Last month my wife, Kay Yak Gnu, and I stole a bit of normalcy, during an abnormal time. We got in our car and headed out of state. Out and away from Commie California, to the casinos of Nevada and a ghost town in Arizona, called Oatman.
It felt exciting to get away for a few days. It was our first multi-day venture out of our house since pre-Covid times. On Day Two we rolled into Oatman at about nine o’clock in the morning. We were ahead of most of the tourists, so this ghost town really did seem ghostly.
We very quickly found ourselves surrounded by jackasses, none of whom were wearing masks. Oatman is an old mining town, and these jackasses are the descendants of the burros that worked in the mines, transporting ore, hauling water, and doing all the other heavy donkeywork. Nowadays, tourists come from all over the world to visit Oatman, and pat its beautiful asses.
The jackasses outnumbered the humans at that time of day, and ruled the town. But hell, they rule any time of the day, even when there are crowds. These critters spend much of their time as mendicants, begging food from tourists, and foraging out of the purses of sweet little old ladies such as Kay.
They traipse up and down the main street of Oatman all day long, following two-legged strangers. When they tire, they gather under awnings of store fronts, hiding from the sun and sleeping on three or four limbs. Tourists have to weave around them, like some kind of jackass obstacle course.
Inside the various souvenir shops of Oatman, the store owners and operators ignored mask rules and went about their business barefaced and oblivious to the dangers of the China virus.
Kay and I were wearing our face coverings, for awhile. But we got to remembering that the purpose of the mask is to protect others, and not the wearer. If the store owners didn’t give a damn about us, why should we care about them?
So we lowered our masks to our chins. Ahhhh! It felt refreshing. It felt normal. It felt thrillingly illegal. And it felt like we fit right in with the outlaw denizens of Oatman. And the jackasses.
“It’s so nice to not wear a mask, and to be able to walk into a store like this,” Kay remarked to one barefaced store owner as she worked her cash register.
“You must be from California,” she dryly replied.
Well, ahem, yes. Dammit, if we’d only had our masks on, we could hide our embarrassment. California has the most severe coronavirus restrictions in the nation. It’s killing the economy, depressing both incomes and moods. Arizonans scoff at us.
Elsewhere in Mohave County, Arizona, businesses enforce the mask rules, and restaurants are limited to 50% occupancy. So they have their restrictions, too; just not so much as California.
But Oatman has said to hell with it all. They’ve chucked their face coverings and opened the doors of their businesses to as many as can squeeze between their walls. Apparently the rules aren’t enforced in ghost towns, as ominous as that may sound.
More and more tourists were trickling in as we headed for our car. Some were wearing face covers, while others were catching on quickly and lowering their masks.
And all were mingling delightfully with the jackasses.