There’s lots of things I can’t fathom and these are just three:

#1. How can people walk/run by the sea or deep in the country with earphones in? For me the sounds of nature are magnificent and I could never imagine anything being more soothing, motivating or entertaining.

#2. Why do people flock to beauty spots when they are packed? That’s the very time I avoid them. I would much prefer to see a place of beauty, like the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare when it is damp and drizzly and not full of swarms of people than to be surrounded by a ‘maddening crowd.’

#3. How can people be so fixated on Christmas gatherings that they are prepared to risk spreading Covid like wild fire? Is this to do with nostalgia or short-sightedness or …..

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

14 thoughts on “Bafflement”

  1. I too are in agreement with your views the last one especially because generally one thinks it will never happen to me so cautions to the winds is thrown. “Act in haste..Repent at leisure”…I personally don’t like to go to the popular hot spots where there are crowds galore. I like the tranquility of a quiet place and to take in its natural sounds and enjoy them…

  2. I agree with you on the first two. However, on the last one I have to respectfully disagree, and I am surprised that you would not understand this kind of social behavior. All through the covid crisis, governments everywhere, and their infectious-disease “experts” (who have been allowed to essentially determine social policy when that is not their area of expertise), have been contributing to the destruction of Society. Human beings require social contact, and, yes, many take risks to maintain that essential social contact. Life cannot be made “risk-free”, and lockdowns like you in Ireland are going through today, are more destructive of Society than the disease itself. Just look at the rise in mental illness, suicide, drug-abuse, child-abuse, and other societal ills! People need their extended families, and you can only keep them isolated for so long before everything starts to break down. People Need People (gee, do you remember that old song?). Most of us have been bombarded with covid statistics for months now, and we are all aware of the risks of various activities. We should be allowed to make our own decisions as to the risks to us and our families. We should be protecting the most vulnerable, and letting everyone else get back to living.

    1. As a sociologist, I am more than aware of issues around people being social animals but I am also aware of the complexities around Covid and the fact that we can’t assume that risks we take as individuals or families will not impact on other people.
      Having witnessed people gasping for breath as their lungs fail, I wouldn’t wish such an affliction on anyone and feel that with a vaccine so close that keeping ourselves to ourselves for one Christmas wouldn’t be a huge ask. I guess it boils down to a difference of opinion re whether or not older people are important to us, especially those in care homes. I think this whole thing would be very differently viewed if babies and toddlers were at major risk of dying from it.
      Key issue is how do we protect the most vulnerable if the virus is widespread in the community? Who is to do the protecting?
      No easy answers, it seems, unfortunately.

      1. Well, I am one of those “old people”, being 71 years of age. I also worked full-time until this past August, at a job I loved in the aerospace industry. I am fully aware of the potential consequences of getting this virus, and I am also aware that, even for the very oldest, the chance of survival if you get the virus is still over 95%, and I like those odds for myself. Even if society is “locked down” for however long, that does not make the virus go away-it remains out there, ready to infect people again, once the lockdown is lifted. As to your question of who is to protect the vulnerable? Why not they and their families? The medical experts have all sorts of advice on how to protect the vulnerable-let the nursing-home officials, with the families of patients, determine the best way to protect their residents. Let the elderly at home decide how best to protect themselves. If Grandma is at home, alone, allowed no visitors, might she prefer to see her family and take the risks of getting the virus? It should be her decision, along with her family, not the Government’s decision.
        Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Personally, I prefer Liberty to “safety”, especially safety measures mandated by Government.
        One more thing: Even with all the lockdowns, safety measures, mask-wearing, cleaning, and distancing, people continue to get sick and some die. What this says to me is that all the drastic measures that contribute to the destruction of Society do not work. They do not stop the spread of the virus, though they may slow it down for a time.

        1. Oh I totally agree that lockdowns are not going to make the virus vanish for good but I certainly don’t see the virus posing a threat for too much longer, given the rapid developments in relation to vaccines and treatments.

          Yes, I’m all for people making decisions for themselves but my faith in people thinking about other people’s wellbeing is clearly not as strong as yours.

          Have you had any close relatives die from the virus or barely survive it after a long spell in ICU? I have and that is certainly a factor in my attitude towards the whole thing. They didn’t knowingly take risks but were just unfortunate enough to get it.
          I hope you have a good week and stay well.

  3. Totally agree with all three Jean. I don’t understand how fellow runners wish to block out the sounds of the world around, and the atmosphere on race day. And #2, I always tell people to see the Dingle Peninsula out of season rather than join the nose-to-tail crawl around there. No.3 is difficult. Personally I don’t care but I accept that some families will find it hard. I certainly don’t go around telling people what they ought and ought not to do though. There are too many bar-room experts who do that already.

  4. Oh well, Waterford are into the All-Ireland semi. Thankfully, no major gatherings associated with that that we know of and it seems that the low keyness of the Championship is suiting us.
    No bar rooms open here for expertise to flow. Not yet, anyway.

  5. I prefer the sounds of nature, myself. I can understand some need to feel they are tuned in – some are listening to audio books as it’s the only time they have to “read”…
    Visiting beauty spots when it’s busy is beyond my comprehension. Sometimes (like when on a cruise) we are obligated to go at the same time but honestly? I’ll take a different route and show up when they re gone!
    Christmas is a tough one simply because some people can only get together a few times per year and this one is one where often times, they get more time off. Still, this year it should be understood that it can’t happen. Sadly.

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