Saturday, January 8, 2022

Quarantine 2: Electric Bugaloo

JC & me, Lake Louise
The Civ-Mil crew in Copenhagen
I stopped doing quarantine reports last summer after Mrs. Spew and I had two shots plus two weeks.  Shortly afterwards, we drove to Philly to see my mother and the rest of my family.  I went to a movie when we got back, and we would occasionally go to restaurants (almost always outdoors).  I went to Copenhagen for a conference, we held a hybrid event (the Year Ahead 2022), I gave a talk in Calgary and, yes, went skiing afterwards, I had a fun poker game with folks who were in town for another conference, and, then we get super anxious about going to see my in-laws over the holidays.

Great Falls park
It was not the usual winterfest, as we only went to one restaurant and very reluctantly so.  Otherwise, it was take-out.  No metro trip to the Mall.  Instead, my daughter (Hollywood Spew) and I went to see a river and a canal.  We worried much about whether we would get our PCR tests back in time for us--before we were to cross the border back to Canada.  And we got them while we were driving back north.  We also worried much about whether my daughter could get back to LA as her first flight was cancelled, but she persevered and got a flight back.  She went back sooner than planned because she was unable to stay over with her besties from college as they were all exposed to covid and some tested positive. 

And then we returned to old habits with modifications.  I only leave the house now for groceries and to rehab my knee (I mentioned above I went skiing, right?).  No dining out.  I did make one exception--I went to see the new Spidey movie just before provincial regulations changed to close the movie theaters.  I haven't started the winter exercise ritual of last year--snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as we don't have enough snow yet (unlike my pals to the south).  

Instead of shopping for funky looking masks, I focus on the monthly Costco trip, hoping they have KN-95s.  And when I went this week, I bought three boxes, which felt very much like hoarding.  But I did so anyway because I have no idea if there will be any next month.  I haven't put away my cloth masks that Omicron has made obsolete.  Maybe the next variant will be less transmissible?

Which gets to the feelings of the moment--exhaustion and frustration.  It may be the most "mild" of variants, but its greater transmissiblity has had a huge impact.  Carleton has pushed the first three weeks (and probably more) online.  Which is not a huge deal to me as I am teaching a course that has online components from last year--so I checked and the material is quite recyclable.  But damn, when I said that online, the parents of kids were most upset that I was not as angry as they were.  I am angry and frustrated, but my stakes are much smaller than theirs.  There is no good way to deal with this new wave for schools as McSweeney's illustrated quite nicely.  One thing that has remained most consistent has been the Ontario government screwing this up.  The plans for the winter are being upended.  The big anniversary trip to Morocco Spain Hawaii Vancouver next month is now in doubt.  The CDSN Capstone Seminar and Civ-Mil Workshop were going to be in Calgary in the beginning of March, but that is now uncertain.  ISA in Nashville at the end of March?  ¯\(°_o)/¯  

Despite being vaxxed and boosted, we are anxious as we quarantine.  I don't worry about getting seriously sick (although Mrs. Spew does), but I do worry about becoming a vector that endangers someone else.  Once again, we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and then found out that this thing is going on and on.  I think that, along with the fact that we all know far more people with COVID this time around (we are up to four nieces and one nephew since this thing started, with only two nieces and one daughter still dodging covid successfully), has worn us down, frazzled our nerves, and genearted much fear, which ain't good:

We, alas, are not in this together.  As I keep saying, COVID does to societies and political systems what it does to the human body: reveal and exacerbate pre-existing conditions. The politics of this is making all of this costlier, more stressful, and just worse all the way around.  

I am placing a lot of hope on two things: that mild really means mild and that the bending of the curve is going to be fast, like it has been in South Africa.  I know that rebellions are built on hope.  I am hoping that recoveries are, too. 


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