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Third Day Behind the Mask
A Hobo History Journal: Saturday, August 14th, 2nd Year of Our Lord Floyd
The fully-booked half-empty train roared on into the first clear sky between Ocean City, Maryland and Grand Junction, Colorado. The haze gathers from California fires beginning at Denver and grows thicker through Nevada. But rain clouds finally abate at about Glenwood Springs, Colorado. As I write now in Nevada, it is much greener than last summer, though to an easterner still brown.
As soon as I put the computer away yesterday evening the delays began, with numerous Union Pacific freight trains bullying this passenger train aside. Two delays were caused by a man walking west on the tracks and not hearing the train horn in time. Between him leaping to the side and the engineer braking, he was saved. Brad assures us that numerous pedestrians are swept away by locomotives every year. He waved his thanks and the engineer had to stop again to check the brakes.
Brad has informed us that Amtrak has a four step mask policy:
-1. This policy announcement
-2. Courteous reminder
-3. Written warning
-4. Removal from the train with baggage
He then reiterates the policy of lights out and quiet in the coaches between 10-and-7, which is one reason why destination slips are put above each of our seats, so that the conductors my come and wake us quietly, for there are no announcements at night except in an emergency.
Then, in contrast to the mask policy, which he and the other conductors admit to being unsavory, onerous and “debatable,” Brad reminded us:
“Ladies and gentleman, Amtrak has a zero tolerance smoking policy. This includes the bathroom. We have maintained smoking privileges on train platforms, even in communities like Glenwood Springs, where forest fires, leading to this year's mudslides, have been caused by careless smokers. We announce all upcoming smoke breaks, so please, use the proper receptacles for disposing of your cigarette butts provided on the platform. They look like traffic cones.
“With these old Superliner trains, the way the ventilation system works, as soon as you light up in the bathroom, we know—everyone on the train knows. In such cases there is no warning. We simply put you off the train—on this desert mountain if need be, with your baggage of course.”
Rod Pascal, Amtrak beer vendor on the California Zephyr, part of the hospitality staff that stays on the train from Chicago to Emmeryville [unlike conductors and engineers which change between Chicago and Denver, Denver and Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City and Winiuppa Nevada, and finally on to Emmeryville, California, makes his 9:59 announcement that he is open to 11:00 and will reopen at 6:30 A.M....
Speaking of this high desert town crowded with sage brush, here we stop for a crew change and receive three ghetto-ass Queans and their attendant Prince, giantesses all, asses as wide as the aisle, standing six and a half feet—it occurs that for some tasks airliners are not adequate.
I have noticed that half of the people on board are complaining of summer colds, that my family back east who got vaxxed had summer colds, and then I wonder if something is haunting us.
The new conductor encourages us to “Follow the federal law...that we enforce it just like the airlines by putting you off. But we don't turn around, we just drop you off at the next town. So please, follow the federal law.”
Earlier, in the bathroom, as I whore-bathed and shaved, I noted that after 2.5 days behind the mask, that my chin has dent beard, an impression on my bristle-hound yeti chin hair that makes it easier to maintain the mouth and nose covering policy of the Lark Lord in His White House and his Nazgul and their millions of minions. I look like an Amish biker.
I yearn for the mountains where I might breathe directly with the world—it is two hours to Reno and the vast, tweaker tent City. We are told that we cannot even unmask on the train platform. I have noted that the bathrooms are unusually full for long periods and muse that people—as I did this morning—are taking their time alone in the three by 3 foot aluminum privy chambers to remain unmasked and alone.
Whatever the source of the belief that masks—as effective against virus transmission as wire fencing and screens are against rain penetration—have saved humanity from the flu, which numbers were obviously reassigned to Brovid, I hold a suspicion. This suspicion is born of my dysfunction, of Mamma dropping me on my head as a babe my family supposes.
It is that the reason for a thing is maliable, maleable, maeliable, maliabel, mailable...okay, I gave up on spelling that and don't want to write variable, fungible or in flux...
The suspicion is, is that whatever the real or stated reason for a human social norm, that the ongoing reason for that collective behavior—especially those behaviors enforced by amoral hierarchies such as a democracy or a republic—is the effect of the behavior. So, although the reason for the use of masks to combat plague may very well be rooted in a misunderstanding of respiratory disease transmission, the purpose for masking has become alienation.
Masks reduce empathy, cause social distance, achieve more complete alienation of people who are not compulsive slaves to rules, limit individual identity [note that public figures and celebrities alone speak unmasked], consign coworkers and colleagues and doctors and patience and teachers and students to more separation, which always reduced empathy and hardens the pack instinct to mob up on the individual.
Another effect of mask cultism has been that sleeping car passengers [upper class and upper middle class] have been totally separated from coach class passengers—we can no longer dine with them in the dinning car. This effect has now become a reason for the segregation and sleeping car booking increase as coach booking decrease, increasing profit by a multiple of three.
Whatever the genesis of Mask Cultism, the dehumanizing and pariah-marking effect of Mask Cultism is now its aim—for the Tree of Good and Evil has borne only wicked fruit in this season. This next season's seedlings shall be evil all, and their seedlings after them shall increase into the long nightfall of our Civilization which now has no greater mission than than instilling mass fright by gaslight.
I have rarely been so content to be evil myself, to be a woke devil of dastard hue, scurrying across the back of a dying civilization that blames me for all of its woes, by virtue of the fact that I was born both pale and its prisoner.
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