Sign of the times

April 23, 2020 • 3:45 pm

I think that if you showed this photo to someone in 20 years, and asked when it was taken, they’d correctly guess 2020.

The subject is not my reflection, of course, but the bogroll next to the driver:

I passed this car on my walk today, a walk on which I was completely alone and didn’t come closer than about 30 feet to anyone. Seriously, why should I wear a mask for that?

47 thoughts on “Sign of the times

  1. I have kept a roll in my vehicle since I first got one. Serves as face tissue as well as when an emergency strikes.

    Then again, I used to live four hours above Syracuse and drove 500Km each way every week.

    1. I always have a couple of bogrolls in my car. Cheapest form of cleaning paper available.

      Though these days I keep them out of sight so I don’t get hijacked by the mobs of ravening bogroll bandits. 😉


  2. I asked my wife, who carries everything in her car but the kitchen sink, and she had 2 or 3 reasons why someone would carry that in the car. One was instead of Kleenex, another was if you had kids. Of course none of it makes any sense.

      1. I wonder, how many rolls would you find in BMW or a Mercedes? And who is this guy walking around taking photos of car interiors?

        1. In my Beamer? Probably about 3. Whether it’s covid times or not.

          Just the most convenient and cheapest form of cleaning material.


    1. I suspect TP is way cheaper than facial tissue, though perhaps less gentle. I could see myself using TP this way, though my wife would certainly object. Instead, I keep a supply of unused paper napkins left over from various take-out meals.

      1. I had a smash n’ grab happen to me over a $5 rental video tape I left out. Called the police. They basically told me it has nothing to do with the value of the item or the cost of the window – it’s only about how much the thief wants it, and if they think they can get away with it.

        So, yeah…smash n’grab for TP? Entirely possible. Though I wouldn’t expect it in an affluent area.

  3. Every single time I go shopping, I buy yet another 6-pack of TP. At this point in time, I’m praying I get the Aztec 2-Step (aka Montezuma’s Revenge) sometime soon.

    As to WHY you should wear a mask: to show solidarity, maybe? To remind those you see that mask-wearing is the in, hip, happening thing to be doing these days? Just sayin’ …

    1. Yes, got it, don’t yet know it, touch your nose, touch something else, somebody comes along 5 minutes after you’re out of sight, …?
      Written seriously, but not vituperatively. I ride a bike in quite deserted areas with no mask, but do make sure not to touch anything but the bike. Maybe you do also, but didn’t think to mention it.

      1. It’s a SIGNIFICATION … NOT because you’re going to save yourself or others in those kind of mostly deserted areas. A mask SEZ to others: I’M taking this pandemonic SERIOUSLY! I hope YOU are, too. The more people who are OUT there (wherEVER) and wearing masks, the more others who may be lax will get the MESSAGE. Oh, for Pete’s sake. Never mind!!!

        1. Sorry, I don’t wear a mask because my doctor says I don’t need to. I am not going to wear one to show others that they should. As the new MORE STRINGENT ILLINOIS GUIDELINES mandate, people out for walks that don’t go near anybody don’t have to.

          You are a big example of virtue flaunting (or “mask flaunting”) As for not taking this pandemic seriously, you should know from reading this site that I certainly do.

          Our new MORE STRINGENT recommendations by the governor, taking effect today, is that one must wear a mask outside IF ONE CANNOT STAND MORE THAN SIX FEET FROM OTHER PEOPLE. So I’m following the state orders–scrupulously.

          But you take it on yourself to make your own even more stringent rules, and shame those who don’t follow them. Sorry, but I’m not buying them, not your histrionic and ridiculous admonitions on this site. I see this as an example about people becoming irrational and unhinged at times like this.

          1. How about: Because aerosolized droplets remain suspended in the air column for hours?, and, Everyone who speaks emits aerosolized droplets?, and, You have absolutely no idea what transpired in the spaces you pass through in the preceding hours?

            1. How about you find definitive evidence that wearing a mask when you stay 30 feet away from other people protects you from infection? There’s not the slightest evidence of that.

              Frankly, I’m sick of self-styled “experts” like you who haven’t looked at the data and just makes up possibilities of what could happen, however unlikely. I wear a mask when medical experts say I should, which is not when I’m out by myself yards away from anyone.

