Thursday, June 11, 2020

Days of Cognitive Dissonance

--It's very strange to have spent the months of March, April, and May reading about disease in general, COVID-19 in specifics, and some general apocalyptic works of fiction, and then to see states re-open and people gather with and without masks, with seemingly no care in the world.  I'm still asking myself if any gathering is worth the risk.  Grocery stores--yes.  Spin class--still feels dangerous to me, since my spin class is held in a gym that's in a hospital.  Protest marches--much too dangerous, all the chanting and yelling in close proximity.  Of course, that's all from an epidemiology point of view--there are other points of view, like the need to demand social justice, the need to be with humans, the need to restock, the need to take care of oneself.

--I am also struck by how our students are responding.  Everyone complies with the rule that masks must be worn, but many of them can't seem to keep them on properly.  And then there are a few students who have not only a mask but a face shield and gloves.

--NASCAR has banned Confederate flags and imagery.  This moment seems like a real turning point somehow, even as I realize it won't be a teaching moment for many NASCAR fans (either because they already understand the importance of it, or they will never understand).

--These types of shifts on race make my head spin.  The polls that show a huge shift in attitudes towards racism and policing--it's a shift that seems similar to the shift towards approval of gay marriage almost a decade ago.  It feels like it happens overnight, but I know it's because of years and decades and centuries of hard work, shifting those attitudes one by one.

--I got my May statement for my old 401K account.  There was one moment in April when I dared to look at the account online, and the account had lost 2 years worth of earnings.  And now it's back up to a higher point than it was before the virus took hold in this country.

--According to the numbers I recorded on that 401K envelope, numbers of COVID-19 cases, at 5:13 a.m. on March 21, there were only 19,624 cases worldwide.  Now there are 7,392,349.  I am now afraid to leave the house. 

--But in my ultimate act of cognitive dissonance, I will.  Off to work, to take temperatures, to write reports, to marvel at how the world has both changed significantly in some ways and in others, perhaps not at all.  Last night as I was closing up after the last lab student left, I noticed a mask hanging over a computer monitor.  My first thought:  "Oh, I love the design of that mask and that fabric."  And then I thought about how odd it is that it's perfectly normal now to have a mask hanging on one corner of a computer monitor.

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