Dealing With It

Please give me a moment of your time and indulge me. This isn’t a tea-and-sympathy post or virtue signaling or me seeking validation or a crusade for a noble cause, it’s just something I need to get off my chest.

I just scheduled my third COVID test for Monday afternoon. I’ve had a slight head cold this entire weekend with a few other symptoms and while I probably don’t have the virus, I need to know for sure.

You can say I’ve bought into the fear mongering, or I’m falling for the media hype, or I’m overreacting or a Chicken Little. Whatever.

I would rather get tested every day and wear a mask until I have tan lines, than to pass it along to my coworkers or my family. I simply can’t take the chance and I can’t afford to be wrong.

In the past ten days there isn’t a single one of the 173 computers I’m responsible for that I haven’t touched. I’ve been in everyone’s office, workspace, cubicle and sat at every single desk. Social distancing is impossible for me.

I’m as careful as I can be but nothing is zero-risk and I live with the constant fear of being Patient Zero. If I spread this Cootie around, it endangers not only my friends but the children and families they work so hard to keep safe. My mask won’t protect me but it might protect you and all of them.

This isn’t a joke for me. I absolutely hope I am overreacting because I hate every second of this situation, just like you do. I appreciate the fact that we are all dealing with this as best we can, but I don’t really have the luxury of deciding whether or not to wear a mask or get tested. I have to assume all the horror stories are true because if they’re right, we’re in trouble. If they’re wrong, I’ve lost nothing but the respect of people who don’t believe any of it. I can live with that.

This is my duty and my responsibility and it’s also a choice I make out of respect and affection for the people I am surrounded by. I simply cannot handle the idea of spreading this virus to anyone. Even when I’m off work, I spend most of my free time alone for all the same reasons. I haven’t had a hug or a kiss or so much as a shoulder squeeze in, well, a while. So I’m paying for this, and I hate every day of it but I’ll keep it up as long as I need to. Let’s hope Netflix keeps cranking stuff out because it fills some of those hours.

I’ve had several people who have spoken to me with their legitimate issues regarding masks and why they can’t wear them. I’m not a monster, I understand and support those concerns. It’s the defiant, belligerent, utter refusal to do the *literal* bare minimum to keep me safe that I can’t abide. I’m not in a high risk group and my concern isn’t for myself, but I can infect fifty people in one afternoon without knowing it. You might be one.

I want everyone to live to see these days behind us forever, including the people who roll their eyes in the grocery store when I put on my mask, or the people who claim Bill Gates is going to microchip us. Let’s just all get through this, the sooner the better. Put your mask on.

Matt Grigsby
Matt Grigsby was born and raised in Redding but has often felt he should have been born in Italy. By day he's a computer analyst toiling for the public good and by night he searches airline websites for great travel deals. His interests include books, movies, prowling thrift shops for treasure and tricking his friends into cooking for him. One day he hopes to complete his quest in finding the best gelato shop in Italy.
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