Metatalktailhour: Where do/don't you go? February 21, 2021 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I love seeing Metatalktailhour on Saturdays - I hope I'm not stepping on toes here by posting this. Where do you feel comfortable going these and where don't you? What is it like?Is everyone wearing masks? Social distancing?

Sunday I have dinner plans with a friend and will be leaving the house for the first time in five months.

What's it like outside?
posted by bendy to MetaFilter-Related at 9:37 AM (80 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Skiing, our family has done skiing regularly through this winter. We moved our family base to Vermont as remote work and schooling made it possible, so we’re not traveling much. Kids ski/ snowboard teams are running, but they don’t have any breaks inside and have masks on 100%. Kids lunch break had turned into loose tailgate, where families bring food, which kids grab and go. Parents do get to socialize, but this is outside in Vermont winter in full ski gear and masks compliance is really good. I ski with few other dads, and we do share open chair lifts, but again masked.

In one of the families a teenage kid and his father both got COVID, but that was traced to non-skiing related contact with a family friend or something such. They guaranteed immediately upon first symptoms/ suspicions. No one in the loose ski community got infected.

I understand that this is not 100% risk free, but certainly send be about the right balance. Kids are doing much better due to outdoors physical activity and due to being able be with their friends in relatively safe way. Seems like a common thread amounts other ski families, that overall well-being/ mental health was important enough to take some measured risks.
posted by zeikka at 10:12 AM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

What's it like outside?

Fewer walls, and more weather and people.

I wouldn't say I feel "comfortable" as such, but I manage to go through the rigamarole of masking up for my weekly outing to the grocery and liquor stores plus the post-trip isolating of clothes and washing up. I always have to mentally work myself up for it though, and I pine for the days when the grocery run was a trivial task.

I haven't gone anywhere other than that in ages. My pre-COVID life was already pretty monk-like, but this isolation has started getting to me recently. Really looking forward to getting the vaccine so I can visit friends again, though I know things won't be completely "back to normal" for quite a while after that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:40 AM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

We don't do much. I go to the grocery weekly, been double-masking since December (before Fauci made it cool) after hearing about the "more contagious" variants being on the loose here. People in my area seem to be masking up appropriately, though some a bit grudgingly. There was one gruff old guy in Walmart wearing a mask that said "HOAX" across it in big red letters, but I don't give a shit what it says as long as he had it on his face. In the waiting room at my cardiologist the other day, I heard an elderly gentleman tattle to the receptionist about a lady with her mask under her chin. She saw the receptionist coming for her and hurriedly pulled it up where it belongs. But mostly people seem resigned to it and I haven't seen anyone get fighty or ugly about it.

I go to the grocery, pharmacy, occasionally to the art supply store. We haven't gone to eat in any restaurants even though some are open for dining in currently, so I'm not sure how they are. From what I understand, the rules are you can unmask only when you are sitting at your table but not any place else inside, and the staff are supposed to be masked all the time. My daughter worked as a server in a Wisconsin bar/restaurant for a while and said it was very hard for people to understand her with the mask plus the noise plus not being able to lean in close.

Husband has gone for a haircut a couple of times. They mask and you mask, and they won't trim facial hair so we've been doing his beard at home.

The only other place we've been besides the aforementioned places was a day at the zoo over the summer. We chose our day carefully hoping for sparse crowds, and were fully prepared to leave if it was crowded or people were being unsafe. But folks kept their distance enough so that we even felt comfortable having our masks off much of the time (being outdoors with no one nearby.) People seemed very aware of others for the most part and would put their masks back on if others were nearby. People at the grocery stores, while masked, are much less careful about staying distant than I'd like, mostly due to impatience. They can't seem to wait for 10 goddamn seconds before they reach around you "real quick" to grab something you're standing in front of.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:06 AM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I feel pretty comfortable going outside. I hate going indoors.

I have gone inside grocery stores every week and inside the workplace once for about five minutes to do a drop off, and once I went to a doctor's appointment. I spoiled the mail-in ballot I ordered and voted inside because I was worried about my signature not matching whatever ancient thing they have on file and I decided having my vote against Trump count was worth dying. That's it for inside, but fortunately it's been really nice out here in north central Florida.

My friend had a movie night last night in her back yard on the site of a former golden raintree thicket that I uprooted over several communal yardwork Sundays. We have gradually cleared her entire yard, which, like the yards of all members of the Sunday Morning Yardwork Club, was a totally impassable invasive species wasteland at the beginning of the pandemic.

She had built a fire pit and had a fire going when we arrived, and we attempted to make popcorn in foil on sticks over it. (Fail--the popcorn tends to catch fire in the homemade jiffypop packet and only about 1 in 30 kernels pop. Highly amusing, so definitely worth trying.) We also made s'mores. (Succeed!) We put together the movie screen she bought and figured out the projector and watched Napoleon Dynamite under the stars from our distanced lawn chairs.

My other friend had a socially distanced pumpkin-carving party for Halloween and her annual NYE hat-making party in her backyard last year. BYO pumpkin, BYO hat-making materials.

Yet another friend did Thanksgiving in her front yard with a really long table and just five people. She's a gifted visual artist, so it looked like a Wes Andersen movie. Flowers and lanterns were everywhere.

I did Christmas on my front porch including the traditional family Christmasmorning sweetroll recipe that includes a mother-daughter assemblyline thing where you roll doughballs in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar and sprinkle currents and walnuts or pecans. Usually we're standing side-by-side at the kitchen counter to do this, but Mom hasn't been in the house since last February. She made the doughballs at her assigned station and I rolled them in the cinnamon sugar and tossed them in the tube pan at mine. Mom opened presents on the porch swing and we opened presents on the glider at the other end of the porch. We had radiant heaters and blankets to stay warm and plenty of hot coffee.

We did a birthday party and mothers' day at my friend's mother's house on her screened porch and around her swimming pool. It was hot but bearable.

Lots of walks together with people. And whenever I lose my mind and bake enormous piles of some carbohydrate-rich nonsense it's an excuse to go to somebody's house to drop it off and chat in the yard.

Everybody's masked the whole time at these things unless eating/drinking. Everybody knows that bathroom breaks are not going to happen, so gatherings are pleasingly short. Christmas, for instance, was not the usual daylong marathon. We did a two-parter with a long "comfort break" in the middle. That was frankly awesome.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:18 AM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

We go for walks. My wife and son are especially fond of long strolls and try to do this daily. Me, eh, maybe 3x/week.

We live on the edge of a small city so most of the time we don't run into people. Which is good, because I'm terrified of them.

I can't stress this enough. Pre-COVID I was an extreme extrovert. I loved meeting people. For my work I got to visit universities, address crowds, and consult with groups, which always boosted me. My digital work is similar, focused on engaging other people and holding conversations.

Now? I dread people. Each human is a potential viral attack. For more than a year I've been trained to duck away, not shake hands or hug. The social distance barrier is in place, an invisible shield that shoves away disease.

I'm starting to get stupid about this. Watching a crowd scene in a movie makes me nervous.

So I walk, usually with my wife and son, and appreciate the long stretched of sidewalk or road. We do full body flinches away from people.

Also, I'm becoming horribly judgmental about other people. I scrutinize their face masks: is it a real one? Is it worn correctly? Are they on the verge of taking it off? If someone isn't wearing a mask I'm like a Hawthorn Puritan, mentally hollering about the unclean sinner.

So that's my outdoor life.
posted by doctornemo at 11:38 AM on February 21, 2021 [14 favorites]

I’ve been going to church fairly regularly since September. At my church every other pew is closed and the open pews are marked with green tape on the section that’s available for sitting. There are short strips that say “couple” and long strips that say “family” and they’re well distanced from each other. Communion is distributed by the deacon and priest wearing masks walking through the closed pews. I’m kneeling and he’s standing and it takes like 5 seconds, so I feel ok with it.

I go to the very early Sunday morning Mass. I’d estimate there are 50-75 people in a space that could hold 500. Masks are required and everyone keeps theirs on the whole time. Of the people I can see, they all kind of slip communion under the mask instead of taking it off. There is no singing.

Once I went to a Saturday evening Mass and it was probably more like half full and they sang hymns. I felt extremely uncomfortable and won’t go back to that one.
posted by erloteiel at 11:39 AM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Very same as doctornemo, walking is my life now, both for sanity/exercise/sleep reasons but also because getting outside is nice and walking with people outside is very low-risk in my very low-risk area. I walk maybe 10-15 miles a week, in little circles in my neighborhood. I live alone. I have a 97 year old landlady who I help with technology. She is the only person I would consider in my bubble, though I do have another lives-alone friend (public health worker, now vaccinated) whose dog got in a tussle with another dog and I broke my usual "no indoors at all with others" rule to drive her and her pup to the vet (they were all okay). I go to the grocery store and the laundromat every other month or so, pharmacy every month because they won't mail my prescriptions.

People used to suck about masking but now they are decent and we had a UPS store in the north part of the state which lost their franchise because they were aggressive non-maskers. I'm in the MeFi Card Club so I've darted in to our local walkable thrift store to get cards for a dime. I've gone to the dentist a lot, a LOT, for an ongoing thing. I went to the ER once for a gallbladder attack, an issue which I'll need to get handled sooner or later but it's been okay now with my low fat diet. The hospital is across the street and I'm not sure it's ever had more than one COVID patient. It's a small town.

My friends are all over the map. I have some that still go indoor dining, though most places around here will only do takeout. I have some friends who have traveled, though most have not. I have some friends who are in a bubble with each other and have done things like watch the Superbowl together at one of their houses, that's a little more than I'm comfortable with. We had some "OK now that jessamyn is going home from the driveway party we can all go inside!" weirdness, but I'm okay with my choices. I did a lot of driveway hangs when weather was better.

