I’m writing this BEFORE Day 257 (it’s Wednesday, November 18, if you’re curious), so presumably, things are going to be more or less the same by the time it publishes. But, for the sake of … whatever… let’s assume all things have proceeded as you’d expect a week prior.
So, it’s Day 257 (for you, anyway) and there’s still a pandemic on. It’s still dodgy out there. Things are still uncertain, scary, awful, trying, stressful, exhausting, among other descriptors. The good news is that vaccine trials are starting to report in and they look pretty hopeful. The bad news is that Thanksgiving is coming up in the USA and it’s going to make everything a lot worse.
Oh, I know this is a blog about writing and the writing life, but let’s face it, we’re all living this life right now. This COVID life. And, what happens with that is affecting us in ways big and small, so we might as well just fucking talk about it and get it out front.
Thanksgiving is Doomed
I sat through a press conference an hour or so ago put on by my local health department. They were begging people to cancel Thanksgiving plans, to please mask, to please stay home if they’re sick. They were pleading, because although my city did reasonably well up until school reopened however it could, we’re failing hard now.
The no shits given attitude that has permeated the rural counties around us is starting to penetrate our walled city on a hill. (We aren’t really walled, but we are on a hill. That other bit was hyperbole. I know you’ve never been here, most people have never even heard of Springfield, Missouri.)
Those of us who are holding out and who have dwelt in the city on the hill for years generally have a bit of a different outlook than our relatives who live out in the wild of the rural counties. Not all of us, in either direction, but it’s pretty safe to say the city is far more liberal leaning than the counties. And those of us in the city are having to have hard conversations about this with our rural family.
Because masking and not, you know, spreading the plague about, has become such a political issue, it’s turning into a very us versus them situation, when it should really just be an us versus the fucking virus situation. Unfortunately, we’ve reached a crossroads because family meals are one of the few ways we still have to hold to our traditions, for we are a simple people with simple ways.
And there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. It’s lovely in its way. I came back from the bigger world because of the beauty of it. But just this once, we can’t be simple creatures. We have to be more than that.
How You Can Save Lives
Look, I don’t give two fucks if you don’t like the tea I’m spilling here, but if you’re a regular follower of this blog (and if you still are after how poorly I’ve been doing at updating this year, God bless you), I owe it to you to tell you the truth. I’m always devoted to it, you know this about me.
Staying home this year will save lives. Maybe not yours, maybe not your cousins’, but someone’s life. Because even if your family dodges a bullet, your having a normal holiday just encourages everyone else to do the same. And some of those people will not be so lucky. Some of those people will die gasping for their last breath while drowning in their own lungs.
Can you imagine what your friend’s grandmother would feel in her last moments? Or how terrified your pastor’s uncle will be when he’s isolated and alone in a COVID ward? Can you feel the deep loss that some families are going to experience because their dinner became a super spreader event?
If you’ve not given it any thought, now is the time. Now is your time to be bigger than politics or power grabs. Now is your moment to take a stand and save the people around you from themselves.
I believe in you. Do the right thing and stay home. Have a video call with your family. There’s room for a laptop at your dinner table. You can still share a meal without sharing a disease.