After two years, I think I have finally figured out what life for me after the Covid19 pandemic will be like, but more importantly what it is really about. Like all of the other outbreaks that I have had to deal with over my cancer survivorship, it has been the unknown of Covid19 that made it more difficult to deal with and live during the times of Covid19.
Fully vaccinated, and having followed the mitigation recommendations for the last two years, I know for a fact, I have avoided a direct Covid19 exposure. And at no time, did I have to sacrifice freedom or liberty, nor did I ever live in fear, that ridiculous false trope. But it is after all of this time, I have come to realize that it is not even about the divide between those that deal with reality, and those that do not.
The biggest thing we, as human beings, with supposedly such developed minds, were told, we HAD to wash our hands and we HAD to cover our mouths and noses when we sneeze or cough. We HAD to stay home if we were sick so as not to make anyone else sick. Forget the topic of Covid19 for a second. We had to be told to do these common sense things that we were likely told as children. And why were we being told to do these things, not just because of the unknowns of the current crisis, but because too many of us have forgotten common sense. And because of that, then came the mandates, being forced to do the things mentioned above. But I do not want to get lost in the weeds with a different topic.
We spread germs, that is what we do. Like the photo above, I know my father and my grandfather always carried handkerchiefs, or as I called them, “snot rags,” for obvious reasons. They were gross pieces of cloth, kept in their pockets, when needed for use, and after being used, to be used again, and again. That’s right. They would blow their knows into the hanky, and then stuff it back into their pocket. What does the average person do with a tissue after blowing their nose? Right. They throw it into the trash. But not the snot rag. It just got shoved right back into the denim incubator of his pants.
Not just men are guilty of this, but so are women. In the purses of women, especially older women, are “old” tissues that after getting used, get shoved back inside the purse, perhaps to be used again and again.
As a child, there was a pretty good chance, you would be victimized due to your runny nose, of either reaching into their pocket or purse, and pulling out a “snot rag,” using it on you, and shoving it back into place for the next time.
As an adult, I had one particular experience when flying. I keep pretty much to myself as it is, no desire for small talk with strangers. But one flight, was an elderly woman sitting next to me, who clearly liked to talk. No sooner had she sat down, she turned to me and said, “soooooo… where are you headed? Is it for business or for…” She never finished her question because right at that moment, she let out a good hacking of her lungs, coughing directly at me, her mouth uncovered. Several days later, you guessed it, I came down with whatever that lady had, and eventually others in my family would get it from me. Fortunately over the last several years, I have minimized these experiences.
Here we are, two years dealing with Covid19. We now know how to diagnose it. We have vaccines to prevent and protect us if exposed so that the infection is not severe enough to put us into the hospital or worse, die from Covid19. We have legitimate treatment options for those diagnosed early enough. And then, we still have the mitigation recommendations, the common sense, wash your hands, and cover your mouths and noses.
There are really only a few things that I have not done since the pandemic and subsequent recommendations were made. Go to movies and concerts, and fly to see my mother. Over the pandemic, my daughters have been to visit with me, with the strictest of precautions, and they have remained safe as always, now fully vaccinated themselves.
An experience to my local grocery store however, quickly made me aware, that it may be quite a while, if ever, before I go back to attending concerts, movies, or anything densely populated. I witnessed two events, the second nearly making me vomit. The first was a boy walking with his parents, asking when he would be allowed back to school. The mother had explained to him that he had “three more days” and reminded him of a classmate who had a similar experience. In other words, this child was supposed to be quarantined for ten days, yet was out with his family, and unmasked, potentially spreading Covid19 to anyone within close proximity inside the store. Now for the worse story. If you are eating or drinking, stop.
In front of the pharmacy counter, a woman was standing. She arched her back and quickly reared forward, expelling a loud sneeze. No mask. Her hands were by her side. Clearly, whatever came out of her nose, was now blasted all over the shelves, counter top, and floor in front of her.
Do you see my point? Common sense. We know how to get through Covid19. But while we keep trying to convince each side who is right and who is wrong, taking political or conspiratorial sides, we have actually crossed 800,000 American lives lost, that clearly did not have to die, especially once the vaccines became available.
The Eagles are one of my favorite classic bands to see. And when I saw the advertisements come up for this particular tour, playing the entire Hotel California album, I really thought this would be the moment, I would finally get over my hurdle of avoiding concerts.
Up until this point, I have been content watching video streams of concerts and movies, and really, there was no reason to change this behavior. My food was better, cost less, no traffic, and I was in bed at the most, half hour later. It is not about being squashed shoulder to shoulder in seats to enjoy a concert or movie experience. I would use external speakers to give more volume, and I had the best seat in the house every time.
And then I remembered, the snot rag, the tissue in the purse, the contaminated kid not following quarantine rules, and of course, clean-up in aisle 5 in front of the pharmacy.
I have never been a fan of big crowds even without a pandemic, but am less thrilled with them now. But it is not because of Covid19, or whatever else comes down the road. Rather, the common sense that so many seem to lack. But hey, I don’t want to impose on anyone’s freedom to blow their germs wherever they want. So I take it upon myself. And I do still get to enjoy all the things that I want. Better yet, I stay healthy.
And for those that love that false trope, that is not living in fear, that is living smart.