During the Covid-19 health crisis, I think that we have all accepted the restrictions placed upon us by governmental officials to some degree. Even if some of us haven’t internally bought them all, we’ve complied with at least the “letter of the law.” In California, that means that we wear masks in stores and public buildings. While dining out, we eat outside on makeshift patios; this will very soon become interesting for those who live in areas where it gets cold. We don’t gather in groups larger than ten, and in some cases, we don’t assemble with those outside our immediate family group. In other words, even though most of us are sick and tired of these, now eight-month long, restrictions – I think the official phrase is “Covid-fatigue” – we do what we are asked for the sake of public health.
For those who are Christian, we likely internally justify quietly living with these restrictions we are tired of out of a sense of service to neighbor and a Romans 13-esque biblically mandated compliance to governmental authority. But still, many of us are annoyed and just plain ol’ wore out. In fact, some don’t completely agree that every restriction is well-intended or does what it claims to accomplish.
For now, I will leave my disdain for some of the official government edicts aside here (like unreasonable restrictions on public worship) and address a few of the non-governmental closures and limitations I have encountered, most of which I think make no sense. I have come to call these corporate and individual refusals to fulfill vocation during this time, Covid laziness.
I have had the occasion due to family circumstances and work requirements to travel some during this time. My travel has mostly involved road trips and a few hotel stays. While driving either medium or long distances, I often need to stop to use the bathroom. Well, good luck. Most fast food bathrooms are closed, as are many gas station bathrooms. Can someone tell me how closing public toilets keep me healthier? I don’t think it does. Instead, it seems that cleaning requirements have increased during Covid and that corporations and individuals have decided it is too challenging to keep bathrooms as clean as they ought to have been all along, and instead have closed them. Covid laziness.
My local hardware store has decided that it will keep us all healthier if they channel us through one door in one line. Huh? For a time, this ridiculous policy was common everywhere and seems to now only persist at my local hardware store. Covid laziness or just dumb? Okay, maybe that one is just dumb.
Hotels have almost wholesale stopped providing many of the services they usually might, such as cleaning the rooms due to Covid. What? How does it keep me healthier not to clean my room? Isn’t cleanliness next to godliness? Or is this another case of Covid laziness?
I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point. If not, let me be more explicit. We have all had to make changes during this weird and truly unprecedented time. Those changes ought to make sense and be justifiable public health improvements rather than just abrogation of vocation and public service. Again, we all have had to make serious adjustments. We might accept the changes we need to make more graciously if the public “essential services” wholly provided the services upon which we have always relied. If we need to be out, we will need to eat, fuel up, evacuate our waste, and efficiently and safely get the supplies that drove us out in the first place.
Vocation is service to one’s neighbor by providing the external (public or civic) services one’s calling requires. Our vocations vary for all of us, depending on our particular calling. Maybe during this time, more than ever, we ought to examine whether or not we are living fully in our public vocations or if we are succumbing to Covid laziness.