|This photo was part of an installation at Tate Modern (2018). It seems to capture my mood more and more often these days.|
Cam turned two this past week. I think of him as older but he is now officially, a "terrible two" and milking it! As Kevin said, Carson had delayed "terrible two" (he's now three and a half) and Cam is right there, so it makes for an interesting and on your toes home life!
Molly's parents are having a birthday party for him in a couple of weeks and we are invited. But I thought about it a lot and there will be quite a few people there and they aren't necessarily as intense about distance and masks as we are. So, I said I would have to decline.
They got it, of course. And we'll figure something out. But I still felt bad, not only about me but that the only reason Rick wouldn't go would be because if he did and there was a problem, it would affect me. Which made me feel bad. (HE didn't make me feel bad; I did that all on my own.)
If it was just that one incident it would be one thing, but just a few days before I told my cousin I wouldn't be at his daughter's September 5 wedding. We have waited for this one for a long, long time and nothing would make me happier than to be at Heather's big day. But again, too many people at tables at a reception and who knows what with being close.
It hit hard after today's phone conversation that I don't mind being alone or with Rick or with carefully and widely distanced others outside, with masks at hand. Nor do I really miss lunches or dinners out or even shopping (apart from picking out my own veggies or going to the farmer's market). What I DO miss is not being able to participate in events that are meaningful.
And chances are, I will probably be advised not to participate in our annual Mistletoe Market art sale in November.
So, I lost it. The meltdown. Rick had suggested a walk. I countered with a drive to someplace I didn't know -- to see something I hadn't seen. Because believe me, I've seen my walk route plenty.
So, off we went, following part of his bike route when he rides here from home. It was a gorgeous day. Our 90s temps have toned down and it was very windy. The sky was that blue I cannot seem to mix in my paintbox and the clouds were perfection.
We went through state forest area and drove on long, badly paved roads. Finally we ended up at a small store in the middle of nowhere. And I mean the middle of nowhere.
I was impressed by the signs that people had to wear a mask (although the help wasn't, but he was behind plexi). This store was great -- but odd. We were the only people in there, which was great. But I could immediately see why. It had high-end and expensive sport clothes and hats, a wine section worthy of a far bigger city with nothing under $18, a huge beer selection and what I would call artisan chips and epicurean "groceries" -- jams and syrups from Stonewall Kitchen, interesting spices, corn and potato chip brands I'd never heard of, sardines, anchovies, capers, bruschetta -- it was a cocktail party in a store in terms of selection. But 24 quart-sized ziplocks were $5.99.
If, however, you wanted anything to really eat, like tuna fish or canned tomatoes, Oreos, a cake mix or a sandwich, you were out of luck.
I have not been in a store since March 16. Even when I got a prescription I went to the drive through. I spent $26 on chocolate sauce, crackers, malted milk balls, chocolate covered cherries and spices you put in olive oil for bread dipping. I was like an addict who went off the wagon.
We stopped at the Au Sable River, where we observed a Covid party just waiting to happen...
...and several canoes coming down the way. It was really quite pretty.
Then we took a meandering way home. I felt much better to have been "out" for awhile and now back in the cocoon where someone was waiting for us.
But the whole thing made me again wonder, how long will this last, what will be the cost to our relationships, our way of doing family events.
It seems we are on an international merry-go-round that has run amuck. Around and around. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. This or that is closed. Now they're open. Now they're closed. More restrictions. And why, oh why, won't they enforce fines for not wearing a mask or keeping distance?
I know some people don't care. They will go to church, no matter how many are there; they will attend the first big sporting event that comes along, a political rally, a crowded bar, or the first big concert or play or festival they can.
I know this is something I cannot do. It's not a matter of will not. It's a matter of CAN not. When I don't think of it much, I can tamp down the anxiety. But then it slowly bubbles up and surfaces.
And then there is the physical violence that has occurred in conjunction with places that DO have requirements and try to enforce them. Or the mask shaming and bullying and name calling that comes from those who mock the maskers.
How many people have to get really ill -- or worse, die -- before we get our act together like the lion's share of the rest of the civilized world? Obviously, the mask refusers don't think about what that refusal means to others who might be vulnerable -- or just plain don't want to get sick. It's the epitome of selfish. Who has to die for them to "get the idea" -- their mother? Father? Best friend? Sibling? Child? Spouse? What will it take?
No wonder other countries won't let us into their borders. I don't want to even let anyone into my house.
Our state has been having many Covid increases, both deaths and cases (more cases than deaths) and we've seen the impact of community spread in our own city. And we are one of the states that has high marks for doing everything right. I worry about my friends in the South, especially, but really everywhere.
Because we're all getting jumpy. We all want to go to the birthday party. Or the wedding. Of just be with a group of favorite friends. And some will -- and maybe it will be fine. Or maybe they will get very sick. Or pass it on to one who dies.
And that thought freaks me out. I guess I can go on as long as it takes...I hope so.
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