Nearly three thousand deaths from the virus yesterday while we wait for a vaccine and a new president to appear. Questions have emerged about whether the government can prohibit religious gatherings in the interest of public health. Are our spiritual needs as essential as groceries? Where are the lines drawn between a funeral, a restaurant, and a protest?

Walking through the parking lot of a strip mall, I caught a glimpse of people eating inside an Olive Garden or maybe a Red Lobster. I gaped like a hermit suddenly confronted by society, floored by the sight of middle-aged couples, toddlers, and grandparents laughing and chewing and gabbing at waiters. All those mouths looked violent. The infection rate has crossed 15% here in Ohio. Maybe it’s like smoking: the damage is hidden, so far so good, and it’s easy to pretend we’re taking a personal risk while overlooking the effect on others.

Last year, C. and I drove across Nevada. We were starving as we sped through the dark, but we held out for a well-reviewed buffet on the edge of Vegas. We later learned a man shot himself in the head on Easter Sunday as a gesture of revenge after losing his lifetime pass to eat there for free. He had won it in a contest. This feels like a very American story.

HTRK – Eat Yr Heart

Work, Work, Work | Ghostly International, 2011 | Bandcamp