The one tough exception has been not having my boyfriend in MA visiting (we've gone on some day hikes together but not since it's gotten really snowy). He can't quarantine since he has a son with mental health issues who is fine but not quarantineable. Vermont rules say I can't go there and come back without quaranting or testing. That was going to be the plan, but dental/health issues have made me sort of a pill over the last few months, so I'd be somewhat concerned it would be kind of a weird/bad reunion. Our relationship has really gotten to kind of a great/stable place otherwise, lots of time talking and finding ways to connect and I kind of treasure it, but like the comment box says, I could use a hug, from him specifically.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:03 PM on February 21, 2021 [13 favorites]

I get grocery delivery most of the time, but go out myself every 2-3 weeks to go into one or maybe two stores to get stuff delivery isn't good at, or to go to the hardware store. I'm about to go pick up a curbside order from JoAnn for fabric for some projects.

My husband is on immunosuppressants. He has been nowhere but the occasional drive-thru or curbside pickup, and then every two weeks to the dentist and endodontist since Thanksgiving for some unexpected and unavoidable work.

Last week I drove to a friend's house to pick up a painting I bought from her. Except for her handing me the painting we stayed 6' apart and masked and only talked for 10 minutes in her front yard. She's the only non-stranger I've seen in person in a year. Pretty much my entire social circle are rule-loving nerds so there's been no pressure or interest in gathering in person.

Once friends start getting vaccinated I think we will feel comfortable having outdoor-only still-distancey movie, game, or picnic events. I think it will be a long time before most of us are comfortable in any kind of crowd or indoor space.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:19 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I go mostly nowhere: a once-in-a-blue-moon bike ride to the shops, and occasionally an “I’ve-got-to-get-out-of-the-apartment!” ride-along somewhere for an errand. I feel okay being both indoors and outdoors as long as I’m far away from other people, but I’m definitely a bit concerned that this shut-in lifestyle is really warping my sense of what it means to go places or do things.

I can’t imagine getting on a train or a subway car anymore -power to those who use them, be safe!- and since that was a regular part of my pre-pandemic commute the shift back -when it comes- is surely going to bow my mind.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Went to the dentist last week for a scary thing that turned out to not actually be scary. They make everyone swish this heinous cocktail of listerine and hydrogen peroxide and then we can de-mask for the rest of the appointment. It felt extraordinarily bizarre to be in a room with three masked up people prodding at my open mouth. Like, normally, the dentist is a series of awkwardness and discomfort, but this was like... I felt like I’d gone to the dentist and in order for them to accomplish what was needed I then had to spit on everyone. It felt so rude, and the rudeness was taken out of my hands! They needed me to do it! I’ll be back in May, hopefully by then vaccinations will have sufficiently progressed in my area.
posted by Mizu at 12:34 PM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I go for walks with friends in parks once in a while. mask compliance is good and people generally make space for groups to pass safely. distanced hellos and necessary refusals of friendly overtures by others dogs. getting out in nature has been a boon for the mental health thing. of course I am very lucky to be in the Bay Area where even the worst winter weather is tolerable to be out in.
posted by supermedusa at 12:55 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I feel comfortable going to the grocery store. I'm masked and keep my distance from people, and I haven't seen any data saying that grocery stores have been major spreaders.

I feel comfortable taking the kids to the zoo and wearing a mask the whole time but it helps that it’s cold out so very few people are going. I doubt I would feel as good about it with a summertime crowd even though it’s outdoors and masked.

I feel comfortable getting haircuts with my mask on since my barber is a reliable masker. I feel comfortable going to the dentist because they have always had to worry about airborne infections so they are well-equipped to prevent the spread of coronavirus. I feel comfortable going hiking and canoeing when the weather is warm enough because it's easy to stay far away from other people.

I don’t feel comfortable with indoor dining but I have done it once, the day of my second vaccine dose. Just me and a friend I haven’t seen in 18 months. The place we went has erected extra partitions and seems to be taking safety seriously though obviously there’s only so much you can do when people have their masks off and are talking.

I don't feel totally comfortable with this but my kids have been in daycare since July. It’s been really good for them. The daycare staff seem to be taking it seriously. They alert us whenever a child or a child's close contact is positive (both are surprisingly rare) and tell us if it was in one of our kids' room's. On Christmas Eve we got a call from them letting us know we'd have to quarantine because a teacher in one of their rooms was positive. Fortunately masks work and no one in the room caught it from that teacher.

I feel like I risk judgment by posting this, but: we've been trying to balance the mental health of some nearby older relatives with our duty to not contribute to the spread of coronavirus, so we've actually had 4 other households in our bubble (3 are single-person households). We don't see any of them frequently but we total 2-4 visits per month split between them. To our knowledge all of them have been careful but none have followed guidelines perfectly (obviously neither have we since that’s a larger-than-recommended bubble of 11 people including us). It's been a balancing act for everyone. I go back and forth on "it's been fine" vs feeling guilty because we aren't being as careful as others. And sure enough, 2 people in that group (they live alone so 2 households) got it but fortunately they had mild cases and when they found out they were exposed they took it seriously so once they came down with it they were already quarantined and didn't spread it to anyone.

Like most people we are starting to wonder when we can expand our activities further. When we are vaccinated can we expand our bubble to everyone we know who is also vaccinated? Right now the message seems to be no but hopefully as the vaccines roll out we will get better guidance on doing more things, but safely. If we get vaccinated and cases continue to plummet can we start taking the kids to masked activities like children’s museums? We are watching the data and the recommendations closely.
posted by PCup at 1:17 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Walking was always my thing, I'm lucky where I live currently that there's a ton of trails not far from my house. But winter weather kills the urge for me to go outside at all, and its relatively easy winter-wise here compared to the rest of the country (Canada) and even the states this year.

I'm lucky to be WFH, and my employer has already said we wont be going back until at least September. Every 3 months they adjust that guidance, so who knows what March will bring.

I made the venture to 2! Costcos yesterday and gave up after the second. The line up to get in was ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. It felt like early pandemic toilet-paper hoarding time again, it was that long. Not sure why, except Saturday afternoon.

As a wearer of adult orthodontics and I have to get them adjusted every 6 weeks, and that's my riskiest thing I've been doing. The ortho office is doing everything right, but over the year I've definitely seem them become slightly less obsessive. In other news I haven't even gotten my hair cut in a year, and just chopped off 3 inches myself out of desperation. And then bought a new hat.

So basically other than the weekly runs to get stuff I cant get reasonably delivered and the orthodontist, I dont leave my house much. If the weather was better I'd be ok taking the campervan out and camping (i can easily avoid people that way!) but... winter. I cannot wait for spring.

I have not sat down in a restaurant in about a year, and I miss it dearly. So much take out. My uber eats + skipthedishes charges are embarrassingly high.

At least we seem to pretty good about masks here. The few times i've seen people try and not-mask the general feeling of the other people around was disgust and that they were the outcasts, not us.
posted by cgg at 1:28 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I go grocery shopping at 730 AM on Wed or Thursdays and have yet to see more than 5 other customers in the store with me, so that has always felt safe. I am double masking lately though. I don't mind stepping into restaurants for a few minutes to pick up takeout, but we have not eaten at a restaurant since it all started about this time last year. We've upped our kitchen game greatly in the past year and I don't see us returning to regular restaurant patronage as we don't really miss it.

Camping was our primary outlet over summer / fall as we camped about 30 nights. However, the camper is in winter storage, so that is out for now. We walked a lot when the weather was nice too, and now I feel bad about not continuing to walk regularly as I can't really claim weather as an excuse when Jessamyn is walking around Vermont.

My wife (who is high risk) got her second shot last week so for the first time in a year I can stop worrying about passing the virus to her. I'm really hopeful that outside events at least can return in a somewhat normal fashion this summer.
posted by COD at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've mostly gotten over the anxiety of going to stores. I don't go to browse, of course, but if I have to go to Home Depot or the grocery store or a pet store I just put my mask on and go and don't worry about it. People are pretty good about it here, the worst I usually see is someone with their mask below their nose.

I'm fully vaccinated as of a week ago, and in another couple of weeks the antibodies should all be doing their thing inside of me. Still, I know I have to continue to be careful mostly because my family is not vaccinated. It's troubling me the number of people I know who are getting vaccinated and then have the attitude that they're good to party or do whatever they want. I think the whole social distancing/mask thing is going to break down in a month or two once more people get the shot. The ol "I got mine" American attitude.

My wife and I will go for walks and not wear masks unless we see someone approaching, then its masks up for a minute or two until we're well past them. We're going to go stay at an AirBnB down the Cape this weekend and find some empty beaches to walk on. We've done AirBnBs a few times during this whole thing, thinking we can isolate just as well there as here.

I've eaten inside a restaurant exactly once since this whole thing started last March, and that was way up in Lubec, Maine, at a time when they really hadn't seen any cases and there was literally nowhere else to eat because most things were shut down. It's not a very touristy part of the state anyway even during non-pandemic times.

I was on a virtual MeFi meetup today, which was fun, but there's always something kind of sad about Zoom meetings. I look forward to real meetups.
posted by bondcliff at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm currently not going in grocery stores; I've been doing grocery pickup since before Thanksgiving. Which of course comes with an entire list of downsides. In the even that I don't get the thing I needed, I'll go to the co-op, but I try to go early in the morning. I'm definitely an earlier riser than most of my college town, so before 8am, there's usually about 2 people at the co-op besides the employees.

I also haven't eaten in a restaurant; around here it's basically like there's no pandemic. The handful of places I've picked up from that were open for in-person dining were very popular. It felt absolutely crazymaking; I'm standing there waiting for a pizza wearing a mask, and there's 50+ people just sitting around, eating, chatting, spitting all over each other. Gross. So I've mostly decided to not patronize places that are choosing to have in-person dining. There's a handful of great places that are still pickup-only, and they seem to be surviving.

