We’re four months into a mostly self imposed quarantine caused by a global pandemic the likes of which I’ve never seen. I mean I’ve imagined it. I’ve imagined worse. Lifelong anxiety disorder and a love of zombie movies will do that to you.
I’ve long been convinced that when the time comes that we have the pandemic, the outbreak, the leak, the crisis, the explosion, the catastrophic event, the whatever it is that causes us to all go into seclusion, it won’t be the “thing” that’s the actual problem. It will be the people. That human nature will kick in and some of us will be the best of us. And some of us will be the worst of us.
And what I’m seeing now seems to be just that. My little family is following quarantine procedures pretty strictly. We’re not going to a store unless it’s a necessity. We have our groceries delivered instead of going out and we try to do so only every couple of weeks as to not put undue strain on the people doing the work that allows us to stay home and stay safe.
We’re working to support local business wherever we can to help keep small businesses going. We continue to work from home. If we do go outside, anywhere but our yard, we wear masks. If we do have to go into a store we wear a mask and gloves and then come home, throw our clothes into the wash and take a shower. When we have groceries delivered or packages arrive we clean stuff up or leave it sitting in its own little quarantine until we can clean it up or it’s been sitting untouched for a week.
Is this a little on the overly-cautious side? Yeah it probably is. But we’re dedicated to not having a negative impact on others. We want to ensure that we don’t get sick. We want to ensure that we don’t get anyone else sick. And we encourage our friends, family, and those we work with to do the same.
And for a little while — what in reality was a fleeting moment — it seemed like a lot of people were doing a decent job of all of that. But then people started cheating. First in minute little ways. And then in big ways. People saw folx that never did follow the rules. And, I mean, nothing seemed to happen to them… so, really, why bother…? Amirite?
People missed their favorite restaurants and bars. Gift shops. Seeing people. Sitting in a coffee shop. Going to the gym. Being human in the way they were used to being human. And really, that’s what’s important isn’t it? The needs of the individual over the needs of society? Hm?
Also being on lockdown and doing the right thing got boring. Our attention spans are for shit. And plus, I’ve done my part, right? I mean, c’mon.
So now, four months into a global pandemic, my family is still quarantining. We’ve expanded our bubble a little bit but we’re still being on the overly-cautious side. We’re still doing our best to protect our loved ones, our friends, family, and the people we work with. The people in our communities.
Masks. We wear fucking masks. It’s not that hard, is it?
But I see fewer and fewer people doing the same. And I started feeling. Really feeling. Feeling on a big scale. And at first I thought that feeling was sadness. But it turns out it’s anger.
I’m pissed off. I’m mad.
And sometimes being mad makes me sad and that makes me mad and that’s a whole cycle of emotions that is just the way I process so we don’t need to get into it right now. But that’s what it is.
But this is all happening because… well…
- Because we’re a racist society putting BIPOC people at greater risk of infection and then blaming and punishing them for it.
- Because we’re not taking care of our essential workers. Not paying them enough, not ensuring they have proper medical coverage, not ensuring the health and safety of their families.
- Because we behave as though this will all be okay if those at highest risk just stay home and out of the way as though they have less of a right to live freely than others.
- Because we want to do what we want to do without thinking about how it impacts the people around us who aren’t our immediate friends and family.
- Because people say “it’s not so bad, clearly we didn’t need to take all these precautions” without recognizing that it’s not so bad because we took all of these precautions.
- Because as people start to act like it’s business as usual the infection rates start to pick up again filling up hospital beds.
- Because it’s easier to say the media is blowing this all out of proportion and do the fun and easy things than it is to do the hard work of denying ourselves what we want and keeping EVERYONE safe.
Historically, I’ve been really bad at denying myself the things I want. And overall pretty good at convincing myself that the things I want, that would make my life easier are actually things that I need.
I suck at denying myself and my family creature comforts. I don’t need to have a new houseplant delivered. But I sure want to. I really want to. And I totally have a few times over the last several months. I’ve also had chocolate and alcohol delivered. And gifts for loved ones. And my cat’s favorite wet food and treats. And yes my daddy and mom have made special trips to bring us hard to get delivered items and to just see our masked faces from afar.
And I have to assume, that in many regards, I’m not alone. And that for more than a few of you, this resonates.
So yeah. I’m not perfect. Or holier than thou. But I’m trying to channel my imperfection through the safest routes possible. I’m trying to keep my family healthy and at least as happy as we can be in quarantine.
A lot of that, so much of it really, is because I don’t want to die. With my hypertension, and my my compromised lungs with a propensity towards pneumonia and bronchitis death at the hands of the Coronavirus if infected is a real threat. Not an irrational anxiety.
But I’ve also spent most of my adult life looking after others. My kid, my family, my friends. Communities I’ve found through life and those I’ve found through work. So while I want to stay alive… that’s not what’s driving this sadness. This anger. This mass of feelings.
I’m worried sick that we’re not taking this seriously. And I don’t want to be right that we’re going to be the problem. I don’t want to see the worst of us.
But perhaps, most of all, I don’t want to hear of one more person being sick. I don’t want to see you sick. I don’t want to see anyone sick. So please — pretty please with sugar on top — at the very least, wear a fucking mask.
/me curtseys awkwardly; stumbles off soapbox