Another Road Trip To The Confederacy Of Dunces

-by Exile Johnny

[Editor's Note: Once again, our intrepid reporter, Exile Johnny, heads down

to Flor-i-duh. He's just returned to New York in the nick of time as Spring Break

arrives and turns Flor-i-duh into the nation's biggest Super Spreader event.

Yes, he's lived to tell the tale!]

When we were last headed south, it was June, and my wife and I were headed

to Florida for a very brief trip. More recently, I'd been gung-ho to go back since

the beginning of the new year, in an attempt to escape the winter for a few

weeks. Mrs. Exile Johnny was not so eager. We have our own little place

down there, and I felt that we should just get down there, and relax in

the sun a bit. Going to the beach, and walking in the park are quite

low risk activities, I argued, and that's all I really needed from the trip.

Well, after the 20 inch snow storm we had the first weekend of February

and then another 8 inches a few days later, my wife finally agreed and off

we went.

We left first thing in the morning on President's Day. As we drove thru

Virginia, and into the Carolinas, at many of the over passes on I-95,

there were groups of people with Trump 2020 banners jumping up and down,

to show their continued 'support'. And while we certainly still see

signs of this cult like activity in the tri-state area, the amount of

Trump bumper stickers on cars, flags and banners outside peoples' homes,

on billboards, on motorcycles, etc, etc, was quite disturbing. One

campaign billboard that had not yet been taken down simply read, "Stop

Socialism! Vote for Donald Trump."

On the previous trip, we had an incident at a Cracker Barrel in the

Carolina's, when we made a pit stop, as people were pointing and

laughing at my wife for wearing a mask. We made a similar stop this

time and, surprisingly, the majority of people inside this time did seem

to be wearing masks. However, there was a sign on the door as you

entered the establishment, stating something along the lines of due to

current government restrictions, you should not be entering the premises

if you have a temperature. There was nothing on that sign, and there was

no other signage, saying anything about Covid, or anything about wearing

a mask, and certainly no one anywhere taking said temperatures as people

entered either the main door, or the feeding area.

The West Palm Beach area where we stay displayed an interesting

dichotomy, though not so surprising. Older people for the most part,

seemed to be behaving very, very conservatively. Masks, distancing

(even when they are conversing outside), not venturing often from home,

except for the requisite grocery shopping for the most part. But a

great deal of the under 55-60 population seemed to not have a care in

the world about any sort of pandemic. The most glaring and, by far, the

most disturbing thing we saw on the trip was the 2 nights we decided to

take after dinner drives into the downtown areas (one night downtown

West Palm, and another to downtown DelRay Beach). We did not get out

of the car but, on both occasions, witnessed multiple crowded/packed

bars/clubs with large crowds of maskless yahoos, obviously behaving as

if there was no concern whatsoever about anything. It was quite

disturbing, to say the least.

Another thing that I found off kilter was the advertising I was seeing

on TV, and in print, in the area. A lot of the promotion I was seeing

for stores and events seemed to be using precautions as a selling point

to get older people out, as opposed to being a health objective. In

other words, if you saw a TV ad for an event, the fact that they were

telling you masks were required, etc, was presented more in a fashion

like it was a feature, and not a necessary preventative. Imagine the

voice of a guy advertising the Monster Truck Rally in his deep voice

saying "Now with face coverings and temperatures of under 99 degrees


All in all, the behavior we witnessed was a reinforcement of our beliefs

of why this virus is not going away easily. There are just way too many

people who are totally uncaring, and irresponsible. It also reinforces

another belief, that if we had better leadership from the beginning (the

kind that led by example), things would likely be much better by now.

Upon our just concluded return to NY, the first afternoon back, I had a business

appointment at someone's home in North Jersey. I pulled up to the house

and, right across the street from where I was parking, was a giant

TRUMP 2020 flag. It may be more prevalent the further south you get, but

this cult mentality is an infection that is all over the nation, and one that will take longer to stamp out than this awful virus.