What does this mean, really? I pondered this question all day, as I thought about people whining about wearing masks or making unvaccinated kids wear them in school. I thought about this as I watched the man stopped at the red light in front of me toss his cigarette out the window like the world was his giant trash can. I thought about this as I stewed over my friend telling me she got harassed at the grocery store, passive aggressive style, as some woman in a sassy tennis skirt with no mask and talking on the phone complained that there was some “skanky ass nurse” in the store. Enough, people.
I was listening to some very old REM in my car on my way to work this morning. “Not… everyone can carry the weight of the world.” Indeed.
My daughter had a mild panic attack last week when her university announced that due to the Delta variant surge, they will require masks, even though there is a vaccination mandate in place. There are enough students exempt from vaccination and enough transmission among the vaccinated that they felt this step was necessary. She is so frustrated, asking me why do we bother doing all the right things when we all get punished for the ones who won’t? Yes. That’s the great mystery of life. Everyone fails the group project when the few don’t do their part.
Y’all. Your kids are tired of this. Your healthcare providers are tired of this. Your teachers are tired of this. Hospitals have shortages in all staff. Schools don’t have enough teachers. Are we reaching a tipping point?
Here’s the thing. Even if you get sick, even if you did nothing to prevent getting Covid, I will still treat you. I will still do my very best to give you the best care I can. Even if you were the one who gave me a hard time because I was wearing a mask in the grocery store. Even if you pepper our conversation throughout our sessions with conspiracy theories. I will still treat you with respect and compassion.
Going back to my daughter… her frustration expanded beyond Covid. She sees the future world up in flames because my generation and the generation before haven’t cared for this earth. I had no words to truly console her, because I see that, too.
So, yeah. It’s been rough, as I’m sure it has for many of you, to realize that we are almost back to where we started. But trying to convince someone who believes in conspiracy theories to trust in science is about as fruitful as herding cats. That goes for Covid and climate change.
You know, we actually give up a lot of “personal freedoms” to keep ourselves and others safe. Like driving the speed limit. Like not drinking and driving. Like wearing a helmet while biking. Like not dumping our trash wherever we want to. We are highly capable of respecting others and following rules. We do it every day. Can we also just wear the damn masks in indoor public spaces like the CDC recommends?
Are you growing wearing of this pandemic? Of the world getting hotter? Of people not respecting others? As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.