I feel like I’ve been stranded on Gilligan’s Island for 14 months and now I’m finally back in society, but I’m dumbfounded how to react.
My brain was reprogrammed for social distancing when the Covid-19 pandemic started. How the hell do I deprogram it?
All along I said I’d follow the CDC guidelines. Now, the CDC says fully vaccinated people don’t need masks or social distancing, except in packed planes and buses. I’m free to leave the island, ready or not.
Oh no, it’s a bare mouth! Wait, don’t be scared. Unless they have terrible breath and start up a long conversation.
I’m free to shake hands and hug, I guess. Damn, I’ve been acting for months like a handshake will kill me and now I can dive into a human spaghetti bowl with fellow vaccinated folk?
That’s where the rewiring kicks in. When someone passes by me on the sidewalk, I need to remember not to sprint ten feet away (extra social distancing) like they’re a flesh-eating monster. When someone reaches to shake my hand, I shouldn’t look at them like they’ve just offered me a snotty tissue to the face. But should I immediately wash my hands afterwards? Wait, I’m vaccinated. I can rub my dirty hands all over my face. But what if I catch a cold?
I guess this means I won’t be working from home forever. I really miss spending 2.5 hours a day in Miami traffic. That’ll be fun. You mean I can’t wear flip flops all day? I need to break my socks out of storage. How the hell do I put on a tie again? You mean I have to wear a suit in South Florida’s 95-degree heat?
This means no more excuses.
“I’m so sorry. I’d love to come, but I’m confined to my home during the pandemic. You understand.” (Not that I’d go anyway.)
I’m back to pure, cold-hearted rejection. Maybe I can tell everyone my dogs can’t possibly live without me, so I need to stay home with them.
It’s a sea change in thinking. For months, the people packing together, unvaccinated without masks were the assholes. They were constantly ridiculed on media and online. And one day later, get fully vaccinated and you can go party. Not that we can tell the vaccinated from those who aren’t, but that’s another conundrum.
Now that the CDC says fully vaccinated people rarely spread the virus, I shouldn’t feel guilty about being around unmasked people, right? If they aren’t vaccinated, they decided to take the risk and it’s not any riskier because I’m there. And still, if I know they aren’t vaccinated, do I still shake their hand? Maybe I’ll fist bump, with one of those plastic fists on a spring.