Mulhall column: Extreme traffic calming
What a contrast.
As I sip my morning coffee and survey the valley from my back deck these days, I’m reminded the empty lanes I now see along Midland were not all that long ago a headlight-to-brake-light rope of idling vehicles stretching as far as the eye could see.
From bridge construction to coronavirus.
What a contrast.
Yes, coronavirus — you know, that unwanted houseguest who’s overstayed his welcome.
Right now he’s rifling through the bottom shelf of your refrigerator after crawling in through the duct work because you observed the stay-at-home mandate and haven’t unlocked the front door in days.
Yet, you just can’t escape the guy, and while your options for trying are now limited by Gov. Polis, he even comes in through local TV news, as if to prove who’s really in charge here.
And, just when you think the news has said all there is to say about him, they come up with more. Heck, I half expect someone to start talking about how cool virus names are.
“Herpes thimplex 10.” Toothy grin.
You just know some Denver news anchor broadcasting from a spare bedroom with his laptop’s camera zooming in on his unkempt nose hair is going to launch into an Eddie Murphy impersonation and try it on “coronaviruth.”
But the virus’ ubiquitous tendencies aside, healthy cells, individual liberty and human life itself aren’t the only casualties here.
Hardly. For an entire generation, coronavirus may have single-handedly rendered meaningless some of the most long-standing, archetypal rock-and-roll lyrics ever written.
Alice Cooper didn’t write “Schools out for the foreseeable future.” Lynryd Skynryd never sang “A-won’t you give me six feet, give me six feet mister.” And Thin Lizzy would never have cracked the top 40 with the refrain, “the boys are back in their parents’ basements.”
I feel for the young people.
Of course, I feel for the old people too, and not merely because I am one — right on the border between the age class with the highest hospitalization rate and the one with the most fatalities.
One of the harshest effects of forced quarantine on the elderly is apparent in the Democrat’s presidential race.
All the usual forums afforded by the media in an election year dried up almost as quickly as the Democrat field shriveled to two white male septuagenarians: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Lacking the kind of exposure you want at that age, Joe Biden tried shadowing President Trump’s daily virus briefings with his own.
I, for one, looked forward to these. I thought it wouldn’t be long before Joe raised the subject of coronavirus safety precautions and riffed on how to sniff hair through an N95 mask. While his virus briefings haven’t panned out, he’s taken up podcasts, but you still don’t hear all that much about him these days.
Same with Bernie, really. Bernie was laying low, but on Wednesday he too dropped out, perhaps because too many voters figured out forced unemployment and toilet paper shortages provide a G-rated preview of what communist revolution looks like.
Yes, even the Democrats’ presidential race takes a back seat to this virus.
And, that’s pretty much where we all are in all of this, for the most part dutifully second-fiddling to a virus who’d just as soon kill us as cripple our livelihoods and re-order our futures, or something like that.
Whether it’s a survival instinct or a character attribute, I try to see the good in whatever comes my way, but coronavirus chaos has really begun to tax my ability to find the positive.
If, like me, you’re searching daily for something fresh and encouraging while you pace the increasingly thread-bear carpet between the living room and the kitchen, there is an observation, however hapless, that fills the bill:
If you’ve been to the Glenwood City Market lately, you now know what it was like to drive Grand Avenue in 1975.
Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com
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