Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Moral Equivalent of Hazardous Front Line Work


Nurses can't work a three hour shift, so neither will I, wrapped in a white onesie, commonly called PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which everyone knows, because of it. Gas mask, goggles, and rubber gloves to protect my hands, my eyes, my body from fungicide. It's the May Day holiday for celebrating organized labor, and I've never worked harder, imagining the sprayed mist is Covid-19, Wuhan Flu, Ebola. Sunglasses - to protect my retinas - pressed hard against my face by goggles, painfully pinching my nose's bridge, labored breathing marching up the hill echoing Darth Vader on a ventilator, then, moving one step at a time, cautiously, watching for the leviathan, sure enough, at the corner of the vineyard, the Valley of Death, she's there, ten rings round her rattle, "Oh!" I step back, and she rises to strike and shakes her castanets.

"I'm the wine guy who brought you the wine," I'll say to the nurses at the hospital's emergency room. "Can you spare some antivenin?"

"We've been expecting you."

Joe the Wino stopped by to trade two bottles of wine for avocados, wine I have in abundance, but food is what I need to eat and live, there being no income to buy, the noblesse oblige of  trickle down economics, but I miss Joe, he arrives when I'm on the hill, and there is no break, and I tell myself the nurses can't stop, so neither will I, and keep spraying. It's the least I can do to honor their work.