Pandemic Ramblings

July 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Environment, Pandemic, | 7 Comments

I used to be driven crazy by all the single-use plastic bags strewn on the streets and sidewalks here in New York City. I would pick up and recycle as many of them as I could. And then the city banned single use plastic bags! Suddenly, huge numbers of New Yorkers were carrying reusable bags over their shoulders, on the subways, on the streets, everywhere. I was thrilled.         So now what have we got? Single use face masks strewn around, and latex gloves as well. Not as many of them as there were plastic bags, of course…Certain advantages to having to pay for the PPE, and their not being entirely available…


I was also thrilled when the soccer fields and playgrounds up on the Parade Ground, just south of Prospect Park, reopened. Beautiful young people in contrasting tee-shirts kicking soccer balls back and forth, and parents pushing kids on swings, at long last. But as I was walking across the parade ground one day last week, bam, a soccer ball came over the fifteen foot fence and smacked me in the right chest, just below my shoulder. Getting hit with a soccer ball isn’t nearly as bad getting hit with a baseball, of course, so it could have been a lot worse. And the ball didn’t hit me in the face and smash my glasses. I have to admit, though, that there are signs around the athletic fields that say, more or less, that because the fields are active, it is important to be careful. I never took the warnings seriously…until now! When I have walked across the parade ground since that day, I have definitely paid more attention to the soccer balls than to the huge splendid trees and the gorgeous children…


I keep reading that the coved-19 lockdown is being really good for the environment. Substantial reduction in the CO2 levels because of so much less flying and driving cars. Sounds e ncouraging, but I have my doubts. The city of New York suspended and now, I think, ended, the compost pickup around the city. Not enough money for it in the budget because of the economic slowdown. And restaurants and coffee places won’t allow me to use the reusable cup that I have carried with me for years; might spread the virus. And apparently there’s been a huge increase in car sales in the New York metropolitan area, because people think the subways are going to be unsafe long into the future. And then there’s the massive increase in merchandise being bought through the mail, with packaging going out in the trash. Thank heaven, the city is still picking up recycling, though where it’s all going, God knows.


But my Jesuit parish, St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan, continues to live-stream the 11:30 Mass Sunday mornings. And my (non-essential) cataract surgeries are back on the calendar for late August and mid-September. I may actually be able to see again one of these days. So I have few things to be grateful for!


Stay well, you all.

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