on many levels

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2020 3:38 pm

      Definitely. This is old part of a small town (the big fancy new houses with young families are on the other side of the interstate – we prefer this quieter section by the lake even if houses not so grand), and no doubt the postal clerks knew this guy by name.
      All I can say, is kindness and compassion counts and needs to supersede any personal need to lecture someone. There was an option and we took it. Walked away.
      Thoughts are with the old man, though.
      Thanks for seeing what is right before so many eyes yet unseen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Littlesundog / Oct 30 2020 7:27 am

    We all (still) have the right to be where we want or need to be. So much judgement flying around if you dare to sniffle or gosh forbid sneeze anywhere in public. Cedar allergies are full-throttle right now in the Midwest, and who can say how many broken hearts are running around with troubled hearts and minds? I’m on the side of compassion, and the right to be out in public.

    I saw a young woman in a short, fur skirt the other day. She was wearing a mask. She was pretty. You should have seen the dirty looks she got. She might as well have shucked the mask. So much judgement and ugliness going around.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1bl0gr3ad3r / Oct 30 2020 9:07 am

    After 2 months of breathing (trying to) smoke – i oh so understand both the need to go out in public for necessities and the need to self isolate. Masks really were helpful with some of that! We had to take our temperature every morning and record it – subject to inspection by supervisors, btw – and report any symptoms. With last week’s evacuations, the wonderful, but short-lived snow, and now getting back home again – the air is so much more clear and even those refusing to wear masks appear healthier. That said, i reverse and avoid folks with obvious symptoms, too. Now, if only people will stay home and recreate safely near home! (Recent rescue family member Hershey offers paw waves and purrs to HrH RC Cat, and a slow blink to Molly)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 30 2020 10:10 am

      I am so relieved to hear from you. Will comment more later, But really glad you are home ( and cheered paw waves from this realm to yours and Hershey, too!)


  7. Ally Bean / Oct 30 2020 11:30 am

    Remember the primary objective is to survive.

    And therein you summed it up. Cue Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Melanie B Cee / Oct 30 2020 11:50 am

    I do as you did, carefully back away and leave, using appropriate sanitizing methods afterward. I feel sorry for the old guy, but might censure that post office for not having stricter measures in place. If that fellow were here (in Utah), he’d get asked to leave most likely. They have warning signs about sick folks staying home. Now as to the urgency of the mail he was trying to send, that’s a tough one. If the old man were an isolationist (like I am), his options would be limited

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2020 3:50 pm

      He was of the age to have been raised with “if you are sick, stay home”. I think he knew and was uncomfortable being there. No need to add to his misery as there was no need to.
      As this is the old postoffice and the older part of the town that used to be pretty small (and is now a commuter zone to the big city), the postal clerks probably know him by name. While this area is pretty open and positivity rate much lower, everyone knows the risks. He was wearing a mask – but you know how miserable that is when your nose is running. It’s heavy cedar/goldenrod/tree pollen time here, so that’s probably it.
      The doors were open and marks on the floor. Most people cooperate and keep distance.
      I do hope he has someone looking over him. We stay pretty isolated with no family close, but it is a worry of what to do if…
      Best stay close and avoid encounters if at all possible – and we could.
      Thanks for being human


  9. Curt Mekemson / Oct 30 2020 12:29 pm

    I wonder if it ever would have become an issue had it not been politicized so heavily, Karen. It’s one more example of how terribly our society has become divided. I think of how it might have been different had Trump come out in the beginning wearing a MAGA mask. It would have helped his election and possibly saved tens of thousands of lives. Most of his followers would have run out to buy the masks to show their support. I never scream at anyone. It’s not my style. But I do get the hell out of the way. I suspect there is a message there.
    Thanks for you continuing moderate perspective. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2020 4:08 pm

      I wonder how things would have gone if CDC, WHO, “experts”, and some mayors/governors hadn’t scoffed at the reports in Jan and Feb about COVID. The fact were there then and are still the same. Masks are the best we have right now until we perfect treatment. Ebola was a warning shot – they should have gotten prepared, but were still caught flatfooted/downplayed to the public to cover that up.
      Trump is too much of a business man to come out in a MAGA mask. Never give the customer a reason not to buy HAHA. I know the secret Service has insignia on their masks, Ill have to watch to see what’s on Trumps black mask – should be Commander in Chief. Our mayor/chief of police, Congressmen and women have sometime on theirs.
      honestly if you are 13-20 feet away from people and on stage, masks are not required. Biden, Obama, Trump, Pense all have been maskless this week at events. Harris was here at Univ. for a rally this week. The mayor spoke on stage with a mask, Several Congress members and some running for office spoke with masks on, then. out came Harris who ripped off her mask as soon as she got on stage and started laughing. We were pretty shocked. Almost everyone had a mask on as it is mandated in that county. But everyone was polite. People generally try to be polite.
      People are responsible for themselves. In our case, we wear masks even when others don’t and are not embarrassed to get up and leave. Life is too short to poke at a potential Fire ant bed, right?
      Great idea to head out to the back country right now. Take care and remember to smile!
      Thanks for adding some sensible chat here


      • Curt Mekemson / Nov 2 2020 4:30 pm

        My sense, Karen, is that responsibility goes with power and the greater the power you have, the greater the responsibility. I agree on local and state leadership although I believe in something like a pandemic, the highest level of leadership is on the national level. Speaking of local, I’ve been amazed/amused at the battle going on between North and South Dakota over who will have the highest per capita numbers of Covid-19, not only in the US but the world. I still remember when I was driving across the US this summer when all of the bikers passed us on their way to Sturgis where masks were few and far between with the blessing of the Governor. Shortly after that she went ahead with the state fair, same lack of care. Before that it was the meat packing plant. What in the world did she think was going to happen? And I can pretty much guarantee that she will never take any responsibility for it.
        I don’t disagree on the fact that being rude to people who choose not to wear masks is counterproductive. It simply makes an already bad situation worse. But I do wonder who is worse on a scale of humanity, the person who jumps on someone who doesn’t wear a mask or the person who refuses to wear a mask regardless of the fact that his or her behavior might kill someone?
        As always, I appreciate the time and thought you put into your answers. Thanks. –Curt


  10. pensitivity101 / Oct 30 2020 1:57 pm

    I’d leave quietly too. You never know the circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. sustainabilitea / Oct 30 2020 2:20 pm

    Good for you. There are too many self-righteous people on both sides of this issue (and pretty much all other issues and maybe even more than two sides), so life has become rather awful at times. One of the reasons I’m glad to be able to help my parents by getting groceries and such it to keep them out of any such situations, although they wouldn’t go out when sick unless under dire conditions. Better to err on the side of being understanding and kind if at all possible. But evidently that doesn’t work for some people.



  12. The Coastal Crone / Oct 30 2020 2:48 pm

    I agree – run when appropriate! You probably did the right thing. Our post office is tiny with little room for social distancing. I hope the old man accomplished what he needed done.


  13. aFrankAngle / Oct 31 2020 7:18 am

    Hi RC … Keep your eye on Molly.


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