The government cannot ham-fist everyone into their bedroom. It’s just not practical.Governor DeSantis during a press conference, 4/1/2020
Do you think the governor would ham-fist everyone in their bedroom if it were practical?Josefina Jesús-María asks over reheated ribs and sticky fingers, 4/2/2020
The party is over. The fat lady has finally sung. Spring break is dead. Long live spring! Governor Ron “Hamfist” DeSantis has declared, after much Tallahassee hem-hawing, Florida is now a shelter-in-place state. DeSantis’s executive order was not decided because of medical advice, but self-admittedly, by the changed demeanor of Trump. One wonders what DeSantis will do during storm season when a hurricane is heading this way… wait to call an emergency until Trump’s hair catches wind?
Is the executive order too little too late? The median age of the infected is already closer to 0 than 100. The average age of the susceptible (the uninfected) in Florida is unofficially 93.4*, but the average age of the infected is 45**. How could this be? What could offset the average ages so dramatically? Spring breakers. Blame it on the diseased hordes of defiant Gen-Z*** coeds who insisted on traveling to Florida for spring break because of FOMO who are now foaming at the mouth, wheezing and sneezing their Covid-19 sputum on the Slurpee machines of 7-11 and the submarine sandwiches at Wawa’s.
*a reasonable guess by my calculations peering between the window blinds
**45 is the average age of the infected in Orange County, per the Orange County Health Advisor
***In all fairness, Gen-Y, X and Boom would have all similarly sacrificed their health for hyper-sexed revelry if given the chance
Before migratory students arrived, Florida’s most densely-populated city, Miami, hosted the Super Bowl, where representatives from all over the world congregated. Governor Hamfist made sure to mention, in perfect hindsight, how the Super Bowl started our trouble in February… he just didn’t notice the trouble until Trump’s demeanor changed in April.
I’m relieved by DeSantis’s begrudging shutdown. To me, personally, it has no immediate impact. I’m hunkered away, hording enough peanut butter and hand lotion to get through the next twelve moons. I don’t leave the bunker, except to bike to local breweries for various sundries and, uh… that’s about it. No need to go outside.
Until Josefina tells me we need to go to Kissimmee.
Why the flying fox do we need to go to Kissimmee, I scream in my head, using obscenities rather than “fox”. My self-censorship does little good as Josefina can read my dilated pupils and can tell my level of outrage.
“Calm down, Bunny. Don’t pop a capillary.” Josefina Jesús-María says from her luxurious position on the sofa wearing what might be the same yoga pants I’ve seen her in since this damn pandemic started. She explains her need for the trip to Kissimmee, “It’s just all this talk from Governor Hamfist. It has me thinking ribs.”
And she can’t think of any nearby rib?
“I’ll use this grapefruit spoon and take one of yours. You would have a spare rib.” She says, as if it were my fault – as a man – to pack an extra when no more were needed. On other occasion, she would say the bonus man-rib was entirely necessary to keep men from auto-fellatio, but tonight she is hungry and quick to the point, “Yes, there is something closer than Kissimmee and it is called dissatisfaction. Or…” she smiles like a lunatic. “We could choose satisfaction and go to Carpe Porcus.”
Carpe Porcus being the “world-renown” barbeque food truck she just read about in social media 40 minutes ago and has been hankering for ever since. But Kissimmee? That’s two counties away.
“Tomorrow is April 2nd and the entire state will be shut-down for unessential travel.”
“So you admit!”
“This is essential travel.”
This is how most of our deliberations go. I present my rational argument only to be refuted by her determination.
We pack a cooler to carry the potentially disease-infested pork. We bring gloves. We bring masks, disinfectant wipes, sunglasses, sunscreen, freezer bags, a can of stale lawn-mower gas and a roll of toilet paper for bartering. I take my machete, leaving it within arm’s reach, but not anywhere too threatening in case we are pulled over by the Seminole County or Orange County or Osceola County police on the way to ribs or the Osceola, Orange or Seminole cops on the way back. But if we’re harassed by highwaymen, well… my machete is definitely within reach. Though in practice trials all I have accomplished in these scenarios was tearing the ceiling upholstery out from my car. Machetes are difficult to operate in short-range. Fortunately, Josefina has Off! in the glovebox should she see a bug or need to temporarily blind a traffic cop or bandit.
We take a deep breath and depart from the bunker. Where there is enough light, we drive without our headlights to avoid detection. There are a few pedestrians; they might be the uninfected out on a walk across the highway, but at this point, we must take precaution against the probability they are infected, hacking their bat-flu expectorate on my windshield as they crosswalk.
As we pass from one suburb to the next along the outskirts of Orlando, we notice several Coronavirus candidates. Some of them are doubled-over with intoxicated dry-heaves; or allergies; or “the ‘Vid” as kids are calling Covid-19 these days. A few wayward, snotty, 19 year-olds wandering aimlessly might be spring-broke coeds in search of brains to eat. A couple of water-logged, luxury-class, once-had-it-all, tunnel-and-bridgers who’ve swam ashore after jumping overboard one of the cruise ships denied port in Florida stumble across the road with soggy boat shoes and distant stares while searching their smart phones to find out if hitchhiking is still a thing but their smart phones are 20,000 leagues drowned. A family of snakebite serpent-handling evangelicals who refuse to not congregate on the assumption their god has their specific best interests in mind are handing out disease-speckled bibles. We pass poste-haste.
We reach the food-truck, Carpe Porcus. We flash our high beams and they send out a scout. Josefina leaves our car to negotiate, keeping a distance of 8 feet. The scout waves to the watching eyes within the truck. Soon, peons carry pounds of pork rib, mashed potato and green beans, placing them neatly before us. Josefina sprays the Lysol as a preliminary attack before seizing the food and loading it into the back of our vehicle. I watch through the rear-view as I listen to NPR.
Josefina jumps back into the passenger seat and tells me, “Put the ham-foot to the pedal and the pedal to the metal! We need to get across county lines before curfew or we’re going to be eating Lysol- disinfected cold pig while hiding in an orange grove.”