Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsome recently instructed residents of the formerly Golden State to read a list of outdoor activities that the state says are still permissible during the shelter-in-place order. The menu of state-approved activities includes throwing a baseball or softball, singles Badminton, tree climbing, car-washing, and gardening-- if not done in groups. Newsome told Californians, “We want you to see sunsets.” As long as social distancing is practiced, he added. Seeing the sun rise is also okay with the powers that be in Sacramento. How benevolent. How magnanimous. Big Brother is so kind and generous.
“Walking the dog” is okay, if it’s not used as a double entendre or in reference to a hidden meaning. (Don’t look it up in the “Urban Dictionary!”) Yoga made the list, too. Duh! I mean, like, it would have so totally pissed southern Californians off if it hadn’t. The same goes for meditation. Newsome is allowing his citizens to meditate. Table tennis—singles only—made the cut, though I personally don’t consider it an “outdoor activity.” Individual “soft” martial arts are tolerated (but apparently not ”hard” ones, whatever those are), as is “scootering,” though not in groups in excess of one. “Crabbing” isn’t supposed to bring Der Kommissar to your door in the middle of the night, either, but, if he should show up anyway, running is permitted, too.
Apparently, gnat-swatting is also okay, as is croquet if limited to 3 wickets total and played by no more than two people. I am assuming that mowing the lawn is an approved activity, too, provided one uses an electric mower, of course. (Watering your lawn is strictly verboten, and watering bans are firmly in place.) But I wonder if washing exterior windows is okay? Two-person hide and go seek if the person being sought does not venture more than 25 feet from their starting spot? Small group tag if each participant is clad in a hazmat suit? Can a child play in a sandbox or use the swing-set, if he or she is wearing a mask and gloves?
One thing we do know: lurking outside while observing and reporting on your neighbors is not only okay, but state-sanctioned. “Outdoor photography” is alright with the Gov, too, particularly if one is photographing one’s neighbors in non-compliance with his mandates prior to sending the pics in to him (along with the neighbor’s names, addresses and social security numbers).
Snitching has replaced baseball as the new American pastime. An attitude akin to “better red than dead” is back in a big way. And, sadly, this time it’s here to stay.
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