Governor Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of my state of Florida, has finally joined the majority of our country’s governors in ordering all in his state to stay sheltered at home. Staying away from each other is the way to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus transmission and avoid inundating our hospital system.
The corollary is that only essential businesses can remain open. Grocery stores, banks, gas stations are “no-brainers.” But then there are exceptions that belong in an “Only in Florida” Saturday Night Live skit. These include places of worship, gun shops, and liquor stores. They do kind of go together, but I’ll bet opinion is pretty skewed about whether or not these establishments should continue to operate.
So, let’s start with church. As The Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino noted earlier this week in his “draft apology to the rest of the country,” the leader of a megachurch was arrested for putting his flock in danger. He was arrested on Monday after carrying on about his magic, coronavirus-vanquishing machine during his Sunday service:
“The Lord has helped us to secure our congregation,” TV evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne told his Tampa-based congregation on a recent broadcast. “We brought in 13 machines that basically kill every virus in the place. If somebody walks in the door, it’s like, it kills everything on them. If they sneeze, it shoots it down at like 100 mph. It’ll neutralize it in split seconds. So we have the most sterile building in, I don’t know, all of America.”Televangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, quoted by Frank Cerabino, The Palm Beach Post
In announcing the pastor’s arrest on Monday, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren got style points by quoting the Bible:
There is no more important commandment than to love thy neighbor as thyself.State Attorney Andrew Warren
Gathering cheek-by-jowl in churches or synagogues or mosques, as much comfort as that might bring, is a terrible idea. And yet, DeSantis feels that government cannot mandate their closure. I pray that religious services join the online community.
So, what about gun shops and liquor stores? Floridians today can restock their ammunition and refresh their Tequila. Guns are as comforting as church to some people. And I can understand the short-term stress relief of a glass or two of wine, or a stiff shot of something stronger. It’s just when you put the two together and add being cooped up with worried adults and whining kids, or worried kids and whining adults, you get a lot of emotional volatility and combustible danger.
For a while, the list of exemptions included beauty salons and nail studios. Maybe it still does. And I get it. I mean, just last weekend, one of the commentators on CBS Sunday Morning — broadcasting from her apartment — asked her fellow correspondents the Big Question: “I mean, what are we doing about hair color?” The morning’s episode, Working at home without losing your mind, means figuring out how to deal with stuff like this.
I myself figured out yesterday that I could not go another day without a haircut. I’ve had it short-ish for months now, and two inches of growth was making me unhappy.
My hair was long enough to flip or ponytail last year when I fell ill. When I was finally promoted from the ICU to the Gastroenterology Unit at OLVG, I didn’t have the strength to brush my hair, which seemed to get tangled in my brush an awful lot, so I treated myself to a couple of haircuts at the OLVG hair salon. The stylist, who dealt with patients all day long, was kind and quick and didn’t have the heart to tell me my hair was falling out. Neither did my husband. It wasn’t until I went in for a trim weeks after coming home that I learned that I had a whole lot less hair than I used to, and that the new growth was coming in curly. In retrospect, the full-out trauma of nearly dying for a few weeks of course was a shock to my system.
I haven’t had a trim since mid-January, and the heaviness of my hair was flattening the curl. I also am not going anywhere for weeks — I’m saving makeup for the Big Reveal when we get to go out in public again — and I generally wear a cap when I walk the dog — again, not getting anywhere close to people. So, there was little risk in asking my husband to give me a trim.
He’s been cutting his own hair for years and has great scissors and trimmers. I did say: please don’t give me a buzz cut. I did say: a trim. He began by cutting off my bangs and all of the gray around my ears. And the result? Let’s just say that Dame Judi Dench is going to have competition on the red carpet of short cuts!
Whatever. We’re in social isolation. Thank you, sweetie!
One last thing. Nail salons were definitely open for a while, and our daughter and I have been comparing how much our Next Gen nails have grown in. Victoria and her boyfriend are working remotely from her apartment near Shands Hospital in Gainesville and we chat most evenings to compare notes of living in a pandemic. A couple of nights ago, she said, “Well, I went to get my nails done and I was kind of nervous walking into that room.” My husband said, “That’s not very smart.” I said, “Well, that wouldn’t be my choice.” I think I showed great dignity in offering her my perspective.
Sounding even more shocked than we did, Victoria responded, “Really?! You’re not getting your mail?”
Oh. Yes, we’re being careful about sanitizing envelopes, but of course we’re getting our MAIL, just not our NAILS.
It’s good to have reasons to laugh. Be well, stay home, and wash your hands.