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Are You Bored?

     One of the side-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is that we are all, collectively, bored out of our minds.

     We’ve been stuck at home, limiting social engagements, living a circumscribed life, falling into an unrelenting daily monotony. We’ve tried to cope. Technology has helped us out. But I know several people who have told me: “I will never do another Zoom meeting for the rest of my life!”

     Now we are getting out more. I’ve read that airline bookings are way up, hotels are filled to capacity, restaurants are back in business. But we are still vulnerable. Covid-19 cases are up. New cases have doubled in the past month as Omicron subvariants have spread across the country. According to the NY Times, several states from Maine to Hawaii have seen case counts surpass even the levels of last year’s Delta surge.

     But most people — especially younger people — are so bored they are willing to take the risk, the risk of getting sick. Younger people don’t care. They think: What’s the problem? Covid is no worse than getting a cold. Older people are a little more worried, but it’s hard to generalize. We have friends who go to restaurants and indoor events, masks be damned. Others have been traveling. One of B’s oldest friends is right now on a plane to Hawaii.

     So I wonder: Where do you stand? Are you traveling? Are you going to restaurants? Are you still worried, or do you have a post-Covid mindset?

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     We’ve been trying to navigate the ups and downs of the pandemic. But it’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen. When case counts fell in the Northeast in February, we hightailed it down to South Carolina to see our grandchildren. But when we got there, we found that while cases had almost disappeared in Pennsylvania where we live, they were rising at an alarming rate in South Carolina.

     So all during February we wore masks when indoors. We ate at restaurants only outside — which, in February, can be pretty chilly, even in South Carolina. The result of our efforts (or maybe it was just luck): We didn’t get Covid.

     In March we made a trip to Wisconsin to see another grandchild. We flew American, which at the time required masks on its flights. Covid case levels were low. We still didn’t eat indoors at a restaurants; but we felt reasonably comfortable going to the park, to the zoo, and hanging around the house with the family.

     Meanwhile, my sister who lives in Florida was planning a trip to New York City in April. She wanted to know: Did we want to meet her there for a few days?

     Sure, we said. We knew Covid cases were almost non-existent in New York. So we made plans. But of course by the time we actually drove up to New York, the last week in April, the prevalence of Covid was increasing.

     The result was that we ate dinner in our hotel room a couple of nights. We did hazard one trip to a restaurant, indoors. There were no vaccination restrictions, but we knew that most New Yorkers — something like 90% — are vaccinated. And the maitre d’ was kind enough to seat us by an open window, for ventilation, while all the younger people congregated inside and around the bar. Some were masked; most were not.

     We’d also bought tickets to a show. At the venue they checked vaccination cards and required masks. And we managed to escape New York without getting Covid.

     Now my daughter is planning a trip to Italy this summer. She’s young. She has no worries. And she wants us to come along. But I checked. Covid is at a “high risk” level throughout Italy. Masks are no longer required on airplanes. And besides. the plane fare seems astronomical! Has the price of tickets gone up that much just in the last few months?

     So we’re not going to Italy. We’re not that bored. But the weather’s supposed to be nice next week. Maybe we’ll go into town and have dinner at one of the outside eateries.

Tom Lashnits Writer, Blogger
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