Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Covid Dance

The Covid dance. The God damn Covid dance. 

We're all doing it, well not all, but certainly many of us.

Early on: Don’t touch anything. Wash your hands like a mad man. 

I never was a big one for the alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Of course it was much later that we found out Covid almost exclusively spreads through the air, not via touch. 

I was big on a tight Covid bubble. Starting around mid-March of 2020 on my own with my pup in Salt Lake. Then with my sister and our bubble in Dutchess County, New York, that included three or four others. This felt like dangerously too many people, especially when others beyond that group came. The bubble was never as tight as I wanted.

Then masks became normalized--even in Utah after I returned from my April in New York. Last summer the numbers were rising, then drifting down slightly in the fall. My mid-summer trip to my brother’s in Wisconsin was tough. He seemed pretty free and loose with his Covid protocols compared to me. But then again most people are. 

The 2020-2021 winter Covid tsunami had me very isolated--though not completely. I was set up in a remote Arizona RV camp I’d retreated to for three months. It felt OK, until it didn’t. By late December the pandemic was really bad, hospitals were packed, my outside encounters with others became more distant and far less frequent. A couple of cases arrived in our desert camp. Vaccines were just starting to become available, but none of us were yet eligible. 

This spring arrived and I was fully vaccinated by late March. Within a month I was able to finally let my guard down. I went to some restaurants, a house party, I even had a couple of dinner parties. Against my gut instinct I let someone come to a party at my house who wasn’t vaccinated. The rest of us were, that was his problem. 

And now Delta. The vaccines are mostly doing their job, though one friend’s elderly father (87), who was vaccinated, is dying in Florida as I type this. Or I should say he’s ailing--time will tell if Covid and old age will get him but apparently it’s not looking good. (He died about a week later.)

And the likelihood of new strains.

I am wrapping up a week with a group of people I love in Driggs, Idaho, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A pretty big group--around 200 of us, maybe pushing 300, I’m not sure. It’s a gathering of people and their RVs. I am only seeing people outside (with one exception the first day). If it’s crowded, even outside, I am wearing an N95 mask. It’s not just about protecting myself, though that’s part of it, it’s about slowing the spread. 

I’ve stayed this whole week, though it’s been excruciatingly hard at times. Here I am with people I want to hang out with and I can’t hang out with them because of my Covid boundaries. I’m glad I came and stuck it out, but it’s been tough. 

Doing the Covid dance. And for how much longer? The promise of the spring of ‘21 and early summer feels like a distant memory. 

Hunkering down has its drawbacks to mental health, yet it’s what I have to do for now. 

And the politicization of Covid makes the Covid dance far more miserable. Mask vs. the “freedom” to not wear a mask (and infect others). Vaccinate vs. a “personal choice” not to vaccinate (and exacerbate the spread). Humans love to be idiots. It’s tiresome even with, especially with, people you love. 

The Covid dance . . . damn you. 

Art by Mary Akinlabi via Amplifier.

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