              You are an Mask Fascist, one of those people who, on the basis of their own opinion, wants to control everybody else’s behavior. I’ve already checked with my doctor, thank you, and I trust him a lot more than a self-important commenter on this site.

        2. Yeah, unfortunately, that’s the kind of reasoning that makes me do the opposite. If the medical experts in my country say I have to wear a mask, I’ll do it gladly. If the government says I have to wear a mask without support from the experts, I’ll do it grudgingly, but I will never do it because other people say I have to prove my virtue.

          It’s the same reason I don’t wear a poppy on Remembrance Sunday or any of those ribbons for the various remember whatever days.

          1. I might be over-reacting.

            There are both bad (virtue flaunting, etc.) and good (obviously) reasons to wear the mask one place or another. Under today’s circumstances, both general and personal, the bad reasons I treat as neutral, ignore them.

        1. Glad to hear that, thanks for mentioning it.

          Because of my luck to get hip replaced in February just before all such surgeries were cancelled, it was required for me yesterday to go to surgeon’s office, then hospital X-ray, then back to surgeon. To do it all properly under the circumstances almost took more concentration than I’m capable of. Perhaps living outside any population centre made me much less practised than most people.

          My wife, younger then me but still 75, had pneumonia once, respiratory difficulties several other times, giving even more motivation than just the social imperative.

      2. got it, don’t yet know it, touch your nose, touch something else, somebody comes along 5 minutes after you’re out of sight

        That last one has started factoring in to my consideration. Every time I go outside saying “I doubt there’s going to be anyone where/when I’m going,” I turn out to be wrong – there’s always people around. Any time of day/night, any where I go. Last weekend I drove 30 miles out of town to go hiking in some woods at 8am in the morning. There were 10 other cars parked in the same spot, people doing the same thing, at the same time.

        Granted, I haven’t tried going shopping at 2am at a 24/7 supermarket yet, but even so…yeah the “nobody’s going to around” assumption is turning out to be wrong most of the time.

  4. The only time I get out to walk around is when I walk the dog. There are only a few people out along the roads near our house. I don’t wear a mask then as I can avoid anyone else who might be out. Most people are good about moving away when they approach you. When I leave the house, I have washed my hands and during the walk I don’t touch anything.

    If I go in a store to shop, I wear a mask. I am surprised by how many people do not wear masks.

    1. Yes like john, i do not wear a mask when doing a three-mile walk on a wide wooded trail around our local resevoir several days a week. People in general,though not all, move aside to maintain a six to eight foot separation when passing, plus there is usually a breeze which disperses our exhalations. When doing a once a week visit to our market, i always gown up in gloves and mask and nylon shell jacket and even though the store wipes down their carts in real time, i also wipe the handle with a chlorox wipe. Upon arriving home, i enter the garage and toss my mask into the open washing machine, remove gloves and throw them away, hang up my windbreaker in the garage, and wash my hands and face…while my gloved wife (retired rn)brings grocery bags into garage from the car trunk and wipes all items with a bleach spray before bringing them into the house. We are 72 and 74 and have the time to be overly cautious.

      1. I did recently read somewhere that evidence shows that while the virus is hugely contagious in rooms like those in restaurants, it is not very contagious at all outside. IN the context of states “re-opening”, they were suggesting that restaurants restrict service to their patios. I suppose if some states are dead-set on reopening, they might at least do some experiments like this so other states can learn what works and what doesn’t.

  5. My first thought was that it was a driverless car. “I saw one of those driverless cars today. Then I realised the supermarket car park was full of them!” (If you want to blame someone for that, it was on BBC Radio 4’s “Thanks a Lot, Milton Jones!” recently.)

  6. A study I saw said public bathrooms hold to most danger in terms of aerosolized virus. It is transmitted fecally and a flush can kick out a lot of mist that stays airborne for considerable time. I chose not to use public bathrooms.

    1. And even public toilets with no bathtub/shower?
      Sorry, couldn’t resist, mea culpa.

      Actually I wonder now whether those of us males who just can’t hold it occasionally, and find a very unexposed place to pee outdoors (not in town of course!) are possibly increasing the virus risk for others?? I don’t recall doing that in the last couple of months, but at my age there’s lots I don’t recall.