I did go to the Dentist at one point; I'm cutting that back from every 6 months to yearly. So I'll need to go again before long. Apparently they're all fully vaccinated at this point, and their precautions have been good. I cut my own hair, so I basically haven't been to a barber in 20 years.

Outside is truly the best: after two weeks without breaking 25 or so degrees, it's going to be in the high 50's and low 60's this week. Which means the possibility of seeing friends to visit the dog park, go on bike rides, or having pizza and beer around the campfire. All of which I'm comfortable with - mostly because I'm comfortable with the habits of my similarly hermit-like friends.

I'm considering volunteering at the county vaccine distribution center. Not because it'll get me vaccinated earlier (they're saying quite strongly that it won't), but because I don't work all that much, and it'll be nice to help. Outside only, of course.

My county is currently at about 17 daily cases/100K people, which puts it in about the same place as it was in October - the trough between the two peaks of college kids returning to town, and Thanksgiving/Christmas. I'm guessing that if/when it dips below 10/100K, I'll go back in the grocery store. I do prefer to do my own shopping, and this sounds really stupid, but - they have a really great discount shelf that I've been sorely missing.

Oh, and I double-masked this morning for the first time - our shower was broken and I needed to finish fixing it. So I wore a cheap disposable under one of the many 3-D Masks that my partner has sewn since last March. It was barely any different from wearing just a 3-D mask, but it's still crisp. I'm not sure I'd love it during the summer.
posted by god hates math at 2:01 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm volunteering with campus pool testing, which does put me pretty close to people, but everyone is being good about masks & suchlike. I don't go into restaurants, but I do my own grocery shopping every two weeks and take care of various other errands once a week or so. My first vaccine shot is in April, which means that I will eventually get to see my parents at some point.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:38 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I go out twice a week, on Tuesdays to pick up bread, cake, fish, other essentials, on Saturdays to pick up bread, cake, meat, other essentials. I try to walk 2 miles or so a couple of times a week, and would go for a longer walk or cycle ride with my SO on a Sunday or maybe Saturday, but the weather has been appalling since the first week of January. It has pissed down for the each of every weekend here. Other that that then the options are limited. Two colleagues are going into work and I could but its the definition of unnecessary for me, they only do so as they have nowhere to work at home. They get a rapid results test on arrival at work and must be negative or its back home for ten day isolation.

The trips into town are very quiet, even on a Saturday morning, and getting quieter (the rain isn't helping). Everyone wears a mask indoors of shops, rarely outside. It is largely easy to stay 2m from everyone else here, but its a fairly small town

I'm in the UK so any elderly people I know have had the first vaccination at least.

What I found most shocking about the Ted Cruz thing this week was that Americans can just get on a plane and go for a holiday, to another country. No one I know is even talking about going on holiday in June, never mind now.

I am fucking astonished that the Prime Minster things that maybe all schoolchildren can go back to school two weeks tomorrow. The rate near my dad's, and near my in-laws is still 200 per 100,000, while while lower than it has been since Xmas, would seem to represent pretty good grounds for another run at a peak, while there is still chance.

The other thing the last year has brought us is that the Prime Minster, the Health Secretary and various other senior personnel have behaved unlawfully and appear to be able to do so without repercussion now.
posted by biffa at 2:52 PM on February 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

About the only place we don't go is inside restaurants, of which there are several now open for indoor dining. We'll pick up to-go orders, and most of those are left on a table outside. Last week, I had to go inside to pick up our order off the bar. There were two two-tops full and the rest of the place was empty. It made me really miss dining out. I really wanted to post up at the bar for a drink while I was waiting, too. (I showed up on time, but our order took longer than expected.)

Otherwise, I've been to the dentist regularly. Grocery stores, hardware stores, drug stores. Mask compliance hasn't been great at the hardware store, but there's self-checkout so I'm never in there for long.

My wife still goes into the office about once a week, but her office is on a medical campus and she's received both of her injections. My employer recently decided to extend our working from home situation through Labor Day at the earliest. I can't imagine being comfortable going back to work on site until after everyone is vaccinated, so I feel fortunate to have an employer that was able to transition so easily to full-time remote work.

We're getting out of town for a long weekend soon, renting a cabin in the mountains.
posted by emelenjr at 3:20 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I grocery shop every 2 - 4 weeks. I don't use dairy, so I wait until I have to have vegetables, eggs, or something. I've gone to hardware stores and run a few other errands. I walk the dog, sometimes walk with a friend. Had to have someone come in to clean the furnace, went to the doctor before the holiday spike, and will have to take the Prius in because there's an error message. My wood stove is in bad shape, so I'm working on a replacement, which may entail briefly being around some masked people. I'm pretty sick of my house. But it's warm, I have electricity, water, food, etc., so after seeing the horror show in Texas, it's a pretty good house.

I got a part-time phone job for a retailer, and the best benefit is talking to people. It's quite clear that 10-20% of people *really* need to talk about Covid, isolation, the news. I'm an extrovert, but surprisingly good at being a hermit. I have a weird numbness about it right now. The Inauguration made me feel so much better in general, and I'm old enough that I should get the vax by March or so, and I'm holding on.

Mind if I add to the question? How will we know it's done? What will be the sign that we can celebrate? How will be honor the missing?
posted by theora55 at 3:55 PM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Honestly my life isn’t that different other than not going out to eat and not visiting friends. I’m an introvert and was pretty content to stay home a lot Before. My healthcare job can’t be done remotely without sacrificing quality of patient care, so I’m still at work full time. I still go to the grocery store, target, Costco - but less often. I walk the dogs in the neighborhood and rarely see another person. In the summer I went to the farmers market.
posted by obfuscation at 3:56 PM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have a weird numbness about it right now.

Yeah, I've got a portion of that also.
posted by biffa at 4:18 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I work from home. I take the dog on neighborhood walks twice a day. I go to the grocery store and on other errands as needed. Pretty much everyone wears masks around here. I have cloth masks for general use and KN95s for things like getting a hair cut. I see friends around my fire pit or at the dog park. Indoor dining is a no. I've eaten outdoors a few times and probably will again as soon as the temperatures warm up and the ice melts. I'm happy to live somewhere with an earlier spring.

We've taken a few weekend trips to cabins, and probably will again soon. It's nice to have a change of scenery even if it's just more dog walks, working from home, and getting takeout in a different location. In a month I'll be taking my first airplane trip in over a year. It's for something time sensitive but not exactly "essential." I'm still working through how I feel about doing it.

My boyfriend is fully vaccinated, but my turn probably won't come up until April or May at the earliest.
posted by fancypants at 4:24 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am fully vaccinated, but I still wear a mask to go indoors. I ask older people to vaccinate, I point out the death toll, in our county is 12 in a bad flu year, it is hundreds this year. I feel much better now that I am protected. My family here, except for the 13 year old, had covid in the last month. I think having had the first shot helped me resist it, as I had a direct contact, before they knew it wasn't a just little cold they had. I live a fairly isolated life anyway, it won't make much difference, except I won't end up dying from grocery shopping, or eating a salad someone coughed on in the field. That they had to work even while sick, does not escape me.
posted by Oyéah at 4:37 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I live by myself. I work in a public library so I encounter a fair amount of people who don’t wear masks properly and who stay at the library for hours. So—I feel like working there is the riskiest I want to be.

In the last year I’ve been to two dr appts and two dental appts. I have a mammogram appt this week. I was still going to the grocery but I started curbside pickup at the beginning November. If I order out, I do drive-through. My pharmacy has a drive-through. I haven’t gotten a haircut in a year. I bought shoes at a shoe store at some point this summer, but other than that I buy everything online. No one besides me has been inside my house in a year.

I have no idea when I’ll be able to get vaccinated. My county straight up says on their website that they can’t meet the demand.

I don’t see myself easing up on any of this in the near future. Honestly, if I didn’t have my lovely cat I don’t know how I would be getting through this.
posted by bookmammal at 4:50 PM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

We walk the dogs and I still work in person - in a lab setting, excellent mask compliance, no transmission in our building since we started going back in June. And we also go skiing. Or we did, until Friday, when my spouse banged his head up while wearing a helmet during a fall on some ice and got a moderate concussion, complete with total short term memory loss that resolved within a few hours, leaving him with a big memory hole around the accident and some fatigue, but no other symptoms so far. So now we're back home taking it easy and watching carefully and feeling very, very lucky his follow-up Dr visits don't seem like they're going to be the months of rehab route.
posted by deludingmyself at 4:50 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Until October, my life hadn't changed all that much. I go to the grocery store about once every 10 days, Costco once a month for dog food, occasionally but rarely somewhere like the hardware store. I am always masked. Usually everyone else is as well but there are always people with them under their noses, etc, holding them away from their faces to talk. I give them the side eye, hold my breath and move on quickly. I walk the dogs regularly and I'm lucky enough to live where there is a lot of space and blessedly mostly deserted beaches and woods. I had a few doctor's appointments. I even had surgery in June to get my gallbladder out (Jessamyn, AMA!) and I'm going in to have a colonoscopy in March. I went out to a friends' socially distanced porch for a drink a couple times in the summer and had a drink outside at a bar a couple times with another friend. That felt odd but okay. I had a couple visitors over the summer and that was also scary but I knew they were also hermits and all turned out okay. We mostly stayed outside. We masked up a lot. My son flew home in December and that was worrisome but again, we were lucky and nobody got sick. Outside feels safe to me for the most part. Inside, not so much.

