That was nice, right?
In the fifteen weeks since second vaccination, still wearing masks inside, but like, kinda, sorta, almost living my best life, crossing state lines, hugging people, eating out, going to the bar all willy nilly without a care in the world. Well, pretending to not have a care in the world because throughout I was still reading the news as soon as I woke up every morning, and still looking at vaccine counts and case counts and holy moly, Delta Variant would have made such a good album title/drag name/punk rock moniker/ sci-fi novel/ Obscure Mississippi travel blog/“Designing Women” fanzine if this bullshit hadn’t happened, right?
So I knew. I mean, I knew. But you’ve really got to squeeze those lemons bone dry to enjoy a decent lemonade before our collective summer break ends because a surging virus and a large unvaccinated population will force you back into unofficial Safe at Home because they’ll continue on maskless, unvaccinated until they get infected and maybe in process summon up some new increasingly vaccine-resistant variant [Epsilon? Zeta? Throw in a couple of polo shirts and Rubbermaid tub of fruit punch and grain alcohol and we’re perilously close to the worst fraternity party in history) and SHOULD I START HOARDING GIN AND JIGSAW PUZZLES AND WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD AGAIN?
Maybe. I don’t know. You probably don’t either. Because odds are if you’re reading this, you’re as flummoxed as I am. It seems like all anyone can talk about is how everybody knows someone with Covid now, including all your infected and vaccinated friends who have never broken the rules or questioned the science or dined inside (Bless me, Fauci, for I have sinned, it’s been five months since my last PCR test), and yet the vaccine is working, or working enough, or working the way it should and we’re overreacting or the media is overreacting or. .
Like, I’m going to return to the willfully unvaccinated–the freedom fanboys, the injection averse, the opportunistic death cultists for a sec. Is the plan that we all follow the rules and hide out and just wait for them to what? Figure it out? I mean, I guess self-preservation is the name of the game at this point—I don’t want Covid and I really, really don’t want Long Covid– but I’m also not sure that waiting until every single one of them gets sick enough for a cinematic change of heart and we can wag our collective fingers and say “I told you so” is the best strategy out of this pandemic?
Is that the strategy?
Is there a strategy?
I trust the science and acknowledge that science is a process, and that sometimes, even, especially when it’s extremely inconvenient, that process is long, complex and demands both patience and humility. That’s a beautiful idea, and I believe it. But, for real, how do you translate that for a vaccinated and understandably anxious vaccinated friend who just wants to know whether it’s still safe to go inside her vaccinated aging mother’s house? Should she wear a mask? Should her mother? Should they both be tested?
“Should I go ahead and risk it now in case things get so much worse that I won’t be able to for another year?”
I didn’t have an answer, but I moved my hair appointment up a few weeks just in case.
In other news, I did not go to Lollapalooza, which feels like the most ludicrous thing to do at the most ludicrous time ever, and I’m not just saying that because the only think scarier than nearly 400,000 people showing up in Chicago for a concert in the hottest month of the year during a plague is nearly 400,000 people showing up in Chicago for a concert featuring Limp Bizkit in the hottest month of the year during a plague. But I’m not as young as I used to be, and standing outside under the blistering sun for hours watching bands play is not, as they say, my jam.
Twenty-five years ago, at my last Lollapalooza, I stood on the sun-parched grass of Walnut Creek Amphitheater having been chased out of the shade by tear-gas-wielding security guards following an unlikely Green Day-led takeover of the mostly empty covered seats. I listened to Nick Cave sing about darkness in the hottest part of the day—in a hazy, probably dehydrated stretch that would include Tribe Called Quest and the Breeders—and wondered if there were a more unpleasant way to see this many bands I liked.
I have a bunch of tickets to club shows this fall. I can’t decide if it’s stubbornly hopeful or just willfully naïve that I’m still talking about them like I’m going.
For now, though, I ordered an exercise bike and started looking at jigsaw puzzles.
Just in case.
Picture today is me trying to deflate an inflatable flamingo a couple weeks ago when things were still slightly less bleak.
Be safe. Please get vaccinated.