The Key West Mystique

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Key West Island News connects Key West residents and friends of the island, fosters our One Human Family culture and advances understanding of shared goals for our island community

Masked boomers

Key West Covid: Be safe. Surround yourself with old, masked boomers

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


Here we are smack in the middle of “freedom summer,” the mythical promise that by the time school started mid-August in Key West, we’d be rocking and rolling toward a Covid-19-free (or at least manageable) holiday season with hugging, kissing and up close and personal. We got our shots; well, at least some of us did, and we ditched the masks and we went about having fun. We figured our new normal was going to look exactly like our old, pre-Covid normal and we acted accordingly.

How’s that going for ya, huh?

The folks I know best got through Covid-19 Round One pretty much physically unscathed. Not so much with Covid Round Two. It’s like not a day passes that someone doesn’t text with a “tested positive for breakthrough.” We’re in that “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” parallel universe. We all know someone quarantining, testing positive or worrying about a recent contact. Sooner or later, and based on the escalating numbers, it’s going to be sooner, we’re going to be hacking and sneezing our ways to no degrees of separation.

Florida is second only to Louisiana as today’s U.S. hot spot. Don’t let that confuse you, though, because Florida’s population is way bigger. That means we’ve got 58.4 people dying per day; Louisiana’s got 16. (Six a day are dying in New York, which has a population similar to Florida’s.) Covid-19 really, really sucks in Florida. And, it’s going to get worse because, well, you know why.

Instead of a happy hour last week, I bought a rapid test kit.

It’s enough to make me run screaming into the muggy night. I want this to be over. I want no masks. Given how eager we were for a vaccination last year, I figured getting to 70 percent would be a piece of that proverbial cake and with a little effort, we’d get maybe another 10 percent to queue up. (I knew it wouldn’t be 100 percent because, let’s face it, 2.5 out of 10 folks are just clueless.)

Today’s vaccination hubbub irritates me no end. The anti-maskers and their pals the never-vaxers seem hellbent on killing themselves over really stupid stuff and taking the rest of us with them. Angry? Nah. Enraged.

Mary, Joseph and the Wee Donkey, girl, get a grip. With a deep breath, I accept that I can’t control this hurricane. I can, however, make my own protocols. Help yourself to mine; they’ll help regain some sanity in this  cra-cra mess.

    • Get ready for a booster. I’m delighted Pfizer et al are handily at work on a booster because I was fully vaccinated the end of February and my six months is coming up. They’ll make ba-millions and their execs will get bonuses that could pay for a whole Key West neighborhood. That’s OK; just get me my shot.
    • Stop thinking we must close down again. Not happening in Florida and not anywhere else, even the blue parts. It was lovely late last spring when we had a roadblock at the top of the Overseas Highway and folks were singing kum-ba-yah. Remember it fondly. Lament its loss. But don’t for an instant waste time thinking it will return.
    • Do not re-activate your daily trolling for anti-maskers and anti-vaxers to give them a piece of your mind. They don’t care; they won’t be convinced, though they do so love yanking your chain. You’re not gonna win that argument; give it up.
    • Wear your mask. You don’t need a mandatory mask ordinance, for heaven’s sake. Just wear the darn thing and stop fussing about who requires one. I think “inside anywhere” ought to be the norm, but if it’s not, then. by all means, slap that puppy on your face and your kid’s face. Lands, why’d you give it up in the first place? I love not suffering allergies and asthma and colds. Thanks, mask. While you’re at it, take back the hugs and handshakes with anyone except your family and even then think twice.
    • And, my best plan for staying safe? Look around you. If you’re surrounded by baby boomer strangers over 65 and wearing masks, get naked and roll in a pile. (Now there’s something you can’t un-see.) Because across the country, ancient boomers are tickling the 92-99 percent fully vaccinated stats and, well, you already know masks are effective. If they’re under 65 and no masks? Run.


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