Saturday, May 2, 2020

The dog walker at the sentry box

"THEY PUT PEOPLE ON VENTILATORS BECAUSE THEY ARE DYING," I heard myself yelling. "THEY ARE NOT PUTTING PEOPLE ON VENTILATORS TO MAKE MONEY!" My Lilith walks are usually ethnographic studies in other people, not in me. I generally try to listen, as I used to in the Alzheimer's home, sussing out voices and angles of thinking. But faced with the two men at the sentry box at Valley of the Temples Cemetery who were telling me that the COVID rates are going down and that hospitals make $300K for each COVID patient (hence putting COVID on death certificates for the money) and $200K for each person on a ventilator, I became my own subject. The heavy set Polynesian man I often exchange pleasantries with on the weekends kept pointing at his cell phone. "The CDC says the rates are going down." I said the rates are just spiking in new places. I said my husband watches the maps obsessively. The CDC maps. His thinner white guy co-worker is the one who gets me yelling, however. "I'm telling you facts," he says. "Where are you getting your facts?" I ask, more than once. "On the internet. I do research," he responds. I governed my tongue from yelling, "I'VE GOT A FUCKING PH.D.; I KNOW HOW TO DO RESEARCH!" but didn't succumb to my own elitism. After all, privilege is a problem, I'm told. "Show me the facts," I said. The white guy countered with, "You won't believe me, so I don't care." I stomped home with Lilith on a shorter leash than usual. An angry older white woman in a red cap walking her dog in the cemetery on a beautifully sunny, windy, cloudy day in Hawai`i Nei.

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