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In the Quiet

Rules keep changing. Which is which? Does anyone really know what they are doing?

You sit next to people at a gathering or maybe even in class. People are spread out but space isn’t unlimited. Sorta close-ish for a little bit but not shoulder to shoulder.

The next day, you get called to the clinic. You’re in quarantine. 14 days. Go home right now and don’t come back until it’s done. Here’s some paperwork. You’ll be getting a phone call. Let us know if you get sick. Then a different clock resets.

The mad scramble for information. For testing. For a way out of isolation. Someone else got to go back to school the next day. Why? Wondering. Waiting. Turns out she was sick a few months ago so she is immune. No one asked for proof. I don’t even know what to say.

The clock ticks. Events are missed. You see friends in the free world having fun and going about their lives, maybe with a mask on, maybe not. What gives?

I do believe in science. I do believe this thing is real and really, really bad for some people.

I know that science changes its mind as we learn more about pretty much anything. Before the Spanish Flu, people would regularly drink out of the same cup at a gathering. Individual cups weren’t a thing. And for how many years did humans think the world was flat? Decades? Centuries? Millenia? So our evolving knowledge over the course of 10 months really isn’t so bad. Or surprising.

But when it is in your face, limiting your movement, based on rules that seem sort of arbitrary, it’s frustrating. My jaw dropped when I heard that my daughter’s school has a measuring stick, taped together so it is exactly 6 feet. When a student comes down with the sickness, they go to each of their classes and set that measuring stick on the student’s desk, then spin it around with the stick as a radius. Where’s the seating chart? Any student sitting within that circle is quarantined.

Does an extra inch really mean someone is safe? If your quarantine ends Monday at 5:00 pm, are you really all that much safer than you were at 4:00 pm? And what if we roll the clocks back an hour during quarantine?

It is hard to wait out the days. Watch for symptoms and wonder. Try to explain it to my daughter. Shrug my shoulders at what I do not understand.

I have to tell myself, as I often do, pandemic or not, that people are just doing the best they can given what they know and what they can handle. Sometimes that best can be confusing and crappy. Honestly, there are moments when my personal best is a hot mess too.

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