Home is Where the Phone is…

graphic of the word HOME showing four seasons

I got a letter in the mail yesterday. Not an actual handwritten envelope from a friend, but a mass-mailing from the quick oil change spot that I drove through last month. So I plopped it down in the pile of low-priority mail in my kitchen, and didn’t give it another brain cell until today, when I was doing some recycling and envelope-opening.

I unfolded the piece of oil-change-company correspondence, expecting to read a “thank you for your patronage” or perhaps a coupon for my next visit. However:

January 11, 2021
Dear Ms. ___, We are doing what we can to keep everyone safe in the covid pandemic. [blah, blah, safety measures, stay in your car, blah blah.] We have learned on January 10 that one of our employees in [the location I patronized] has tested positive for covid. The last date this employee was on-site was January 6. Please refer to the CDC website for guidance… blah blah blah.

So, I checked my receipts, and the day I may/may not have been around this employee was December 30. Was the person who handled my transaction, the one who has tested positive? Were they carrying the virus at that point? Even if I got a brain-swab today, it’s not likely that it would accurately detect an exposure from three weeks ago. At least, that’s my current reasoning. Who knows.

The state that I live in has an app that people can download, which will send you an alert if your phone has been in proximity to someone who then tests positive for corona. I haven’t installed this app, however. In general, I don’t dig conspiracy theories, but I don’t love apps that real-time track my physical location.

I’m imagining a little man whose job it is to watch my travels via this app (if my phone had it installed, which I have declined to do). Perhaps they are in a cave-like cubicle, with cables and mouses (mice?) and monitors. I wonder how many citizens each of these (imaginary) employees are responsible to survey. Do they get Starbucks in their employee break room? What about a 401k? Do they get to listen to music on headphones while they work?

If this imaginary electronic spy had me as part of his case load, he had better be provided with some serious espresso. My blip on his radar screen hasn’t moved very far over the past ten months. Monitoring me would be a major yawner.

If I were to author a travelogue covering my adventures over the past year, it might be entitled “The Places You Most Certainly Won’t Go!”… with apologies to Dr. Seuss….

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