The biggest change for me has been that at the end of October I got a new job and my boss wants me in the office all the time. We have compromised on 3 days a week in the office and 2 days at home and I don't like it, but there is nothing much I can do. I am administrative staff at the local community college and even though we are doing almost all remote classes and the cafe is shut down, etc., there are still always students coming and going, not to mention staff. It makes me uncomfortable as hell when there are 9 people in the office - I'm the secretary, I'm out in the middle and I have no protection other than a mask - and state guidelines say there should never be more than 6. I have complained but it doesn't really get me anywhere. I am also the backup person for the welcome center, which is where everyone comes to ask questions, pay their bills, change classes and so on, and thus occasionally I am genuinely a front line worker as well as being a de facto one. At least there I have a plexiglass shield and a box fan, to, I was told, blow the covid away. I'm always a little afraid, nowadays, and I don't like it much. It makes me much more reluctant to go to the store, or indeed anywhere, in case I'm carrying it without my knowledge. But I need to be able to almost pay my bills, right? Sorry, I am sorta bitter. But, we are a rural county and although we were up with Portland in the extreme risk category through late December and January, we've been moved back to high risk only, and so far, I have been okay. I hope it stays that way. Higher ed is not considered a priority category for the vaccine in Oregon and although I am getting older, I am not quite old enough to get priority that way either. I don't know when I will get vaccinated but I really hope it's soon.

Here's an announcement: in July my daughter is expecting her first child, my first grandchild. HUZZAH! Something - someone! - good has come from 2020! I am going to North Carolina to be with her during and for a few weeks after the birth even if I have to wear a full hazmat suit for three solid weeks but oh, I so so hope that instead I will be vaccinated by then.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:54 PM on February 21, 2021 [10 favorites]

My wife is high risk, and I probably am too, but it's not written anywhere. We're really not going much of anywhere. Was a regular walker until the holidays hit and the temperature dropped below freezing everyday. Mask compliance around my neighborhood is spotty but okay. It's easy to cross the street or walk in the road if you encounter the maskless. Been lucky to be able get perishable groceries mostly from Imperfect Produce (which is amazing and highly recommend if you're able), and get delivery/shipments of other things either from the grocery store or from the other big retailers. The only thing we can't avoid is the post office, so we've been double-masking when we go, but also leaving and trying again later if there's a line. We're lucky to live in a city where things are convenient to be delivered. I was out of work for most of last year, but now back at it remotely, whereas my wife has been remote the entire time, so we're just here, both spending 24/7 in a small house both clicking away on our keyboards and Zoom calls. My wife gets the jab in March, but I'm probably at the end of the line, so we're in this until summer, likely.
posted by General Malaise at 4:56 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm in Chile, it's summer, we're at the beach, Tongoy, a 5 hour drive from Santiago, where we rented a house for 1 week. We're off the main drag, and have gone into town few times to buy food. Some friends are staying at a house with its own beach (actually, a waterfront terrace with sand), we had lunch with them on Friday. We'll probably do something with them tomorrow as well.
People here in Tongoy are generally super cautious, lots of masks and the stores have plastic up everywhere to protect the employees and in some cases you're not actually allowed in the shops at all, but ask for stuff from the sidewalk.
We're coming down off our 2nd peak (we're 6 months behind the northern world), and people are talking about the 3rd one later in the year, but we've already vaccinated 15% of the population, and are cautiously optimistic that things might calm down sometime in the next months.
My son goes back to school March 1, it's gonna be 2 half-days a week, split into groups. The good news is his best friend, who's one year behind him, is going to be on his same schedule, so they'll get to hang out. Also, the school relaxed its uniform requirements.
My agency is doing well, thanks be to the god that doesn't exist but is always with you, but I'm exhausted, needed this vacation. The university I teach at starts up again in mid March, but we're going to continue online classes for the foreseeable future.
We barbecued today.
It's gonna be a strange year.
posted by signal at 6:23 PM on February 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

I’m in Pasadena. I recently went into Trader Joe’s for the first time since November - we’ve been doing pickup and have had zero social contact* since Nov 2. That said, my asterisk* is that we do see my parents, nearly every other day-ish, as they often watch our daughter while we work/get things done. They are also only doing grocery pickup, rarely going in anywhere.

I’m hoping to have a friend outdoor meetup on Tuesday with my daughter - masked for us adults, but the babies (13 & 16 months) won’t mask.
posted by samthemander at 7:53 PM on February 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have to go into the office 5 days a week, as does everyone else. We have a lot of face-to-face meetings, including a daily 45 minute meeting first thing every single morning. My boss refuses to wear a mask, and of course middle management follows her lead. None of this makes any sense to me, because our work is all done on computers. But I've spoken to the boss about it, and at this point my options are basically to do this or quit, so I've chosen to do this.

Since everything is closed, I also have to eat lunch in my shared office, as do my coworkers. So we spend quite a bit of time unmasked inside together every day, eating and drinking. This is in a high rise office building, so it's a shared HVAC system and none of the windows open.

I live in a high rise, too, in a very dense neighborhood, with a dog that needs at least 3 hours of exercise a day. So I am up and down in the elevator and around many neighbors every single day. Since I have to go to the office every day, my parents dog sit two days a week (we try to do "contactless" drop offs/pickups, all masked), and a dog walker comes into my apartment the other three days a week.

I haven't seen any of my friends except over Zoom, but I did begin dating my boyfriend during the summer. He and I spend weekends together (unmasked). It was a big step for us to be inside together, and then to be unmasked inside together, but I'm so glad we took those steps.

He also has to go in to work daily, and has a roommate and his sister sometimes comes to stay with him. We agreed to only socialize outside otherwise, but who can socialize outside in this weather? So we can't really socialize.

I very, very rarely go to the store. I have been to the grocery store twice and the pet store once since the pandemic began. My boyfriend goes to the store normally, but I just get everything delivered. I'm serious about minimizing my exposure other than work and my boyfriend and taking my dog out, because I feel like that's already a LOT of exposure.

I am very bitter about not being able to take the precautions that I want to and that all my friends are able to take. I don't want to go to the office, I don't want my boyfriend to have to go to the office, and I don't want dog walks to be a minefield.

My parents haven't been able to get a vaccine appointment, and it sucks. I don't know when I'll be able to, either.
posted by rue72 at 8:08 PM on February 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

It's gonna be a strange year.

True that.

It has been very edifying to read this thread.

Myself, I have had both shots. By habit, if there is food in the house, I will eat it so I go to QFC daily at 6 AM when it opens, buy a few things and go home. I wear two masks when I do.

Because the Arctic Surge has brought an incursion of salmonella infected Pine Siskins, I must disinfect and clean the hummingbird feeders every morning, fill them with syrup I've boiled and cooled and bring one out in alteration by the dawn's early light. Where our Anna's hummingbird awaits, clicking impatiently.

I go for long walks now and then, stay holed up the rest of the time. On walks, a crownado swirls around me down the street while I dispense unsalted peanuts, soft dog treats and the occasional cheese cube to their caws and rattles.

And when I am out, I talk -- masked and at a proper distance -- to friendly strangers walking their very friendly dogs. Who smell the cheese on my fingers. I've met the sweetest dogs: an Australian shepherd doodle, a 3 month old St. Bernard nearly four feet at the shoulder, Rocky and Baldur -- the sweetest pair of black Labs and, at the complex, another lab: a yellow puppy named Eames after the famous designer, six weeks old, barely more than a handful and très cute. So life has its moments.

I expect things will be like this all year if not forever. It's a brand new world. Be well all of you.
posted by y2karl at 8:15 PM on February 21, 2021 [6 favorites]

PNW. Hiking. All. The. Time. Borderline believing panpsychism is not just a phrase adored for it's aesthetic qualities.

The weather is not discouraging, even when it downs power lines for several days or turns thoroughfares into unnavigable, flattened sheets of ice. I slipped a car into a ditch and hiked away with snowshoes for about two hours. It was weirdly very pretty. (everything is okay)

It would be super, super nice to have a vibrant social life and a partner right now. Even if so, I'm not sure what it'd be like (still uncertain if this seems easier to manage as a pair, as opposed to independently). In late 2020, a man in a cafe stared in my eyes and flatly said, "2022 will be a new world," with an unsettling, but friendly confidence.

He's probably right.
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:34 PM on February 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

In Brisbane, Australia. I dislike going to shopping centres or the Queen Street Mall in the CBD at the very best of times but throughout this whole state of affairs have felt quite safe. On public transport I get more irritated than usual by people sniffling and snorting but, again, haven't felt unsafe, exactly.

Went to a two-day conference at the Exhibition Centre last week that had, I guess, a thousand or so people at it. Felt safe. Went out on the weekend to a couple bars. Felt safe.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young has done a spectacular job and ought to get a medal for her efforts, and the efforts of her team and, frankly, the State Government in general (says the guy who works for it).
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:39 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

UK Mefite here. I've worked through it all since it "started" in Blighty, read (non-US) Mothers' Day weekend last March. My sister didn't know whether to come see me and Mum because of mixed messages from "silly Boris". The first couple of months my part-time job went suddenly, inexplicably full-time, since my employers and their working family didn't want to risk exposing themselves to a new, unknown pandemic without even masks or hand sanitiser or hot water or information. Oh, how I coined it in through those merry days! Such riches!

Come the summertime once the Sunak came out my extra shifts precipitously fell away proportionate to their perceived risk. My government told me I was lazy for staying at home on 80% of my wages and who could argue such a thing? My one regret overall is that I let my country down by failing to Eat Out To Help Out since I couldn't afford it monetarily pre- nor mid-pandemic and wasn't about to risk my loved ones health in any regard. I'll wear the white feather for my failings there and shed a tear for sake of shame.

When the cases began to increase and later the lockdowns too I remained a faithful servant. I'm laying this on too thick. I'm not pretending I had it harder than others, just setting out that my difficulties were different. I was lucky in so many ways. I worked. I could go out. I could talk to people. I could give and receive. Speech, spittle, spite.

