(Side Note: Am I the only one who’s having fits trying to figure out the WordPress block editor?)
It’s a holiday weekend, and I’m staying home. Locally and across the state, our positivity percentage is still high, so I’m continuing to be cautious, especially since I’m now back at work a few days a week. I’m using a lot of the weekend to catch up on work, in the hope that I can start scaling back on the recent string of fourteen hour days. Meanwhile, there has been an unexpected increase in challenges to my commitment to remaining cautious during the ongoing pandemic.
So I thought it might be worth talking about a few of these situations, for anyone who might be facing something similar.
So far, I’ve been physically present at work for six days over the past three weeks. Every single day, several people have asked if we can “get together for just a minute”, or simply opened my door and stepped in to ask a question or start a conversation. Most of my coworkers believe, as I do, that the best thing to do is keep our doors closed and continue communicating virtually or over the phone, even if we’re both in the building, but some think differently, or figure that one time won’t hurt. So several times each day I’ve had to politely ask people to leave and request that they send me an email or a Zoom invitation. The next time I go in, I’m going to put a sign on my door and hope that helps everyone get the message.
Not everyone agrees with my level of caution, and I respect that. However, I must admit that I’ve been a little taken aback at how many people have invited me to parties, dinners, and movies. One particular friend has been pushing in person gatherings since our state reopened. She has never broken the current guidelines (which are stricter in my city than they are across the state), but has consistently been organizing group events ranging and has become frustrated that I have consistently declined. Most recently, she told me that she is planning a small party for her birthday, and said that she desperately wants me to attend. I would love to, and I hate to disappoint her, but I’m simply not comfortable with the risk, especially since I don’t know everyone who will be there, and therefore have no way of knowing the possible exposure risks. The best thing we can do in situations like this is to empathize, show respect for the decisions of others, and ask that they do the same for us. I’ve mailed her a gift and am making sure to communicate with her regularly so she knows that I still care, despite not being ready to spend time in person.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but my hair is about two feet long. I usually get it highlighted about every six weeks, and I was past due when everything shut down. So I ended up with about four inches of very dark hair that then suddenly changed to light caramel. When a coworker teased me about it, I freely admitted that it looked pretty silly. I actually spoke with my stylist, who urged me to come in and promised to wear a mask and take precautions. I have to admit it was pretty tempting, but ultimately I decided it just wasn’t worth it, especially since she works in a nearby county that doesn’t have a mask mandate. I ended up dying it all to something close to my natural color, and it looks…well, it’s better. Lol. A lot of people I know are going in for haircuts, manicures, massages, etc., and have suggested that I should, too, especially given my current stress level. In the end, though, I just don’t feel safe.
Events and Experiences
Going to the movies has been one of the hardest things for me to resist. I love movies, love the theater experience, and usually see tons of films when they’re released. This weekend, half a dozen people in my circle plan to see Tenet, which is only playing in theaters. I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan, and usually see his movies as soon as they open. The movie won’t be available on demand for quite a while, and I hate to miss it on the big screen. However, there are so many streaming options that while I’m disappointed to have to wait for this particular film, I can still get my movie fix. Just last night, my sister Audrey came over so we could watch Bill and Ted Face the Music (which, by the way, is a lot of fun), and while we missed the big screen, we also acknowledged some of the benefits, like being in the comfort of my living room and being able to hit pause if we wanted to make a comment or needed a quick break.
I think the most important thing for all of us is to be kind, empathetic, and respectful to each other. If you’re finding that you’re more concerned than others around you, be firm in your decisions, but don’t make negative assumptions about others’ motivations and decisions. If you’re more comfortable with resuming daily activities, don’t take it personally if people in your life feel differently. Above all, avoid the temptation to argue, accuse, or attack. We’re still in this together.
How comfortable are you at this point? What have you been doing, and/or avoiding?