Junction 54: Life in the Time of Curfew

Life under the curfew in Durham, for me, hasn’t been all that different from life without the curfew.

Recently, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper mandated that no one’s supposed to leave home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless it’s for medical emergencies or for essential workers traveling to their jobs.

Obviously, this upset folks who run bars and their customers, who count on that window of time to lower inhibitions and make poor choices – which, really, is what we all need at the tail end of a deadly pandemic when we’re all frustrated and tired of bubbling, right?

But I am several years removed from my days of hanging out in bars. The only time I tended to venture out after 10 in the pre-pandemic era was to grab snacks from the 24-hour Teeter or to drive the baby around in her car seat, listening to ‘80s music, so she’d fall asleep. Occasionally, I’d take in a midnight movie premiere at Southpoint. Not often, though.

So, when someone tells me that I can’t leave the house after 10 p.m. without a good reason, I’m not too shaken by it. I don’t have much sympathy for people who complain that it infringes on their fun. Respirators in an overcrowded ICU also infringe on fun. Last rites via iPad – not fun. Zoom funeral? No, thanks.

I agree with folks who think it’s ridiculous that we should have to temporarily shut down bars at night to protect people from their own bad choices. But more than a million people traveled on airplanes around the United States over the weekend because, given the illusion that it’s safe to do so, many of our citizens are now setting us up for a New Year’s COVID spike. I saw a woman on Twitter wringing her hands over not wanting to cancel her family’s Walt Disney World trip while they wait for test results to come back for one of her children. (HINT: Just cancel the damned trip.) I drove by the liquor store in Woodcroft and the parking lot was packed with people stocking up for their holiday parties.

I don’t think the curfew goes far enough. I expect, if we get another bad surge in cases, we’ll see another lockdown. Of course, until we have a sensible federal response in place – with a new administration that isn’t contradicting the Centers for Disease Control much of the time – we’re going to be faced with a patchwork quilt of local responses with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Vaccines are coming. But so, potentially, are mutant strains of the coronavirus that’s plagued us in 2020. As a society, we need to take the disease seriously, and protect ourselves, our families, and our friends. We’ve already lost far too many souls. Don’t let the urge to cut loose and have a good time overrule common sense.

I know it’s annoying to hear a lecture. No one wants to hear they shouldn’t have fun. No one wants to live under lockdown rules. So, we should be responsible enough to remain in our bubbles as much as possible until this disease is under control.

And if we can’t do that?

Sometimes, we have to be told no. Sometimes, it’s for our own good. If we’re going to behave childishly, perhaps we deserve to be treated like children.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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