The Public Eye

printed 03/27/2020

All during this whatever you want to call it — pandemic, crisis, scourge or outbreak — a couple of images have been coming to mind with a worrisome frequency.

I say worrisome, because I’d rather not think of what I’m going to look like when I escape this work-at-home fortress of solitude and venture into the real world.

The problem is my imagery doesn’t work with everyone, as I discovered at the office before I departed a week ago, telling a young co-worker, “By the time I get out of seclusion, I’ll probably have hair down to my waist and four-inch fingernails, just like Howard Hughes.”

“Who’s Howard Hughes?” she asked.

That’s just annoying. You come up with something you think is mildly funny and then realize the only people who would get it are probably at the pharmacy collecting their monthly supply of Old Pills. Besides, I do have a nail clipper, even if it is in my fishing tackle box.

As for the hairier aspect of that description, all I can say is if I don’t get out of here and get a haircut before May, I’ll be Rapunzeling out the window on my own extended tangle just for something to do.

As for the other image that concerns me, it involves a baby bird that has just left the nest and entered an unrecognizable world where every occurrence, every moving thing and every noise is a surprise for which it is not prepared, and which must be broken down into two categories 1. Will eat me; 2. Won’t eat me.

I do not, of course, worry about cannibalism — depending on the stock market — but I do see myself as kind of being kind of bewildered and not knowing what to expect when I leave my own self-isolation.

Will it be the same? Will people recognize me? Will I feel the earth moving under my feet? Or, given everything that has happened, will I just stand around and say …

Baby Robin

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