When the pandemic really started affecting the lives of those of us in the U.S. in March 2020 I did not think I would still be working remotely in almost-July. I thought it was going to be a few weeks and we’d be “back to normal” so long as everyone just hunkered down and socially distanced for the month. Working from my newly set up home office was fun but I missed the social banter with my colleagues in our bullpen-style open office. But here we are, four months later and just as states start relaxing restrictions and things had starting to look like they were getting better, cases have spiked (and it’s not just because there’s been more testing). Based on what I’ve seen when I’ve left the house for a walk, or a drive, many folks have stopped seeing the pandemic as a serious issue. The inconvenience of wearing a mask, or not getting to go out to a restaurant with friends, is too much infringement on their personal freedom instead of caring about the well-being of someone other than themselves. Countries around the world have been able to drastically reduce their cases, why is the U.S. so different?
Everyone has found ways to not go stir crazy, whether it’s expanding their culinary repoitoire (I’ve learned to make bagels, hamburger buns, dumplings, tortillas…), learning a new skill or binge-watching movies and tv shows (we just finished re-watching all eleven Star Wars movies, in release order). We’ve started having socially-distanced hangouts with friends on our deck, everyone is at least six feet apart and we bring our own food and drinks. That little bit of “in person” interaction is never something I though I would miss so much, I figured a video call worked just as well to catch up with someone but it really is not the same. That human connection can’t be completely replicated on a screen, but for now, for many, that’s the best we can do.
I desperately want to visit my parents, I haven’t seen them in person in six months. But I also don’t want to risk getting them sick if I’m unknowingly carrying the virus. So I will stay home, I will socially distance, I will forgo that hug that I so desperately want right now, so that I can have it for years to come.