Nick Romeo

When Nick Romeo is not at his nine-to-five occupation which is strongly situated in the STEM fields, he utilizes technology to create his art – whether it is generated in a digital form on the computer or when he is assembling recycled “spent” technology into a sculpture. His main forms of expression are 3D digital renderings, electronic music, writing, fractal generations, sculpture, and photography.

Withdrawn

“I am glad to see that you have your mask on sir, since several people have tried to walk in here without one this week. Please step in the line behind the red ‘X.’”

“Sure.” I roll my eyes, but the security guard didn’t notice due to my tinted goggles. “I am also wearing these,” pointing to my goggles, “Since I heard the virus can creep inside the eye openings.”

The guard nods as I step in line behind an older woman. She doesn’t appear to be too much older – maybe slightly . . . well, never mind. “Nice weather we’re having today.” I decided to make some of the usual cliché small talk.

She turns around, “Yea. No rain at least.”

“I’m glad places are starting to open. I was happy to finally get a haircut.”

She chuckles, “I was able to get my hair done often at Walmart. And my daughter also got her nails painted at the one area inside Walmart, while I got my hair done. We also had new tires put on our car at the same time, then I bought my daughter’s son a new electric powered Monster Truck. You know, it’s that type of truck he can sit in and drive – like a real car, but it’s for kids. And I make sure that he wears a mask while driving his truck. We are very safe.”

“Nice. Well unfortunately, I lost my job several months ago.”

She continues, “Summer is coming so I look forward to going out. This lockdown is so boring. I am stuck babysitting twenty-four-seven but that’s not too bad, I guess. At least I have plenty of snacks, and toilet paper by the way. How are you holding up? Oh, my kids introduced me to Netflix. I love Tiger King and that blind dating show. At first, I thought it was about dating blind people, but it isn’t.”

“I have been busy with school, while trying to find a job that I can work from home. I went back to school because our jobs at my present place of employment have been volatile over the past few years. And with this thing we’re in, I wonder what’s next? Remember September 11th? After which, we had to face many more terrorist attacks, or at least we were led to believe that idea. But will this virus be the new normal, where we have months of lockdowns, everyone shelters in place, we wear masks if/when we go out, with an app on our smart phones telling us when it’s safe to go outside? Do you realize some countries already have these systems in place including the cell phone app? We lost more than a few freedoms after September 11th, what will we lose now?”

“Well, think of the people. We do have to protect everyone.” Her eyes narrowed.

“I agree. Trust me, I do understand. Practically everyone, including me, and my immediate family have preexisting conditions. But many developing countries depend on the first world for supplies, money, and food. If we’re shut down, what do you think is going to happen? So, while some are just so happy to be sitting on their couch and their fridge stuffed, they should realize not everyone can be this fortunate to have the luxury to lockdown. And just think of our economy, how long do you think we can last with a lockdown before a complete economic crash? How does one balance health safety with economic safety?”

The woman turns around abruptly and stops making eye contact and discontinues any further light conversation. Maybe I should have been calm. I don’t know . . .  

May I help the next person in line.

The woman in front of me shuffles off in the clerk’s direction. I hope my mom-in-law is safe. She had several patients last night to take care of. Her son-in-law is feeling better at least. His poor wife had to clean up the vomit and tend to him since he could barely walk for about two weeks. What is this virus? It is not of this world.

I can help the next customer

That older woman runs past me, still not making any eye contact, as she exits the place. I let the person behind me go since I am aiming to get the spot at the end – near the wall. The catch rate is exponential – about a factor of three, or more. One person gives this to three people, so I do understand the world’s response: FEAR. Exponential rise of 2.72 or “e”. Exponential growth “e” exists in nature, that’s why Natural Logs have “e” as the base. The most beautiful equation in all of mathematics is Euler’s Principle: “e” raised to the power of “pi” multiplied by “i” then add one to that number, and you will find that it equals zero. Zeros and ones, very binary. Zero factorial [0!] equals one, since there’s only one way to arrange a group of nothing. This reminds me of when zero is an exponent, a number raised to zero is always just one. Yes one, just like this virus when you go to the hospital – there is only one – no one is allowed near you.

I can help the next customer

I wait a second while looking at the clerk. She waves me over.

“So how may I help you?” Her eyes sparkle above the mask.

I hand her my note that I spent the morning typing. I tried to devise the perfect wording to quicken my time here.

She looks up at me – no one else – just me. A tear rolls down her cheek.

“I feel bad,” I tell her, “I am sorry – I truly am.”

“I feel bad too, but we’re all hurting anymore. My family built this business, but they’re all gone now. Our insurance is very little, and we don’t earn too much here at all.” She lowers her hand below the desk. “We’re all hurting.”

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