June 30, 2020:

With the pandemic all tone necessarily changes.

Face-to-face encounters are now overdetermined in a new way, or a "novel" way, to use the pandemic's own language. Every unmasked figure, every improperly masked figure, is now a potential murderer, bearer of an ugly death gasping for life, in an isolation room where not even your family can tell you goodbye.

At the auto shop the fellow who reads our mileage and drives our vehicles into the bays wears only a cloth bandana over his mouth, not his nose, an entirely useless gesture of ignorance or laziness or mockery, you can't say which. He's inside my car exhaling with the windows up. If this were a movie I'd CGI his bony frame to show him with a skeletal overlay of The Grim Reaper, with scythe and black robe. Because it's life I don't have to.

At the neighborhood grocery in my little mountain town a smirking redneck goes unmasked, glancing around at all eyes, a silent dare. He wants to be challenged, it's a political intervention on his part: brainfuck the liberals. This mentality has to be taken seriously in this town, where a Sheriff's deputy was murdered only three weeks ago by a "Boogaloo Boi" with a vanfull of improvised explosive devices. The right-wing discourse is "I, Me, Mine" — My rights, My decisions, My life — and the last thing they'd consider is their responsibility to the rights and lives of others because the President gives them air cover.

The people are afraid of each other. I'm afraid of them. The people who aren't afraid are ignorant, have been manipulated and misled, are sociopathic, or just old-fashioned stupid.