Observations from a Circle of Rhode Island

A local errand that became a statewide journey thanks to our government’s response to COVID-19 led me to three observations, yesterday:

  1. Judged by traffic and parking, it isn’t summer in Newport.  It’s an unusually warm January.
  2. Toll gantries are now everywhere — scarring the landscape, looming, awaiting the flip of a switch that will start the flow of money from your bank account into the state’s poorly managed coffers.
  3. Every third piece of litter along the highway is a mask.

We’ve all heard the scary anecdotes from the small minority of people infected with COVID-19 who got the worst of it, and we’ve all been conditioned to feel a shiver of fear when more than 0.0001 of the state’s population tests positive on a given day.  Still, in a year from now, these observations that nobody has been mentioning may prove to have been more consequential.

A year ago, models predicting a different climate a century from now were treated as harbingers of an existential threat.  Yet, nobody seems concerned that we’ve turned summer into winter on America’s Cup Ave.