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A few Sundays ago, it was a beautiful sunny day in San Clemente, perfect for a short hike on the San Clemente trail off of Avenida Salvador.

I grabbed my iPhone, earphones and mask to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise and appreciate the beautiful town that I am fortunate to live in.

There were a lot of other people enjoying the trail also: families and bikers crowded the trail, people mask-less and masked. Those families who were not masked usually kept a sufficient distance between themselves and others.

Then I came upon a group of five mask-less women in their 30s and 40s, laughing, talking and enjoying themselves. Doubtful that they were roommates or from the same household. My hike was ruined from that point on.

I was reminded of a text from one of our neighbors about how her daughter, a nurse, was exhausted at a local hospital from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. How she warned us to be extra careful because the hospitals were truly overwhelmed. 

I couldn’t get over the resentfulness and anger I felt toward those who somehow rationalize that the sacrifices we all have to make do not apply to them. Those of us who are trying to be responsible and caring about our fellow citizens would love to spend time with our friends on a beautiful sunny day.

Of course, there will be those who say if you want to isolate yourself, that is your prerogative, that not that many people are dying percentage-wise. Of course, these are the same people who complain about lockdowns and how this is trampling their rights.

Ironically, those who feel entitled not to care about the well-being of their neighbors and are not willing to sacrifice a moment in time are feeding the hungry virus. They are responsible for the exhausted, overwhelmed, heroic hospital workers who are on the frontlines.

They are prolonging the day when we can enjoy our fine restaurants and small businesses without worry.

They are responsible for the continuation of the suffering of small businesses and people who get sick and, yes, those who die. Where is their humanity and concern for others?

There is a word for people who only think of only themselves: selfish.

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