There aren't a whole lot of things to do these days outside your house, if you're afraid of contracting COVID-19. With the temperatures in the mid-30's this past weekend, hanging out in the park was a tough call. We all need some fresh air and exercise to keep healthy, so I ventured into the woods both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the quiet of nature in New Jersey in winter.

We were not the only people that had the same idea. At a local hiking trail where I NEVER see cars, there were more than what you'd expect on a cold day in January. People need to get out. People also need to interact with people and this is where is got weird. People were in the woods solo or with their family and the majority were wearing masks. That's f'd up, just ask the CDC. If you want to bring one with you in case you decide to be within six feet of a stranger for more than 15 minutes, which is highly unlikely, stick one in your pocket, I guess.

It is causing a bizarre and freaky vibe between people in society that can only be described as unsettling. Just about everyone you pass doesn't make eye contact and gives wide berth as if you were an escaped murderer on the loose. One father/son couple we passed stepped to the side of a fairly wide trail, eyes looking downward waiting for us to pass. We gave a friendly hello and they looked up at us as if we were blood thirsty zombies.

My hiking partner started a forced coughing bout when they passed by to show them how nuts they were being. She doesn't have symptoms and was further than six feet from their frightened masked faces. Wearing a mask as an extra measure of caution can make sense in certain circumstances, but on a hike IN THE WOODS?!

COVID-19 is real and a few people close to me who've gotten it and they say, "you don't want to get this"! But the real frightening pandemic is the irrational, widespread panic and fear that has a stranglehold on more people in New Jersey than I originally thought possible. I wish everyone health and happiness in the new year, so stay safe, but also STAY SANE, please!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.

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