I found it hard in the middle months to go into a supermarket. I spent money in mine and other small shops for preference, because I felt a little safer, even if it cost a little more and ranged a lot less.

Something happened to my Mum in December 2019 probably a mini-stroke and I spent all of 2020 at my wit's end trying to look after her while still doing enough hours at work to be able to pay my way, satisfy the Department for Works And Pensions and keep us both safe from the new coronavirus. Her memory which had been getting gradually worse suddenly became cruel. She thought she worked here in our home and I was her boss, she thought I was her brother who looked after her, she knew I was her son and thought I had bought us a new house or she thought she had to go home but she didn't know where to. I had to escape from work in the height of panic to retrieve her so many times. I rang and texted her and she rang and texted me constantly, but it wasn't enough to keep her safe.

I called an ambulance in October because I thought she was having a stroke. She spent a few days in hospital, finally got her medication sorted out and we started to get the help we needed.

I called an ambulance in December because she'd fallen and couldn't get up. So she'd spend a few days in hospital, I'd quit my worthless job to look after her and she was stable overnight and doing very well and about 11am the next day I got a call to say she couldn't be resuscitated.

In 2019, I went to work, to the corner shop and to Tesco. I saw my friends every few months.
In 2020, I went to work, to the corner shop and to Tesco. I saw my friends every few months.
In 2021, I go to work, to the corner shop and to Tesco. I see my friends every few months.

It was her heart and not Covid-19 so at least I didn't kill her. It's all the same and it all means less anyhow. I sanitise my hands and wear a mask and it doesn't mean anything because I haven't got anyone to protect. I don't know what to do.

People wear masks if they can be bothered, pull their t-shirt up if they forget, stand too close because they want dibs on whatever you've spotted going cheap in Beggar's Corner at the supermarket, cough as they hand you their money/coupon/scratchcard. For every person who follows the rules assiduously there's another who breaks every single one.

Stay safe, stay away from the people you love and don't do more than hope that that will protect you from losing them
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:03 PM on February 21, 2021 [8 favorites]

Since about October, I live my life. I wear a mask and do everything I did before except my gf and I do not go out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday night. With one exception that I could not avoid, I have not eaten in a restaurant since March 11, 2020. That was also the last day I was outside in NYC. (Went to a concert at MSG the day before the city was shut down.) I am in at least one store daily be it the grocery or pharmacy or big box home improvement store or the local shops. I wear my mask/gaiter, wash my hands often, have sanitizer gel with me, and avoid crowds defined as more than 2 of 3 people standing around. I have a group of about 12 friends that watch football (American) every Sunday. This year, we stopped for a few weeks right after Thanksgiving and right after Christmas but other wise there were 5 of us (other 7 opted out) regularly watching 8 screens of football. Up until around the Super Bowl, we were able to watch outside most weeks too for those who wanted. I watched the first half of the Super Bowl outside. It is like tailgating. Lots of food, drink and football.

What I find interesting in the grocery store, particularly the Whole Foods, is who is in the stores. Very few individual customers like me. There are the parents with the kids in tow, but I would say at least 50% of the people walking the aisles with a cart are delivery types. Professional shoppers. You can see them checking their phone or device, trying to figure out a substitute, hurrying to the next item, etc. In the more down scale stores like Shoprite, it is almost 90% regular customers and 10% pickers. I guess the wealthier among us can pay someone else to take risk for them if they want. Sort of like paying someone else to serve in the military for you I suppose.

My gf used to travel regularly for work from JFK to LAX. She stopped for a while at the beginning of the pandemic, but has flown 3 times cross country. First time, she was one of six customers on the flight. She felt safer in the plane than in the cab ride from the airport to the hotel. The one kind of travel we wanted to do but canceled was visiting her parents. We were unwilling to fly and then go stay with her aging parents. We did not want to risk exposing them.

That is, to me, the worst part of this whole epidemic. The people who cannot visit family or have family visit, the people who had to die alone in a hospital without visitors, the people who rely on others for all sorts of things that were left high and dry. Second to that is the people who are forced to take risk and go to work. The food service people, the essential workers of all types, who could not afford to not work or whose work could not be done remotely. Add to that the parents who had to either quit jobs or materially change their lives because the schools are not open for some reason. The politicians say it is about the science, but the only science I can figure out why schools are still closed is political science. A lost generation of learners. Transmission in schools that are open is lower than the rate in the population as a whole.

I am in NY and am now eligible for the vax, but getting an appointment is a bitch. I figure it will lighten up in a few weeks anyway when the supply returns. I have never gotten a flu shot, but after long discussions with my cardiologist, I am going to get stabbed. My kids who live out of state or in state away from me, have all had it or have tested positive for the antibodies. One, in the military, has gotten vaccinated. When they visit, I ask them to get tested before they come and when they arrive.

I understand risks and probabilities. I am a trader. If you/I take reasonable precautions such as wearing a mask, washing hands and avoiding being in closed spaces for long periods of time with random people, the likelihood of getting it is small. Not zero, but small. My only concern is being an asymptomatic spreader. As a member of the community, I owe it to my fellow members to consider their health too. So, I get tested regularly. Like previously, if I do not feel well, I stay home. I would have to be infected to infect others. I wear a mask and follow whatever protocols are asked of me when I am in a store or wherever the government says I must do what they tell me. But I do go out and do shop.

What I have found very interesting, is the increased significantly level of people doing things outdoors in the winter that they normally would not such as eating. I had a cabin/camp in the Adirondacks when the outside temperature would be -5F. Add in windchill and it is pretty cold. I regularly drove my truck on the lake. So, I was used to being outside. Eating a sandwich in below freezing weather is just normal in certain parts of the country/world. To see suburban moms with 3 screaming kids get out of the large SUV and get a slice of pizza and sit outside to eat it is a surprise. A pleasant surprise. It is good to see people learning to dress in layers and be outside in below freezing weather. I see a lot of older and younger people walking, playing and living outside. Normally around here, in February, Seeing anyone outside except to run from the car to the store was rare.
posted by AugustWest at 12:04 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

NZ update here, far south tho' so very low population density and a small pop. 500ish settlement.

We're finally getting some summer (day trip to Fortrose yesterday - perfect, and wild flowers (Kniphofia) are at their early fall best), and a highlight! we found some native Gentians. It's been the coldest summer on record so far, should be near constant 22-28°C but it's been troughing down to anywhere from -1 to 5 to 9 and then spiking to 27 for three days and then crashing again.

I used to do a lot of local sales trips to build my network but it seems the network is becoming (more) self-sustaining and jobs come in of their own volition, which is good as many, many people abandoned their city offices before lockdown and have not returned, many town centres are quiet. I do miss the people side of sales tho' as that was pretty much the extent of a social existence (I don't tend to maintain social links, but its a lot easier (even fun) when they're horticulture / business).

Even tho' it's months since end of our Level 4 lockdown (which was more like Wuhan), (some) people still seem wary of strangers. But too many are completely blasé and simply ignore the app scan in outside all businesses. Many businesses not displaying them properly either.

Auckland is currently in a lockdown lite (due to a small community cluster) - but there is a closed border and other restrictions.

I used to give lifts to a lot of hitchhikers but not now since last March - I wouldn't do it now as you don't know anyone's history and that matters now. There's 0 tourists anyway - apart from kiwis on the road - none of us miss tourists (unless your work was in tourism); it was getting pretty crazy with ~2.5million arrivals a year strictly for tourism, much of it bus packages and van-lifers - what we need are long-term cyclists and walkers, they spend more time (and more money) but the benefits go to the little people rather than BIG tourism which is purely corporate.

Flying is a horrible business now with masking and separation, no easy ability to chat etc so I won't be clamouring for that.

Vaccination has started but won't get to us till later in the year.
posted by unearthed at 2:00 AM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm in Scotland, where the restrictions have thankfully been more rational and consistent than those in England, and luckily I'm able to work from home full time.

I don't drive, so apart from occasionally hiring an ebike to explore the local forest, I haven't left the city since September (a day trip to Edinburgh in between waves, on almost-empty, mask-enforced trains), which was also the last time I was indoors with another human (we sat in at a restaurant for dinner, slightly against my better judgement). Had a few unmasked, not-entirely-socially-distanced outdoor pizza meetups with friends, but those dropped off with the onset of winter and after a few Covid scares in people's bubbles I'm not up for that again.

So I sit at home, get my groceries delivered, occasionally do a quick food shop at a local place where masking is strictly enforced (without apparent complaint) and numbers controlled, and get very bored of the mile-there-and-back walk along the waterfront. And that's been my life for nearly a year now. No pets, no bubble, just my own, increasingly tedious, company :(
posted by aihal at 2:01 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

Regional Australia here. It's been interesting to see the insularity - "why not just lock down capital city" and when we had a case here "city people must have come up here!!" ignoring the fact that we live on the major route between two capital cities. We aren't a bubble.

I have a kiddo- I feel like when we go out and see people, she gets sick, and then we have to do the "is it Covid" rigamarole (it isn't) and then still quarantine because she's symptomatic. I mean, she doesn't get sick every time, but if there is something I want/need to do coming up, I'm definitely weighing up what we do leading up to that so I can do it.

This last cold was 3 weeks of runny nose (after first week of absolute miserableness.) It sucks to be locked down when no one else is. The last "snap lockdown circuit breaker" was actually a relief- it was so nice not to have to weigh up whether to go places- we just didn't go. And then nap schedule has changed, so I haven't gone out as many places.

We went to the supermarket and Bunnings yesterday (childproofing) with babyfeet in tow- she loved it! I feel bad sometimes that she is missing out on enriching experiences.

We go walking quite a bit. I miss going to PT.