      1. I doubt peeing behind a bush puts anyone at risk of the virus. But, watch out for birders with long lens cameras.

        1. At my age, discreetly situated bushes are often the beneficiary of my limited range. But (unless there’s a howling gale) I don’t think aerosol transmission is a likely contingency. It’s a long time since I was able to imitate a firehose. 🙂

          I think brushing against bushes with my hands (which are more likely to have covid on them from me touching my face, assuming I had the virus) is more likely. So I avoid them. And wash my feet when I get home in case I stepped on a spot where someone peed or, more likely and dangerously, dribbled.

          And I carry a mask, though I only put it on if I’m likely to get closer than say ten feet to someone or go into a shop.


          (I’m lucky enough to be in New Zealand. We’ve been in ‘lockdown’ for four weeks at ‘Level 4’ which means, stay home. Go out only for essential reasons such as shopping (supermarkets and local grocery stores and gas stations are open, all others closed), visits to the doctor etc.
          Supermarkets are limiting the number of customers inside, others queue in the car park. Masks are recommended but not compulsory, 2m (six feet) separation is required.
          Gatherings prohibited.
          It is permitted to go for walks or bike rides ‘locally’.
          We’re about to ease to ‘Level 3’ which means I can drive to the beach, swimming and surfing permitted, power boating still not. Up to 10 people will be allowed at weddings and funerals, but they must still maintain separation. Stores will be allowed to take orders for delivery or ‘pickup only’.

          Cases so far, 1114, deaths 17.

          The problem of course, is that tourism is a large part of our economy. Also that, while we seem to have controlled the virus, massively helped by the fact we’re an island, it’s still out there in the world so we can’t relax until a vaccine is found.)


          1. New Zealand seems to be blessed with a very good prime minister, and being down that way helps. I’ve noticed how much better also Australia has done than ‘my’ Canada, despite many similarities, when you look at deaths per million.

            But Iceland is also coping far better than most, so the ‘island factor’ perhaps helps even more than the global position.

            Norway is about 5 times better than Sweden, and that’s getting larger with time, not smaller. So much for Ingraham, the evil Faux women, and the other misleading idiots, who touted Sweden’s ‘let them die to get us herd immunity’ policies.

            Those two countries are right together, with very similar, best in world, health systems, I think, so it isolates the difference in government actions.

            Early days yet though, unfortunately, numbers might still change a lot. Certainly there are systematic innocent errors, which one assumes similar percentage-wise, to have faith in comparing the deaths/population numbers.

          2. When I visited NZ, I wanted to stay and live there because it’s an amazing place. They wouldn’t have me if I applied though. Now I can see the benefits are greater than I could have imagined. Good government.

            1. I wanted to go wait out the pandemic there but without flights, all I have is my kayak to get there. 🙂 There are some flights now but you have to fly into LA and of course that can only happen for essential travel with the border closed.

            2. We had a good tour of the South Island in their winter-our summer. It included even a nordic ski race for me at Snow Farm near Wanaka, with race including some Olympic level North Americans, doing their summer-on-snow training avoiding expensive, difficult-to-get-to glaciers. Even got gold in my age category; but, IIRC, it was 1st out of a grand total of 2–and the other guy was older!

              I’ve since then 10 years ago wanted to go to the North Island, and maybe again to the south if I made it 3 or 4 weeks or more. Looks now like it might be not soon. One thing is that I’ll stay away from LA airport for sure; go through Vancouver, and pay a few hundred extra maybe.

              1. Phil, we’d love to see you (after the ‘virus’ is over, whenever that is).

                I’d love to go back and visit France and Italy again but – same thing applies.


  7. I’m having trouble finding active dry yeast and so I was forced to get the compressed fresh type of yeast, and… boy am I glad I did! Never looking back. Thank you virus.

    1. I predicted the unmasked would become pariahs weeks ago. It’s partially why I started looking for some.

  8. The evidence for masks is thin.
    I work in operating theatres and currently most of us are helping out in ICU. We are awfully aware of how dangerous the condition is – and far as I’m aware, none of us are wearing masks outside work.
    Most of us are showering and changing clothes on getting home though.

    1. Actual well produced statistics rather than personal anecdotes would be preferable. Are there such statistics pointing in either direction?

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