Red, like many people, is concerned that between coronavirus fatigue, the desire to open things up, and the emergency approval of vaccines, people are becoming less diligent and more careless. Too many people are acting as if the worst is behind us although the experts are telling us that the worst is still to come. It reminds her of the children's story, "The Tortoise and the Hare." The idea that slow and steady wins the race.

Black, who in her corporate life used to crunch numbers to prove a point, recognizes that having good data is critical. Yes, everyone's excited about the new vaccines, but that's not an overnight solution. And testing remains critical. Until a large portion of the population has been vaccinated, Increases in the number of cases due to increased testing may continue. As long as the percentage of people who test positive is decreasing, then we're making progress, but that you still need to watch the hospitalization rates. It's also important to note where the increases occur. If they're in places where social distancing is extremely difficult (such as nursing homes, food-processing plants, and correctional facilities) then that skews the numbers, but stresses the ongoing need to test-trace-isolate.

Knowing that Red's eyes tend to glaze over when Black starts talking numbers, ratios, and statistics, she points out to Red that the decision-makers need to have "circuit breakers" in place. That way, if the numbers go in the "wrong" direction, appropriate action, and restrictions, are automatically implemented.

Red doesn't disagree, but points out the obvious …

Black's the pragmatic one and the data geek, not me.I'm a mom and concerned about my family, and all I want to know is how long we'll be on the COVID-19 roller coaster – we're opening up, then shutting down again, never knowing what's around the next curve.
Rendering by porcorex on iStock

Red's Head

Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.

Black's Head Black

Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.

Red's Head

I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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