I got a non-Covid vaccine today and it was nice talking excitedly about the Covid Vax with the nurse.
posted by freethefeet at 2:51 AM on February 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just saw this tweet that the Blavatnik centre at Oxford is saying the UK now has the toughest lockdown in the current round. Yay us I guess.
posted by biffa at 3:47 AM on February 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Until I had to quit last week due to developing an allergy to something at my workplace, I went to a big warehouse every weekday of the pandemic, to spend time in close proximity to around 100 others in an unventilated space, doing the "essential work" of shipping expensive luxury lingerie to people. During that time I have not been able to see any of my family (in Denmark) despite having bought tickets twice. I haven't seen a friend in person since last year, when I waved at one of them as I dropped off their Christmas presents.

And now schools are about to reopen, all at once, for all age groups. And maybe we'll be allowed to meet up with others, at a distance, outside, but only one-on-one. Unless you're a kid or teacher, in which case just fucking pack them into their little classrooms.

This country has some bullshit priorities.
posted by Dysk at 4:12 AM on February 22, 2021 [9 favorites]

(Also, can I complain about the fact that we're only allowed outside for "essential purposes" but fucking coffee shops are open for takeaway? There are always crowds convening outside the ones in town I walked past on the way home from work.)
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

One of my jobs is essential at a big box store so I've been working in the public throughout. Unlike medical settings, we do not enforce masking and compliance levels go up and down.

I've been double masking since November. In January, I switched my under mask to an N95 one because of spiking numbers along with lower customer compliance.

Wearing the masks while heafting 40 lb bags of rock up into some guy's tall truck bed isn't easy. At least it's been very cold and raining most of the time. So I can briefly isolate and remove the masks for a moment when nobody is around.

The Spring slammed busy season starts ramping up in March. The double masking will be more difficult. I am in my 60's but not old enough for the vaccination yet.

One co-worker, who's 70, received her first vaccination two weeks ago. Her husband has an artificial heart pump so they are extremely high risk. He had no reaction to the initial dose. She had significant covid-like reactions. We've probably all been exposed at our work. And I am fortunate that my job is mostly outdoors.

A recent outbreak of 10 cahiers in one week left the store with only management and floor staff working registers. I skip breaks because the breakroom is small and unmasked. I am lucky enough to be driving in to work, so I eat lunch in my vehicle.

I am still going to the grocery once per week and looking after my mom. I use the drive-up window for her pharmacy pick-ups. I avoid all other stores.

No restaurant visits, but that wasn't in my budget previously. I don't get to visit my few friends except when the it's not raining on a day when our schedules coincide; so that's about never. Our rivers are all in flood stage hereabouts.

I no longer have the panicked feeling from a year ago when this was beginning and we didn't know anything or have any leadership; all I knew was that I was an essential and our stores were some of the few open and were mobbed by panicked customers with no distancing; and we had absolutely no protection except for the few homemade masks some of us decided to wear.

As said upthread; I am numb to it all.
posted by mightshould at 4:32 AM on February 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Acquired-agoraphobic here. I'm in Melbourne, and we had a terrifying second-wave, and we basically fixed it by isolating.

I've internalised lockdown, and even before the plague I had a very "please work from home" sort of workplace (NGO, they know that people being in the office costs money). My employer is very strict on masks and room-limits and cleaning and the policy is "please don't come in to the office unless it is absolutely necessary".

...but I've got a new boss now. They don't like masks, they don't like WFH, they don't like teleconferencing. Today I was summoned to the office for my annual review, which apparently must be done in person. The office has strict mask rules (I think it's actually the law at this point for an indoor workplace). My boss (who is hearing-impaired, has a cochlear implant) reminds me that I am not legally required to wear a mask if I am communicating with a hearing-impaired person, which is fair enough. Of course, this means they don't need to wear a mask because ummm I'm lip-reading by osmosis or something?

They'll soon do this also to a team-mate who's parents are friends of like the second or third cases in the country, and has thus been freaking out about plague for over a year now.

I haven't complained to HR, but only because I know they're fucking useless.
posted by pompomtom at 4:52 AM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

That all said: I actually left Melbourne on the weekend to go to the Ballarat Beer Festival, which was lovely, outdoors and distanced, and was far less stressful than going in to an office just across a park from the site of the source of the second wave (Decent OSINT people can now tell you exactly where I work, and probably who I am).
posted by pompomtom at 4:59 AM on February 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

(Also: actually going in to the office is a nice change of scenery now (not counting being trapped in a small meeting room with a plague-denying boomer who has bragged of their quarantine-avoidance when travelling interstate))
posted by pompomtom at 5:05 AM on February 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

One of the silver linings of this whole shutdown thing has been finding all the local businesses that will do curbside pickup. We've been able to get most of our groceries from various small shops in town (which was entirely possible before the pandemic, it was just... easier to go to the supermarket, you know?). We've tried a few delivery options as well (restaurant supply services shifting to residential sales, local farms) with various amounts of success (still working our way through the restaurant-sized tub of mustard).

We see friends outside occasionally. We've learned who's taking things more seriously than others, and honestly we've kind of been avoiding the folks who are putting their kids in daycare, seeing their parents (who are also active socialites), "oh we just had one friend over the other day," etc. I'm willing to accept certain additional risks with other friends who we know are also mostly sticking to themselves like we are.

I had to travel to Florida for work last month, and it was probably the most stressful thing I've done in a long while. That's a whole rant in and of itself, but it ate up so much of my life I'm still a little sore about it - two weeks of as much isolation as we could stand before leaving home (because there was no way I wanted to start presenting symptoms in Florida and need to figure out how to get home), another mandatory two week quarantine in a hotel on site, three weeks on the ship, and then another two weeks of quarantine at home when I returned. Testing down in Florida was atrocious; it took seven days (!!) to get my PCR results back, so I had to return to the clinic for a rapid test to be allowed on the ship. It probably would have been easier to get oxy than it was to convince them to give me a second test, I couldn't believe it. When I got home, the hardest part of getting tested again was figuring out which door to walk in to at the testing site (results in under 24 hours).

The number of people I saw getting on and off flights so they could go to Disney World was staggering and incredibly frightening. Orlando airport was packed full of tourists, and everyone seemed so happy to rip their masks off as soon as they walked out the door.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:46 AM on February 22, 2021 [6 favorites]

I live in an especially dense neighbourhood in Toronto with many horribly entitled humans and have mostly stopped going outside. Lucky for me I live in a building where I can pick up groceries and other necessities without leaving - for groceries I order online and go downstairs to get them, and these days I double-mask when I do that. We are still under a stay-at-home order, though, so I'm pretty much just doing what I'm supposed to do.

My dentist is the only person who has touched me since November 22nd. I had to go; I was grinding my teeth so badly at night, pieces were breaking off. So now I have a night guard, and my face hurts a lot less when I wake up. I didn't feel awesome about going in there twice, but I don't see anyone anyway, so if I picked up the virus while I was there, I didn't pass it to anyone else.

I wish I saw an end to this soon, but with the lack of vaccine supply, the variants, and the dipshit anti-maskers, I simply don't.
posted by wellred at 5:59 AM on February 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I want to be a lot more indoors than I am, but my school decided to reopen for in person classes for the last month of the April to March school year. (Fun side note, it was a year ago this week that the prime minister asked Japan to shut down, and our school responded by cancelling finals and not starting real classes online until May). To get to my school, I have to ride one of the more crowded rush hour trains in Japan, and yeah, most people are wearing masks, but not all, and the windows aren’t always open like they’re supposed to be.

At school, I teach junior high, and the lack of mask/hand washing discipline from the students is sadly not shocking, but seeing how blatantly some of the teachers are dropping the ball is upsetting. I’ve talked with my students, going over the reasons and the expectations, and a lot of times, I’m getting the sense that no one has really sat them done and explained things in a way they can grasp, and when I do it, it seems (a little) to take hold.

I’m still out, five days a week, and unable to really control what happens around me, other than to nope out of a train car if there’s some old guy with his mask down around his chin, glaring around, waiting for someone to say something. Sometimes I do say something, other times I’m just too damn tired.

As far as any going out, there’s a bar that buys some food I make. Once in a while, I take food down, and have a beer with the owner. He’s got plastic screens on all the tables, and we all wear masks between sips of beer. Another place nearish to us that we used to love going to is, like the other bar, and most places, is following the 8pm closing guideline (which gets them money from the government if they do it), so they’ll open at 3 and close at 8. They’ve got one outdoor table, and so we’ll get there at 3 when they open, sit at the table, the owner will come out and chat with us, and it feels so close to normal that the main worry is that it’s a sunny and pleasant day in the middle of February.

I haven’t gone out in Tokyo since the summer. I haven’t seen most of my friends that live in the city since October or November, before it got too cold to sit outside and have drinks, and don’t know how soon I will. I am hoping to see a friend who randomly works near where I work this week, and have a stroll and a chat, but hey, gout attack, and I can barely walk, and his knee is borked, so we might have to settle for sitting in a park like the two aged men we’re becoming. School ends in the next couple weeks, and I’ll go back to isolating again, until April when school begins again, and I’ll be back on crowded trains, hoping the asshole with his nose hanging out isn’t a spreader, but knowing that I have no way of telling, or of really avoiding.

I guess what I’m trying to say is outside is overrated.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:12 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

As if the pandemic wasn't bad enough, I broke my knee in October. I started physical therapy in November, and aside from those appointments, occasional appointments with my orthopedist, and recently back at work, I haven't been going anywhere because trying to navigate patches of unshoveled Brooklyn sidewalks with a cane sucks dingo kidneys.

I should be more "recovered" by spring, but for now....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on February 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

At the start of the pandemic I moved in with my parent in her suburb; there was no way of getting anywhere (I don't drive), everything was closed, and she was higher-risk, so we didn't go anywhere. Instacart for groceries, curbside at the liquor store, occasional takeout or delivery food from the couple of restaurants that were walkable. But I ran and she walked daily, unmasked back then because the neighborhoods were Walking-Dead level empty and you wouldn't see other humans for blocks and blocks.

