Sunday, August 9, 2020

artificial intelligence

 I took a book to a spot by the Charles River yesterday.  There's a large parking lot nearby, lots of walkers, bikers, picnickers. It is within a ten minute drive of five major research universities- Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, and Harvard.     All five schools are within the top forty ranked universities in the country.  Harvard and MIT are ranked second and third respectively.

I've brought a coffee mug to my bench.  Just before I exited the car I poured the coffee out and filled the container with beer.  There was no need to be sneaky.  I noticed a couple on a nearby bench that had a cooler out and had stacked an impressive number of empty bottles nearby.  I'd seen picnickers on other occasions with open wine bottles on their blankets.

From my perch I could see the river and the practicing crew teams.  Looked very peaceful by the Charles. But what bothered me and has increasingly unnerved me since last evening was what was going on behind me and a little bit to the east on the winding bike, walking trail.  On a number of spots along the river, beer gardens have sprung up. There are at least two of these that I know of. One is closer to downtown than where I was yesterday. The one near where I was reading sits adjacent to some public gardens and a now defunct open theatre.

I've got nothing against the concept of a beer garden. I've been in this one in previous years, and my buddy Kenny and I spent a good afternoon a year or two ago sitting in the one that is further east. (Quite an operation that. It started to rain that day and it was impressive how they were able to close shop in moments to avoid the thunder and lightning).

I strolled east on the path and saw the beer garden.  In optic deference to COVID the picnic tables where the drinkers could be seated were spread six feet or close to six feet apart. However, what troubled me was that the imbibers were sitting sometimes six or seven to a table while consuming their beverages.  And noone, but noone at any of the tables were wearing masks.  Now, I know they were on occasion raising a glass to their mouths and the masks could get in the way. But this was not a guzzling contest, most people were just conversing. And I did not see anyone with a mask or anyone who seemed to give a whit about the fact that we are in a pandemic.

This is not Sturgis, South Dakota where 250,000 fools are flaunting reality and will be sickening innocent people. The governor of Massachusetts, (unlike his criminal South Dakota counterpart that encourages gatherings--nothing short of conspiring to commit murder) has urged caution.

But here in blue state MA, within a ten minute drive of five major universities are adults--some I am guessing are students and faculty members at these institutions--sitting hip to hip, without face coverings, during a pandemic.


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