Covid regrets only
P.S. And please don’t mention Covid at the party. We all want to have a good time. Thanks.
It all started during Thanksgiving week when I innocently sent a text to my unvaccinated family asking for them to take a Covid test before coming over on Thanksgiving Day. After an exhausting amount of time and text messages to and fro — they chose not to come. It was disappointing and ultimately fruitless because there was no convincing the other side of our concerns. Just a final text from my sister, after we refused to back down, sending her regrets.
The rest of the holiday season put me in more uncomfortable situations — uncertain how to handle the social stickiness of Covid. At first, I’d try to coax out the vaccination and booster status of the guest list from the host by casually mentioning it when I called to ask if I could bring anything to the party. But that led to award conversations about people’s private medical information and political affiliations. I’ve tried declining social events at crowded in-door restaurants with honesty and data. I’ve tried using my concern for others due to myself being a possible source of infection as an excuse to skip a work event. I’ve used science and case positivity rates per county to determine the risk-benefit ratio of whether to attend my nephew’s 9th birthday party. I’ve over-explained and over apologized but nobody seems to care about Covid where I live. I’ve since found that it’s easier to not respond to the invitation instead of trying to come up with an actual reason — other than having Covid for not attending an event. A case of head lice would evoke more exposure concerns than Covid.
Honestly, I’ve felt pressured and bullied to put myself and my family in situations that make me uncomfortable.
It was so much easier last year when we were all doing the same thing — wearing our masks and planning Zoom happy hours.
Back then, the groups were simple. There were Covid believers and Covid deniers. I knew which group I was in and almost everyone I knew was in the same group. Today there are new groups and I’m not sure where I fit. The Covid believer group from 2020 has split into the “I got my vaccine and I’m over Covid” group and the “I’ve got my vaccine, there is waning immunity and new variants so I’m going to keep wearing my mask” group. The Covid deniers group has the original “Covid is a hoax” group members plus the new “I didn’t really want to get my vaccine, but I did so shut up” members.
Navigating relationships during the pandemic has been difficult for me. I’ll be the first to admit I may have offended some people over the past two years. When a friend would text with their Covid positivity news — I may have asked more questions trying to determine my own possibility of exposure than actually expressing my concern. I may have asked the travel history and vaccination status of their entire extended families before asking if they needed anything. I may have not been the best version of myself. But there wasn’t a manual to follow on how to juggle work, home school, lockdowns, CDC guidelines, mask mandates, and social distancing during a pandemic. If anyone has one, I’ll take a copy
I’ve had more arguments with family over masks, testing, vaccines, and reality than I care to recount. Now I find myself even arguing with the people that were originally in my Covid believer’s group. Lately, I spend most of my time arguing with my 14-year-old daughter since she appears to have joined the “I got my vaccine and I’m over it” group.
Hopefully my friends and family will let me back in the group chat when this is all over but for now, let me just say this. Thank you for the invitation but I think it's better if I stay home. I may have lice.