Eventually I moved back to my home city; I live alone and have a bubble with 2 other people, who live a couple blocks away. None of us has kids or works outside the home, and we all have pretty much the same lifestyles. We go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores, nowadays we go double-masked.

People are generally mask-compliant around here; sometimes you see a person wearing theirs badly but the stores enforce the attempt, at any rate. I don't see a lot of double-up masks yet. People don't really socially distance very well but then again you...kind of can't. It's a crowded city and densely built. No sidewalk is six feet wide, and right now in particular there's 3 feet of snow on either side of the shoveled paths so you can't step onto the grass to give people space.

I still run, but single-masked, because outdoors and also because I think if I ran in a double mask I would actually pass out. The one mask is hard enough.

I've been to the dentist twice because I figured it was better to have two short fillings done than to risk an infection or a lengthy root canal.

I would feel comfortable, personally, going anywhere, but the others in my bubble are not comfortable ethically-speaking with restaurants (even outdoor seating) so I haven't been IN a restaurant or a bar in almost a year now. All of the places I used to go are now out of business, anyway, so there's not really anywhere to go.

One of the people in my bubble knows someone whose girlfriend tested positive and got flu-level sick, but so far that's the only confirmed case in all three of our social circles. For what it's worth, though, testing is virtually impossible to get as a non-car, non-symptomatic person in my city, so if people had asymptomatic cases or extremely mild ones, we'll never know about it.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Now that case numbers here are back to the levels in the fall, I'm slowly returning to seeing a couple of friends outdoors once in a while. We mostly get groceries delivered and when I need to go to the store I go at 7am when very few people are there. The most crowded places I go into are the post office (so crowded!), the pharmacy, and a few other places where there is no alternative to going in-person. Indoor dining has been restarted here for some time but that is outside of my comfort level; I'll stick with takeout for now and reconsider once we've gotten vaccinated. The vaccine rollout here is still sputtering, so who knows when that will be.

the people who had to die alone in a hospital without visitors

We had a death in the family and so did a coworker recently (both non-covid), and that the deaths had to be alone (well, surrounded by excellent and caring nurses, but without any family members) just made what is already a sad situation so much sadder. It's a small cruelty in the grand scheme of things, but it hits people so directly.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

Back from visiting with my dad; everyone involved is vaccinated, and it was the first time I've been able to take advantage of that for anything beyond getting some takeout for the first time in a year and finally going to the laundromat. I've had takeout 5 times this month, which included stopping midway on the trip at a tiny town's diner, which was packed with aged people, all eating unmasked while I waited for takeout in my kn95.

I now feel a kind of ironic detachment in such situations, still tuned to notice every person with unsafe behavior, but with no flood of adrenalin when I do.

Soon going to start a two week hard lockdown to make sure I'm safe before visiting my sister, who I've not seen in a year and a half too long. I won't see a single person, will hike in the woods in hopefully some early spring, will work, and will barely notice the interval.
posted by joeyh at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've done two social things for the past MANY MANY months besides being with my partner. Christmas with my mom and partner at my moms. With my dad gone, I couldn't leave her alone and we got tested beforehand.

Last week we had dinner at my partner's mom's house and wow, it was so fun and so nice to see another human being and... I j..jokingly... told her last night we should just fucking go to a restaurant. I was joking, she works as a server in a restaurant for super rich people and they've been open THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME so I guess most people are just living a normal-ish life while I'm hermit mchermitson.

But that's fine, I guess. I'm sick of eating at home though. I kind of don't eat much anymore as a result some days. My mom has had her first Pfizer shot so once she's all vaccinated maybe I'll go spend some time with her.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

I tell you what has been a disappointment is how many toad-lickers I encounter in the public parks and trails. Whole families, no masks, walking abreast down the path and blocking all of it, that kind of thing. The community in general seems to be wearing masks, but I suppose people feel like they are entitled to not wear one when they are outside. But other people are outside too.
posted by thelonius at 9:20 AM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

I basically go only three places: the grocery store (well, this is technically three places in itself, because different stores), the local bakery that opened up right as the pandemic hit, and intermittently the zoo.

Most everyone around here continues to routinely mask; I’m not sure anyone even really thinks about it anymore. The bakery doesn’t really have indoor seating anyway; I sit outside on the architectural feature that includes a bench and read. Most everyone obeys the bakery sign telling people to keep six feet between parties when sitting outside.

Oregon Zoo has been on an outdoor-only route since last year (with two minor exceptions, one of which there isn’t an alternative to).

I’ve had two exceptions to these three places: I sometimes but rarely still go to what was my regular neighborhood breakfast spot; they’ve been doing distanced outdoor seating in semi-pods but my county has moved back to a level permitting some indoor dining. I haven’t done the indoor dining except once last year.

The other exception was during Portland’s recent snowstorm. We don’t typically get more than one decent such storm every winter, if even one. So lots of my neighborhood was out at Cathedral Park sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. Less making than I’d have liked but generally people were keeping to their individual parties. It was nice after a year to get to watch people out doing something so normal and so slightly freeing.
posted by bixfrankonis at 10:05 AM on February 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm not out and about much. I've been working from home for many years anyway, so maybe I've settled into it easier. I do our food shopping, and the occasional DIY purchase (might as well tackle some jobs if I can't go anywhere).

We had workmen in doing fairly major work on our house a couple of weeks back. Two of them in and out of the house for about a week, while all four of our family were home. Not ideal, and I gave up trying to talk them into wearing their masks. We just did our best to stay out of their way.

What strikes me most on the times I venture our and about is how the public safety messaging is still stuck in March 2020, despite how much we know about transmission. I mean, you have hand sanitiser absolutely everywhere, but zero attention paid to enforcing mask use or distancing. I've heard stories of people working pretty much as they did before in unventilated offices - but there's hand sanitiser in the break room, so...

Our public health messaging here in the UK is still "hands, face, space", where it really ought to be reflecting our understanding that transmission is practically 100% by aerosols in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces, not takeaway bag handles. People here don't wear masks outdoors, by and large, but we tend to keep a sensible distance, so that doesn't concern me at all. What does get my goat is when entire families charge round the local supermarkets talking at high volume with no masks, and no shame at all. Strangely, this doesn't irritate me as much as the plastic-visor contingent. I mean, what possible benefit is having a sneeze-guard six inches in front of your face? I try to shop last thing at night, when most of these people aren't around.

Trying to get my kids to come out for a walk at the weekend is something I've given up on now. They've decamped to Minecraft for the duration.
posted by pipeski at 10:20 AM on February 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

I had written a long story about my mother in law and all our caretaking blah blah blah, but TL;DR we go outside a lot. We are in Westchester, and there are many parks and bits of outdoor space to explore. I was riding my bike before all the snow arrived, and now we are snowshoeing. There is a small network of trails just a mile down the road and I pretty much have the place to myself every time I've gone since the snows. Last week we went tubing with the SIL and her husband and younger kid, at a local golf course by their house, and that was super fun!

Hell, it's snowing right now and I know most people are losing their shit over this winter, but I'm quite frankly delighted that this is more like the winters of Ye Olden Times. If I had any money to spare, I'd be skiing. But I'll try to accept that I have free recreation to be had very close to home.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:31 AM on February 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

One addition - I both started and stopped donating blood since lockdowns began. I started because the need seemed high, and I was willing to take a small amount of risk in order to help. I stopped because at my third donation event there was an older couple sitting not too far away who were doing that thing where they're highly theatrical about HOW DIFFICULT wearing a mask is. It'd slip down for a while, then they'd have a snack (so of course the mask was hanging around their necks), and then it'd be on right for a little bit while they made terrible faces to show HOW UNPLEASANT it was for them. The entire event was running behind, so after 30 minutes of the Red Cross folks not doing shit about these dumbasses, I left. I'll go back to donate again when I feel like the Red Cross can protect my health.
posted by god hates math at 10:43 AM on February 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

god hates math, YES, I stopped donating blood in November after witnessing a similar scene. Every time the blood bank calls to schedule, I ask them if they’ve moved the snacks away from the donation area, and the answer thus far has been no. So sorry, not going back.

I don’t have the energy to write a real response to this post. Still working from home while trying to keep a distance learning kid from going completely bonkers, while watching my husband stress out about having to go to the lab during off-hours to finish his engineering work when the fewest people are breathing in his workspace. I do in-person grocery shopping at two stores that have their shit together, but I recently figured out the magic of Target curbside pickup and hope never to enter that store for toilet paper again, even post-pandemic. I had a very sketchy car repair indoor checkout experience last week. I am volunteer coaching my kid’s XC ski group lessons and have a lot of anxiety about it (the kids are great about masks but crash into each other a lot despite trying to space them out and everyone having pointy poles!). I had a pants crisis and had to return several online orders in January - the indoor clothing retail returns process was awful enough that I’ve decided to just layer leggings until winter ends.

