SocraticGadfly: Being out and about in the new COVID era: Some blunt advice from 'Doc Steve'

March 21, 2020

Being out and about in the new COVID era:
Some blunt advice from 'Doc Steve'

Last weekend, I wrote about behavioral psychology, and specifically what something like Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" has to say about reacting to COVID-19 concerns. Other psychologists agree.

A number have also talked about "accepting uncertainty," and we're going to start there, and there's going to be a number of four-letter words. If you don't like it, that's your fucking problem, because there's a gazillion of Merikans who need being slapped upside their fucking heads.

OK, first, that uncertainty itself?

To mash up the Serenity Prayer and the old 1970s and 1980s Fram commercials? You can either accept today's degree of uncertainty or else get force-fed a whole fucking bunch more of it later. There's nothing else you can do.

Second, to some more moderate comments.

Non-COVID respiratory issues

It's spring allergy season here in Tex-ass, and many other places in the southern tier of the U.S., and that will be moving north as spring does itself.

You don't need either to make yourself a mix of paranoiac and hypochondriac, or others paranoid, by not being FULLY prepared if you have ANY problem with seasonal allergies in your past life history.

Without hoarding, make sure you have a fully adequate supply of Claritin, Xirtec, or whatever your pill of choice is. Generics are fine. Ditto on Flonase or similar for the nostrils.

Ditto on Mucinex or generics for congestion. You don't need to be clearing your throat from nasal drainage and be misinterpreted.

Get plenty of cough drops, too. Hydrated regularly, but moderately, with water. Reduce caffeine, too, I think. Booze also dehydrates you, and too much of it, just like caffeine too late in the day, actually hurts your sleep.

Speaking of?

Sleep scientists have been telling Merika and the whole Western / "developed" world for years that too many of us don't get enough. If you're working from home, or not, restaurants may be closed in your area, grocery shopping limited (try not to overdo "store hopping" etc. and more on that below) and so, you've got more time on your hands. Get an extra  half an hour, or full hour, or even more, if needed, of shut-eye. Don't claim you get more than you actually do. (Don't lie about health and dietary issues in general, and more on that below too.)

Cleaning your home or apartment?

Do NOT overdo the use of chemicals, especially if you're older, allergenic or otherwise likely to have your nasal passages, throat or lungs irritated. And definitely don't do this 10 minutes before going out shopping. See above.


OK, we're back to four-letter territory, and it's going to come in spades, because there's lots of selfish dum fuqs out there. I saw some of you.

First, make a fucking list before you leave home. Preferably ON PAPER, not on your smartphone. If you don't have a computer instead of a device, and / or don't have a printer? There's these two things called "pen" and "paper." Learn or re-learn the fuck how to use them.

Second, when you get in that store, don't dawdle. That starts by hanging up that fucking smartphone while you're shopping. You're there to get shit, get in, get out, and lessen possible contagion exposure, or if you've got COVID already and don't know it, lessen MY possible contagion exposure.


Third? If the store is out of something? Make a quick but not panicky decision for the best reasonable alternative. Like bleach spray? If it's gone, but a gallon jug of plain old Clorox is available and you have a spray bottle already? Buy the Clorox, mix it with a little hand soap when you get home.

Third, part two? If it's a particular brand of pickles and a certain type? (Actually seen in a Denton Kroger.) THEY AIN'T FUCKING GOT IT, LADY. Move on. Ditto for any other food. Stop pestering stressed, overtaxed store employees. (Worse, she was over 60, if not over 65, and in one of those powercart shoppers — prime high-risk candidate.)

Fourth and an update? Best example I've read since I originally wrote this, and it's actually a bit of a riff on that. Pretend like every other person in that store is smoking a cig. Unless you're still a smoker yourself, you'll get your ass out and fast.

Fifth? Unless you have actual gluten sensitivity, celiac disorder, etc.? Stop buying the gluten-free food. Hint: If you CLAIM to have such sensitivity, but are still drinking "gluten juice" (beer), you're lying to yourself. And if you claim otherwise (as I've had a gluten froo-frooer or two do before) to me, you're lying to me.

Sixth? If you don't like this? Order groceries delivered to you until that's no longer a fucking option, at least as far as being picky about particular brands. Otherwise, get the hell out of the grocery store.

Seventh, and added? Getting an extra $20 at every store you shop, on cash back? If the US money supply really becomes THAT bad as you're imaging it, an extra $100 in your wallet won't help. Stop being a fucking idiot.

Finally, per American Indians with research science degrees, stop peddling your fucking "ancient Indian cures."  And, unless you'd like to be a potential Darwin Award winner, stop using that stuff yourself.


Texas, like several states, has limited restaurants to take-out and delivery service at this time. A few notes and a few more F-bombs.

I think it's OK if you ask a fast-casual or sit-down restaurant that's doing takeout for a special order. Do NOT, in my opinion, though, drive your ass to McDonald's drive-through and ask for "double pickles, no onion" or shit like "hold the pickles, hold the lettuce."

"Special orders don't upset us"? The hell they won't. They'll upset people behind you in the drive-through, if nothing else. (That's even more with Dallas County having a shelter in place order now.)

Even more so, I'm sorry, but don't pull up at a hamburger joint asking for vegetarian food. Go to Subway, or else get tortillas and veggies and make you a wrap at home.

Speaking of? Per the "more time on our hands, so sleep more"? I respectfully suggest that, if the grocery stores don't run out of food entirely, many Americans learn or relearn how to cook, or cook better.

Finally, with all the additional restaurant drive-through and take-out traffic? Watch how you and others drive.

Back indoors and making healthy suggestions

Do NOT be like Trump touting old anti-malarial drugs, or Jim Bakker and Alex Jones with nanosilver or whatever. Do not promote homeopathy, New Ageism, reiki or whatever. I will almost certainly BOTH block your ass and report your posts. At a minimum, even if we're friends for other reasons or other needs, I'm going to mute you or otherwise do something.

Rather, it's the common sense things — sleep, exercise and stress reduction. Period.

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