Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Adolescence of the Pandemic (Day 228)

Today I enjoyed very normal, vintage things and strange, new things. 

We attended a very normal baby shower for our dear friends--who really are family. On the strange, new thing front, I was using a lightsaber to kill spotted lantern flies. 

That's how 2021 is shaking out: normal things, surrounded by surreal, abnormal science fiction things. I no longer think any of us have a firm hold on reality. I know we all think of ourselves as very logical and rational, however, I do encourage you to humble yourself and recall the times when maybe you were quarantining your packages in the sunlight and wiping down your groceries with the Clorox wipes you were hoarding. 

None of us are completely sane right now. We are, I think, in the adolescence of our pandemic lives. We all should be able to handle it--but then we also have BIG emotions we don't know what to do with and then, of course, we are aching for the traditions of the past (AKA our childhood/life before COVID).  We know we cannot turn back time, but we are exasperated and frustrated and unclear on who we are now. 

Grown adults are fighting over masks and vaccines and screaming like the entire world hinges on everyone hearing their opinions. 

My 15 and 12 year old daughters have arguments like this all the time. The spark of the argument might be something very real and rational; but it quickly devolves into utter madness and in the end they both want to be heard, told that they are right and simply to win. 

We are all in this spot. I am sick of listening to both sides of the mask and vaccine argument. It is exhausting and truly not producing any meaningful results. My husband will tell you--for anyone who does not believe it--I am a person who lives firmly in the middle of most things. I like the debate. I like the conversation and I am the last one to shut down the endless discussion of things. However, in this adolescence time of pandemic, everything is highly charged, filled with drama and does not seem to have a discernible solution. 

I do firmly believe that we all have a right and duty to question, research and make decisions for our bodies. I would never suggest that people should not question medical things. I question everything. 

But, all that being said, I do believe that the questioning in this case would lead to the decision to get vaccinated.  I don't understand why so many people are choosing not to get a safe vaccine which was made possible by 15 years of research, including the basic science discovery of mRNA 70 years ago. 

I also do not understand why anyone would think bullying, harassing and aggressively guilting people into getting vaccinated would ever yield meaningful results. 

For a short time we had an immune compromised child who had cancer and endured cancer treatment. No one, including those anti-vaxxers and reluctant vaxxers, in our circle, would change their mind about standard childhood vaccinations to protect our daughter. No one gets vaccinated to be selfless and save the world (I know there are probably some exceptions like amazing healthcare workers!). It is just not how human beings are wired. I got vaccinated to protect my family and myself--I can pretend it was some sort of heroic measure to save the world; but it was not. It was to save me and mine. And I think that is okay.  

And on the mask front, I think it is annoying that I am supposed to mask now when indoors and at the store after I got vaccinated (and had a horrendous reaction).  But, of course I'll do it where required, because I also don't think it is that big of a deal. I think masking works--but I also think vaccination works. 

I am truly not worried about my son and COVID--while there are risks and fears, the data does not point to my 8 year old healthy boy being at high risk. And, while I hate saying this dramatic, flowery phrase, I won't live in fear. 

I do think universal masking at school is the only solution while some children cannot be vaccinated and while other children won't be vaccinated. This, to me, is the logical consequence of not having a vaccine for kids under 12 and also, of parents not vaccinating their children over 12. We've been told this all along--mask if not vaxxed. That story has not changed. Plus, in the end, anything that limits interruptions to the school year is okay, in my book. 

And I get it, the masks are annoying and bizarre and something out of a science fiction movie. But whatever, there are lots of rules and laws that are annoying. It is just a cloth or paper mask. It is not the radiation mask my toddler daughter had to wear everyday for 6 weeks. It is not a gas mask that my grandfather wore in the trenches of World War I to protect himself from mustard gas. It is not even one of those itchy facial masks that tingles in a way that feels like it is burning your face off. 

I know, I am being dramatic and tossing in some guilt disguised as reality. It probably isn't working if you are anti-mask. I tried! 

The masks are annoying and rules are annoying. But,  I absolutely and certainly do not understand the people disrupting school boards and threatening, bullying and aggressively guilting people to be anti-mask.

Just like with vaccination, it does not work in this situation either, does it? 

That's the thing with adolescence arguments--the truth of the argument is hidden in hysteria and rage and fear and nostalgia and big emotions that we don't know how to control. 

But, like adolescence, the world will grow up someday, maybe. 



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