Gift tea. Variety package. A variety of teas packaged attractively intended as gift. Ultimate Tea Sampler by Solstice Tea Traders. I think this arrangement looks attractive, and that is why I bought them, but in real life they are not arranged 3x4 in the box, they do not show all at once like this, rather, the tins are sealed and arranged stacked two layers 2x3. 

Plus the tins are round. Good tins that can be reused for spices or whatever. I asked, they told me.

See, it is colorful. Bright and happy-looking. Plus twelve things. This is perfect for a woman. 

Turns out that was true in both cases. Both women flipped out. Very fun to see. Here, have a look. It's fun.

The dog is playing with a bubble machine that I sent to the youngest boy a few days previously. I included a bottle of bacon-flavored bubble liquid. The dog is snapping at bacon-flavored bubbles. That is what is keeping the dog's interest.


My rudeness. I am not bragging. I am ashamed. Apparently isolation has caused me to become short with annoying strangers and this runs counter to my Christian upbringing. 

I know, right? Who would believe that. This is our Christian ego; we try to be like Jesus but we just cannot. 

Here's the thing. I don't believe in this whole shutdown, and I can tell you why. It's very childish but it works for me. My ten-year-old self and my sixty-seven year-old self are in agreement on this and so are all my selves in between. That is a multitude of selves in agreement. So I don't care what anyone else thinks. All you bore the living piss out of me. My own internal views are my only guide. And all of the experts that you can pull out of your butt and posit to the contrary can all just suck my big fat old white ... dangling participle.

See how rude I've become? 

I am ten. My family moved to Tokyo. Now it turned winter. Everyone is wearing a medical face mask. 

Everyone is wearing a face mask!

This is 1964. And everyone around me is wearing a face mask. 

There are millions of them. This is Tokyo. They are all the same. Same size. Same shape. Same black hair. Same faces. Same face masks. 

Not really, but come on, I am ten, alright? That is how I saw things. This society is largely homogenous. Back then people did not dye their hair pink and green and blue. 

It's the weirdest goddamn thing. 

But it seems like a pretty good idea, don't you think?

These people really are thinking ahead. Whether or not it actually works, they are all sincere in protecting each other. It's actually kind of sweet. 

Why don't we do that? 

Time goes by and I keep on wondering that. We move to United States. 

Decades go by and I keep wondering why Americans do not do the mask thing like the Japanese people all did way back then in the 60's. 

Decade after decade. I kept wondering this. 

Every flu season I wondered this. Should I wear a mask? That is not a cultural thing with us. I would stick out like a gangster. I would look like a bank robber. That is my culture. 

Flu comes every year. I think the same think year after year. 

It seemed a very good idea, yet here we are as Americans simply rejecting it automatically. We are freedom people apparently, not fascist all do the same thing automatically people. This is a BIG difference between us and Japanese. This is a thing that I know about ourselves. This I know about our two separate cultures. I will not see Americans wearing a face mask. Apparently, face masks are unAmerican. I do see the masks but it's all in hospital environments, not ever in America at large. 

Not ever. 

And that is very weird. 

And then I became ill such that flying endangered my wellbeing due to being crowded inside a metal tube for a few hours with other humans and all their weird comorbidities walking around, back and forth past me, just sitting there breathing. Breathing on me. Me breathing their air. Hour after hour. Something of theirs will jump on me. Me breathing all their air. Filtered, yeah, recirculated, repeatedly, even so, whatever, I don't know. I want a mask. 

Everyone of my friends flies around like a maniac and comes home ill. That could kill me. 

I thought about wearing a mask just to fly.

Would that be weird or what? 

Repeatedly, I visualized myself wearing a medical mask on an airplane just to fly. Because of all you sick-ass humans can easily kill me. 

Everyone else is normal, this is America after all, not Tokyo, and I would be the only one wearing a medical mask. Can I pull that off? 

Yes. I can. But I don't want to.

I really don't want to be the only guy on the airplane wearing a medical mask. Because all you buttholes can make me sick. 

And besides, that wouldn't work. 

The mask would protect them from me but not me from them. 

It's one of those backwards things. 

Everyone else would have to wear a mask and I could go la la la free. 

So that's not going to work. 

And that means I don't fly. 

For decades. 

And then 2020 happened. 

America adapted instantly. 

Simply astounding. 

The entire nation all at once. Finally. What took you so goddamn long? Honestly. What took you so long? 

I know exactly what took so long. 

Until this moment the entire world could go full on face mask but America would not. America flatly would not. That much I know from 60 years of experience wondering about America and face masks. It is far too intrusive. Far far far too invasive. Americans, due to their conceits about freedom and about individuality and about their uniqueness unto the world as exemplars of independence would never ever not never not ever forever never would accept medical face masks. 

