May 16,2021

The Big Dig

I realize I haven’t been writing as much lately and I miss it. I have been distracted by work and home. Lots going on as we start to re-enter society. Last week was full of news, and I just couldn’t make time for writing, as much as I tried. Work has been challenging me more than I wish. Also, I think it will ease up as soon as the Phinney Neighborhood Yard Sale is over next Saturday, May 22. Jamie and I are hoping to clear house and find new homes for many of our belongings. Imagine a neighborhood full of yard sales with lots of buyers wandering to each. Fun and community building- the best kind of event. Since we aim to simplify our house, selling things is safer than visiting the sales and finding new additions. Since we are immunized, I feel pretty safe being a part of the yard sale since folks in our neighborhood are good about masking up and we will be outdoors.

This week, the CDC announced the surprising news of allowing fully vaccinated people to be unmasked in most settings. Seemingly sudden, lots are wondering if the decision was ill advised, but the data shows the risk of transmission is low if fully vaccinated and that the vaccines are still effective agains the new variants. Still, local and state mandates override the federal guideline, if for instance vaccine uptake is low and infection rates are up. I think I will still wear my mask for the sale and have hand sanitizer handy.

What that means for the rest of us is a quicker return, rather than a slow return, to society. My anxiety about more social interactions has increased. Carrying on conversations face to face with people without a mask seems pre-mature. I am not the only one feeling this way. I can probably learn to have small talk again, but it may take some time to feel comfortable maskless.

I have been to my office on a daily basis so not much has changed for me, but others are finding their offices have become archeological digs after more than a year away. What was left out, thinking you’d return in a couple of weeks? and what will be different when you return? The past year has been extraordinary for us all, so documenting your return and what you find could be an interesting project.

Many of my thoughts are with those still vulnerable because they are unable to or have decided against getting a vaccine. Those people are at risk for serious illness or death or Long COVID, while the immunized are protected. Enforcing masking without proof of vaccination will be difficult. I am not sure how this will all work out. But this is a big step for the US. Now if we could share our unwanted vaccines with our neighbors and the rest of the world.

Wash your hands, cover your nose as required, hug your friends and family, and find out what was left behind.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.phinneycenter.org/calendar/garagesaleday2021/

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/23/well/small-talk-anxiety-strangers.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/14/health/cdc-masks-vaccines-variants.html

https://www.mdlinx.com/news/covid-19-mrna-vaccines-appear-effective-against-multiple-variants/3W3ege6N2QjCCGcVLBj73i

https://www.seattletimes.com/explore/careers/who-were-we-and-what-were-we-thinking-a-return-to-offices-frozen-in-time/