The writing of Lewis Carroll sometimes seems an anticipation of the times in which we live. In Alice through the Looking Glass the possibility of believing the impossible is discussed.
“I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Are we expected to believe the impossible? It seems so.
Did you know that you can catch the Covid-19 virus if you are standing up, but if you are sitting down you are safe from infection?
“Impossible?” you think? Well, the belief that chairs provide an immunity to the virus is the only conclusion that can be drawn from a visit to the Gloucester Quays shopping centre.
On entering the indoor centre, there are signs advising visitors that they are expected to to wear face coverings. However, outside a cafe in one of the arcades, passed by countless shoppers, there were tables filled with people eating their lunch, drinking coffee, or just chatting.
The cafe clientele occupied the same indoor air space as every other visitor. They sat eating and drinking and talking, and, of course, breathing, but being cafe customers were not required to wear a face covering.
Isn’t this is a piece of scientific nonsense? Shouldn’t it be that either everyone should be required to wear a face covering on the basis of consistent scientific evidence, or, if it is safe to sit outside a cafe in an indoor arcade without wearing any face covering, then isn’t it also safe for everyone else to put away their masks?
The government advice has been that you are in danger if you are in close proximity to an infected person for fifteen minutes. If this advice is to be logically implemented then those who are simply passing each other at a distance of two metres or more are in no danger. The logic of the government advice is that what should be prevented is people sitting in the same piece of enclosed space for a prolonged period of time, space like the exterior of a cafe in a shopping arcade where there is no movement of fresh air.
Of course, all that is needed is to believe the impossible and to assume that chairs provide immunity.