I was gobsmacked how readily my Democrat city accepted responsibility for wearing face masks as if they actually believe all this horse shit. They truly believe. Bless their sparkling hearts they truly believe. They are responsible people. Of course they will do whatever the authorities suggest. It only makes sense.

Americans are simply the most cooperative sensible people. 

Who knew?

Overnight. American sense of independence and individualism and freedom changed in an instant. Pop. Just like that.  

That is what I saw. 

From age ten to age sixty-seven. 

What were the conditions that came together this year to make that happen? 

How is it that everyone went along with it so readily? It's not just "we suggest you wear a face mask," rather, Americans go a bit crazy about this. Europeans even more so. How is it, though, all these lovely people around me become so adamant so instantly about enforcing their brand new extralegal social agreements, that nobody voted for, with pain of enforcement to the tune of thousands of dollars in fines? 

Scratch a liberal and an illiberal bleeds. Do you see conservative governors doing this?

Fuck me. You should see the monthly newsletter for my apartment building. It's always a boring pos with clip art but this last one is particularly bad. They won't even look back at it as a mistake. It begins a lonely diatribe on how difficult it is working in isolation so everyone leave them alone right now. Communicate these special ways. Contact us only this one specific way and it ends with all the things residents do that make their lives miserable, so here are all the fines for not obeying house rules. Including now wearing a mask on the premises. 

What a load. 

Isolation suited these people perfectly. They wanted it. They like it so much they extended it repeatedly. They are reveling in it. The love it. Masks are like a miracle cure, a magic wand that makes everyone just stfu and stfd. And it works!

I've never seen anything like it. 

A true world wonder. 

I must now pray. 

Lord, look at me. See this? Is this a true marvel, or what? Help a brother out, is this a miracle because it seems like one to me. These people are blowing my mind how they all ... boink ... think the same thing all at once. 

Americans, you are blowing my mind. How does this go? I saw it one of the definitions. One thing after another, pile after pile after pile after pile after pile pure unadulterated resistance and finally SHUT THE FUCK UP, CEASE ALL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, WHILE WE BURN AND WE SCREAM!

We assume these people are all Democrat voters but I seriously doubt that the rioters actually vote. 

In America, I suppose elsewhere as well, the medical masks wearing is part of everything else. All America suddenly agreeing to wear medical masks is not understood as a thing by itself. That could not happen by itself. It never did happen by itself even though with very good opportunity year after year after year with flu. But it didn't. Compulsion for medical mask wearing needed something big. For America, something bigger than big, something BIGGER THAN ANYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN HISTORY. Not a virus strain. Something much bigger than that. Something like your collective present day political ego and your realization that your long march through institutions is taking a little bit of a bend. Something like your one party for ALL American crackpots being insufficient to express your particular obsession. Something that your power-hungry egos simply cannot tolerate. A hard civic lesson like Trump delivered to Republicans to digest, that is flatly rejected by Republicans and by Democrats. The political pendulum swings and this swing is intended to slice off both your political heads and that is why we are all wearing medical masks. This is the power that power mad people have over you when their political power is thwarted. It is a coordinated and uncoordinated effort between thousands to stop living and to shut up until the all important overarching election that determines their life or their death. 

Medical mask wearing is the stfu price that I am willing to pay because their actual political power is worse. 

You insisting that I wear a mask, for all your various reasons, is you insisting that I shut up. 

Me wearing a mask is me saying, "Fine. I'll shut up. Just to live in the same city with you f'k'n crackpots. Prefer it that way, actually. I see your political power frustrated. And that is how I prefer you." 

The man has a funny name.

I should say, I've had more fun with people around here. We are all basically thinking the same things. I've had none of the bad Karen type experiences that I read about and everyone that I encounter seems to be on the same page as myself. I goof with the mask and nobody gives me any problem with it. I lift it and talk above it and wear it the wrong way and leave it hanging. I am mess with the mask and so far nobody has troubled me about it. My experience with the people in my city is all very lovely.

Outgoing mail

I pass two women who had finished the farmers market and were sitting on a squat parapet the base for iron fence in the shade and looking onto a lovely blank patch of perfect green lawn. I passed through the iron gate closed behind me. I speak to the two young women through the fence.  

"This mailbox says, 'outgoing.'" 

     "And ... " 

"This other mailbox says, 'introspective.'"

     "What does that mean?"


     "I don't get it."

"One mailbox says outgoing and the other one says shy." 

     "I still don't understand."

"Outgoing mail ... and ... shy mail." 

     "Still don't get it."

"That was a joke." 


The two women still didn't get it. And I forgot what it was like being that young. 

No I didn't. My young self is still alive and kicking. I was never that thick. I would have been just as flabbergasted back then at age nine.


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