This morning I arrived in the spacious lobby of the modern office building in Arlington, Virginia, in which the Mercatus Center and the Institute for Humane Studies have their main offices. I was there to meet a friend with whom I had some business to conduct on one of that building’s upper floors. Unlike me, my friend does not have a scanner card that would allow her to direct an elevator to the proper floor.
I arrived in the lobby about ten minutes early. The only other person in the lobby was a woman sitting behind the reception desk.
When I began to seat myself in a chair far from the reception desk but with a good view out of the window (the better to see when my friend was arriving), the woman sitting – sitting! – behind the reception desk informed me in no uncertain terms “Sir, you’re not allowed to sit down.”
Startled, I asked, “Can I stand?”
In a tone noticeably friendlier than she used to keep me from becoming comfortably seated, she answered “Of course!”
I said nothing in reply other than “Thanks.” I dislike confrontation. Plus, this receptionist was likely simply doing as the building management instructed her. But within my bowels I seethed at the situation’s stupidity.
I can stand in the lobby; apparently, doing so is sufficiently safe. But I cannot sit in the lobby; apparently, doing so will cause me to emit into the air lethal amounts of the coronavirus – or, at least, to emit more than I would emit were I seated.
My friend was about five minutes late. So I stood in the lobby for about 15 minutes. Intentionally, I stood – unmolested and unremarked upon – immediately beside the chair whose comforts I was not permitted to enjoy.
Do people standing emit fewer amounts of the coronavirus than do people sitting? And is the amount of coronavirus emissions from seated people reduced if the purpose of being seated is to man a reception desk?
Someone should collect into a book accounts of such Covid insanity. This book, were it to become a reality, would be many volumes.