My best friend won't leave her house so I haven't seen her in two years

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction and opinion based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

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I haven’t seen my best friend Lynne in two years.

The last I saw her was in February of 2020 when I spent the weekend visiting her and her family at her new house in Massachusetts, a month before Covid tore the world — and us — apart.

You see, Lynne went, as I say, completely Covid Crazy.

She was the person who isolated herself in her house, quarantined her mail for three days, got her groceries delivered to her house and wiped them down with gloves and had a mask on before putting them away.

Even now, she still gets everything she can deliver and does curbside pickup for everything she cannot.

She hasn’t been inside a store or restaurant since March 2020.

I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not.

I know there are a lot of people out there who took these precautions, but I was not one of them, it seemed too extreme.

In the beginning, I did everything I thought I needed to do to stay safe.

I masked up, I hand sanitized until my flesh was red and raw and dry, I only went into crowded places like grocery stores when I absolutely had to, and limited my eating out once restaurants started opening back up again.

I got double vaccinated and boosted as soon as I could — just like Lynne.

I thought after we’d all been vaccinated she would invite me up to see her again, and I waited and waited for the invitation that didn’t come.

One day she said “maybe soon!” but then there was the Delta variant, and then Omicron, and my hopes fell through the cracks.

Ages seemed to have passed, and I finally got the guts to ask her straight up when I would see her again.

If you quarantine at home for a week before you come up,” she said. “I’m sorry, you just go out too much and expose yourself too much for me to feel comfortable otherwise.”

I’m sorry Lynne, and I’m sorry everyone like Lynne, but this is just too much.

I can understand the fear at the beginning of the pandemic, I had some of the fear myself, but I was also in the beginning of a new relationship, and I wasn’t going to forsake all the pleasures of the getting to know you stage for fear of exposure.

I ventured out to restaurants when capacities were still limited and people were really made to stand six feet apart with masks on and sanitize before coming or going.

But, I also spent most of the summer of 2020 on the beach, maskless on a blanket surrounded by other maskless people with the wind blowing everywhere.

I chose my battles.

I wasn’t going to give up all the fun for fear, but Lynne, and a lot of other people, clearly were.

My other best friend, Liz, is the opposite of Covid Crazy.

Despite being a cancer survivor still going through some treatments, she’s also a holistic medicine toting anti-vaxxer who did not get the Covid vaccine despite all her doctor’s begging.

She’s the reason I still wear a mask in public despite restrictions being lifted — because I know how many people are out there unmasked and unvaxxed.

You see, it’s a balance, and it’s a personal choice.

But I still have my opinion about it, and:

It’s time to get on with life.

Yes, Covid-19 is a horrible virus that has killed millions of people — it killed my own grandfather, truth be told.

It’s not going away, but it is getting better.

According to the CDC which updates this information daily,

As of March 9, 2022, the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (37,147) decreased 28.8% compared with the previous 7-day moving average (52,156).

That’s a good sign, and we should be hopeful the trend continues.

With that all said, I think it’s time for Lynne, and others like her, to start coming out of their shells and their homes.

How long, really, can one plan on remaining indoors indefinitely, not seeing anyone besides her husband, children, and mother who lives in an in-law apartment?

How long can one go without the stimulation of scraping your fork against a plate for that last delicious bite of dessert at a nice restaurant, the pleasure of being able to kick back with a bucket of popcorn at a movie theatre, the ultimate, unbridled joy of finally dancing to live music again?

I couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t want to wait for those things.

Covid-19 might never really go away.

It’s probably something we’re going to have to live with the rest of our lives, like the flu and the common cold, like Strep throat and seasonal bronchitis.

The thing is, we always were at risk of getting sick when we went out, long before Covid-19 was a disease anyone had ever heard of.

We were always risking someone sneezing or coughing too closely nearby, touching a cart contaminated by a sick person’s germs, hugging a loved one with an as yet un-symptomatic virus…

Granted most of those things aren’t as pernicious and vicious as Covid-19 can be, but science — thanks science! — has shown that vaccines are keeping people from dying the way they were a year ago, and the corner has turned.

Maybe it will turn back.

Maybe we’ll get another variant that is even worse than the first, a variant so scary it will have us masking back up and flashing proof of vaccine for entrance into restaurants and other events again.

But, maybe it won’t.

Maybe this is as good as it’s going to get, or it will get better.

Either way, a lot of people like Lynne have to seriously consider asking themselves how long they are going to continue living their lives in a bubble.

If you ask me, it’s time to come out.

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