Human Ingenuity

In case anybody out there was still wondering: Coronavirus does not melt away like butter on a griddle when it gets hot. The high today in Madrid will be 102°; we still have Coronavirus. Less than there was, less of it than there is in the States; but facts are facts: the virus isn’t going anywhere.

Life Before is a country we can’t travel back to, not even if we quarantine for 14 days — but we’re making adjustments, putting human ingenuity to work in changing circumstances. Not only has every every single tailor in Madrid turned their hands to making masks*, but the other day I received, as a freebie from an insurance company, a metal “door opener” to attach to my keychain. It looks a little like brass knuckles but it gets the job done.

A year ago, using this to open the door to the elevator in our building would have made me seem like notorious germaphobe Howard Hughes, shuffling around Hollywood with Kleenex boxes on his feet. Now, anybody who spots me using this probably covets one for themself (at least this is what I tell myself as I punch the buttons in the elevator with a flourish).

Although it’s just been a couple of weeks since the last Public Service Announcement campaign went up in the bus stops (Don’t Wear Your Mask as a Scarf), this morning I noticed a new one. Madrid in the Hands of All, reminds the text on one side, and on the other, graphics of hands illustrate social mores of handwashing, or social distancing. This one, using a hand as a mask, is particularly clever. I’m impressed by whatever agency comes up with these.

*There are floral masks, single color masks, masks with a small Spanish flag on one side, favored by VOX supporters; today, I saw a sand-camouflage version, to match a soldier’s sand-camouflaged fatigues.