Sunday, July 19, 2020

Test Your Coronal Comfort Zone With The Inga Index

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published July 22, 2020] ©2020

It occurred to me that one of the difficulties in these coronaviral times is that even people we think of as kindred souls have very different levels of comfort as to how much social distancing and disinfecting they require.  It would be nice if there were a scale that would give people a score that they could just pass on to their friends and relatives so you wouldn’t have to go through this whole laborious “we’re doing this but we’re not doing that” dialog.  As my contribution to pandemic living, I have created one. 

I also have to confess that I myself have had moments of Covid Psychosis. My L.A grandkids had all their summer camps cancelled and went to spend the summer with the other grandparents on the east coast.  I wanted to give them their birthday money but then started reading about the possibility that coronal cooties could live on paper bills for unknown periods of time - 2 hours to three weeks, depending on whatever Leading Authority you’re trusting that week. So after some research, I wiped the money with alcohol wipes, left it in the sun for three days, ironed the bills at the hottest setting that wouldn’t ignite them, then quarantined them for four days.  Then I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Who ARE you?” 

Anyway, here’s my quiz:

Your general feeling about coronavirus is:
• It’s a political hoax.
• It’s all the fault of some much-maligned people far away, one of whom unfortunately decided to ingest a bat. #acaseforgoingvegan
• You are not getting on an airplane ever again.
• Four months ago you’d never even heard of Instacart.
• Are there really 400 rolls of toilet paper in the garage? 

Social gatherings with friends.  You:
• routinely attend all bar re-openings. You only have one life (and in this case, it may be a short one).
• will do Zoom happy hours only.
• will do outside happy hours if there is enough breeze to sweep away aerosols from the area (proven scientific fact).
• will do outside happy hours if the air is totally still so as not to blow aerosols on others (proven scientific fact). 
• will do outside happy hours if the hostess is clear you are ABSOLUTELY NOT comfortable consuming any food, at least until you’ve had a few drinks and eat the entire cheese platter.
• wear masks to Zoom meetings, ignoring people who make fun of you. #lastlaugh

Family interactions.  You:
• could not have imagined in your worst dreams that you saved all these years to pay $50,000 for your college student to be remotely learning at your dining room table.
• have no clue what “family groupings” actually means.
• socially distance from own children, especially if they’re teenagers.
• use home schooling time to stick pins into facsimile dolls of Zoom creator.
• will dine at the home of persons over 65 only if you stand to inherit.

Community interactions. You:
• frequently check in with neighbors, offering love and paper products. #bringingoutthebestinpeople
• have appointed self Chief of Covid Police, posting regular rants on your neighborhood Next Door about perceived non-compliance. #bringingouttheworstinpeople
• get very very mad at anyone who makes the teeniest joke about Covid-19 since it is a Very Serious Matter Not To Be Joked About Ever And That Could Be YOUR Grandmother Who Gets Sick and Dies.
• have been wearing the same blue paper mask for four months, even after it fell into a dish of seafood linguine in April.
• refuse to wear mask because it is your Constitutional right not to, according to your neighbor Jerry who is very certain about this.

Contamination containment.  You:
• wear mask as mandated by law.
• wear mask to water plants in secluded back yard.
• sleep in mask.
• make dog wear mask.
• have not left bedroom since March 1, subsisting on beef jerky and tap water.

Disinfecting measures. You:
• regularly disinfect masks plus any items entering your home.
• sterilize money.  (Public Service Announcement: Microwaving paper money for more than one minute will set it on fire. Really.)
• surreptitiously spritz elevator buttons with purse-size bottle of rubbing alcohol before touching.
• tried to steal the bottle of hand sanitizer that was duct-taped to the counter at CVS last March.
• clean Lysol wipes container with Clorox wipes.

Now here’s the problem I haven’t worked out yet: exactly how to score it.  Definitely a work in progress. But I think it could be a really useful, nay, essential tool in this Covid world.  Instead of trying to assess just how strict – or lax – someone is about following Covid regulations, you could just ask, “So what’s your score on the Inga Index?”  Until there’s a vaccine, it would be a lot less stressful just to stick with people in your own comfort range. 

In the meantime, please don’t iron money.

Yes, I really did this.

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