Yes, I am aware that hygiene theater is two words. Bite me.
Am I cranky? Yep. It’s been a long four and a half months. I’m sick of the pandemic, the closures, the conspiracy theories. (I am not, however, sick-sick.) I miss libraries. I miss film festivals. I miss the sauna at the Dolphin Club after a cold bay swim.
I keep hearing in my head the voice of a woman who was a regular at a gym I used to belong to. (I miss gyms.) She was a naturalized US citizen, originally from Ukraine: a large, cheerful, middle-aged woman who always had a friendly word for everyone. But after Sarah Palin* was nominated as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008, my gym-mate came into the locker room sounding glum.
“America,” she said in her Slavically accented English, sighing loudly enough to be overheard in the next row of lockers. “Such a beautiful country—with so many idiots.”
So let’s talk about hygiene theater.