My 65+ parents have no timeline for vaccination from their healthcare providers but are freaking out because they know people in other states who have gotten their shots. My dad’s epic sense of white male Boomer entitlement is terrifying, and he is acting like he is being personally denied something he is owed. Of course, I have even less of an idea when I will be eligible, let alone my medically-complex child, so it is taking all of my willpower not to snap at my parents to wait their fucking turn.
posted by Maarika at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

I am personally embittered about how my state has prioritized vaccine doses. I am in the last tier of the 1 Phase 1-B group and our date has been moved and moved and moved forward until it's now in the 1st week of March. The only way you can get a vaccine in this state, legitimately, that is, is to get on the state health department website, (if you can, that is) or try the drug store websites that are offering it (also, good luck with that!). I have 1 high risk co-morbidity and my two family members/co-residents have two or more each. Yet prisoners and education staff have been placed with essential workers, way above us, and I keep seeing social media posts from people in their 20s gleefully showing their vaccination cards. As far as getting out? My getting outside situation is much as thelonius, above, who mentioned having to share park sidewalks with whole families of non-maskers or be pushed off into the muddy grass alongside them. Yep, I'm bitter about the whole thing and feel the posts I've seen comparing trying to get a shot here to competing in the Hunger Games to be completely apt.
posted by Lynsey at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm a transplant patient and currently part of 1.b.3., so my first vaccine should be sometime in March if we continue on our current schedule. Kidney transplant patients who contract Covid have a 20% mortality rate(!) as of the last formal study, much improved from the 30% number reported in early 2020. It's likely improving even more, but I don't take any chances and see no one. A weekly blood draw is my big social event, and I mask up in an N95 and weirdly even look forward to it. I dream of someday walking into a grocery store and picking out my own produce, like Eve in the Garden.

That said, I am 10,000% in support of prisoners stepping ahead of me in the vaccine line. Incarcerated populations, which include a hefty percentage of people who are charged but not convicted of crimes, are incredibly vulnerable, and rampant infections in these facilities turn entire counties red with Covid saturation. For examples, just check out Lake (22% infection) and Trousdale (24% infection) counties in Tennessee, which are supertiny counties where prisons account for the majority of each county's population. Their infection rates have been sky high all along, even as their surrounding counties (where my family live) were just 6-8 percent last summer/fall.

Here in Colorado, in my county alone last November, nearly 1000 of the 1200+ inmates in custody tested positive for Covid, the biggest single outbreak in the state. There's a lawsuit accusing the sheriff of "deliberate indifference."

Our democratic governor is under enormous pressure to not shift the prison population ahead in line, but we really should.
posted by mochapickle at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2021 [14 favorites]

I live semi normally all things considered and go out to shop, get groceries, pickup takeout, go to the bookstore, ride the subway, etc without much problems or anxiety and just keep my mask on and pretty much 99% of all other people do all feels pretty safe with everyone masked - obviously not perfect - but at this point I'm comfortable with it.

I have met up with some friends at heated outdoor bars a few times and it's always really nice to feel a little normal, though I hate freezing outside and everyone can only bear it for about an hour or two tops. Refuse to dine indoors, or go anywhere indoors with strangers unmasked.

Every once in a while will have a friend over for dinner and a movie. I live alone and am okay with 1 on 1 indoor hangs with other friends who are also generally responsible wrt to always masking in public, not hanging out with groups, not dining indoors, getting tested every few weeks, etc. We space out and sometimes even keep our masks on if not eating or drinking - I realize this is pretty sloppy and risk is not fully mitigated, but it's a middle ground me and my group of friends are generally comfortable with. No one has tested positive yet, knock on wood.
posted by windbox at 1:30 PM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

We live on the edge of a small city so most of the time we don't run into people. Which is good, because I'm terrified of them.
I can't stress this enough. Pre-COVID I was an extreme extrovert.
Now? I dread people. Each human is a potential viral attack. For more than a year I've been trained to duck away, not shake hands or hug. The social distance barrier is in place, an invisible shield that shoves away disease.

Seconding this.

I rarely leave the house, such as it is. I'm not QUITE as bad as I used to be because I would only physically leave every two weeks when I absolutely had to, and now I might break down and go get the mail a little earlier or go out on the patio if nobody's smoking or coughing out there. I either "get my steps in" in the apartment by going back and forth or going back and forth on the patio if others behave. I haven't had any crucial reasons to leave the last two months but will have to start leaving again for medical stuff at the very least in March/April, sigh. Once in a while I might have a conversation with the neighbor two doors down if I see him out. I have no interest in talking a walk around the neighborhood or a park or anywhere because there's always people, even if there's not many people, and I hate how I can't forget about the pandemic if I go outside at all and have to act like everyone has death cooties and get as far away from them as possible, mask judge in my head, etc.

I have to drive my car every two weeks so it doesn't die, at freeway speeds, so that's about as much "leaving" as I do, to get gas and/or a car wash. Once in a while I drop something off at someone's house. I don't really go anywhere or even really leave town, I just kind of go down a freeway or an empty country road for awhile and then turn around and go back home.

As for seeing people: I have seen 1-2 friends outside at a distance. One gathering of two of them on her patio for the legal 2 hours in November, and one of those people we've done dropoffs of stuff. My mom has done dropoffs of stuff but mostly she got weird about the whole thing and I couldn't exactly trust her to keep her distance most of the time.

I've only gone in non-medical buildings a few times: one store when they reneged on delivering my pre-order and said I had to come in person (now I guess I won't be ordering from them to support them for the rest of the pandemic), the FedEx store when I had to photocopy/mail things because it's a lot less people than the PO, and the crush's family business to go give him stuff/buy stuff. That's as much "indoor" time as I have spent there.

Seeing the crush is the most unsafe thing I do because I can't see him outside of work (he's always at work every day and night) and he works indoors, though it is a huge barn of a building and I go when there's not a whole lot of people in it when they just opened on a day that's likely to be slower. There's only been maybe 3-4 people in at the time so that's probably as "safe" indoors as one could get, but I'm aware that that's really bad, so I haven't done it much. I'll do another dropoff for his birthday and then probably, I dunno, not go in again for quite some time unless it's Christmas or something bad happens to him again. I'm very afraid for him working retail and they continue to have a lot of people coming in there, but there's nothing I can say or do about that one.

I got KN95 masks off the Internet since they are saying you need to double mask and/or get 95's of some sort before you go out again due to the variants, so I'll have to start using those come March to go see him/go to the doctor. Right now I'm just wearing cloth masks with smaller masks inside the pockets + paper towels + filters, whatever the hell layers I can cram onto my face, but they don't seal shut and still steam up my glasses, so... also, right now I'm really not near people enough when "out" to have needed to KN95 it yet at like, the gas station.

Basically I am trying to stay as uncomfortable as possible when outside so I do not forget, relax, and let my guard down.

Yet prisoners and education staff have been placed with essential workers, way above us, and I keep seeing social media posts from people in their 20s gleefully showing their vaccination cards.

On a related note, supposedly literally EVERYONE in my industry, even if you aren't frontline, is "now" eligible for vaccine in Tier 1B. I'm not sure if that's just my county or all of the state or what because the "frontline" part is spelled out on some official documents and not as much in others, but I don't seem to actually be any more eligible than I was anywhere and of course appointments don't exist, so I dunno about this. I was told that one of our younger employees, who's working from home in a different county, was able to use this to get vaccinated though. I dunno on the ethics of this because on the one hand, obviously I am not frontline. On the other hand, wouldn't be eligible until oh, December 2021 or whenever the general hordes are finally allowed to and the ethicists seem to be all "get it when you can get it." I probably won't try at this point since I can be locked in forever, or at least until fall since the powers that be don't sound like they are going to force us to come back in person as yet. But I don't know if I am going to try to cut in front of the disabled and whatnot even if I technically "could" either. Most likely not.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:01 PM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

The fear response is real, and it's more of a weight than anything else, and I worry that it's going to linger. I can't *not* notice things. I can't turn off. When I get on a train, my eyes are catching every little thing, my brain is cataloging every poorly worn mask, every nose sticking out, every asshole not even bothering with a mask at all, and it's telling me I'm in danger.

Seriously. If the idea is that we wear masks to keep us from spreading possible infections to others, then people who aren't wearing a mask, or aren't wearing one effectively, my brain tells me, are a direct, possibly mortal threat. This is in my mind pretty much every time I go out. When I bike to school, I see joggers with no masks, huffing and puffing down crowded sidewalks, and I think, "goddamn, what an asshole, at least do that shit somewhere less crowded." As I said, I get on trains and my brain is cataloging threats, and I'm trying to perform some instant calculus of where the safest place to be is, where the most people are wearing masks, which window is open, how far I can get from assholes not wearing masks at all.

It is exhausting, but it has become second nature. I've begin to equate faces with danger, and I honestly worry how long after we're able to stop wearing masks (which, honestly, I don't think is likely anytime soon, like, maybe sometime in 2022? Maybe? Please?) that this instinct is going to keep weighing on me. I am an intensely social person, I thrive on being around other people, but at this point, I'm very much avoiding social interaction, even when I just want it so damn badly.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:37 PM on February 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

I have been home most of the past year. I feel like I get out more than some but less than most. I've worked remotely for years, and since March, other than walks around the neighborhood, I've mostly left the house just for (grocery/drugstore/pet supply) store runs for essentials and medical appointments. I don't really feel comfortable going anywhere, but I mask up and steel myself to go to those places. I moved houses last fall and have lived by myself since then. No one especially depends on me except a couple of cats.

I buy what I can online. Sometimes I order groceries for pickup; mostly I just speed run through the store once a week or whenever I can get my act together enough to get there before 8am or after 8pm because I don't want to spend the rest of my day imagining WHAT I COULD HAVE SAID to the frat boy assholes in there with literally no masks on at all smiling at me like a dare, knowing I'd just glare and run away. Most folks where some sort of mask, and stores technically require them, but there's always a few...

I do some socializing, but not in public places. I have a group of 3-4 relatively cautious friends I see in one of their backyards maybe once a month. We keep distance. I have another friend I meet up with to walk around one of our neighborhoods with awkward space between us but without masks. I see my parent for a few hours at a time, usually sitting outside in a yard or porch. I hop on video with my long-distance best friends as much as we can manage; for one of them, that's like every other week; for the other, it's been like 3 times since March. I miss them both horribly. I miss going to yoga classes like I did all the time Before. They're happening, everything is open here, but I can't bring myself to do it.

I feel very very bad if I go more than a few weeks without talking to a person in person. I mean, it SUCKS long before that, but it tips more dangerously at that point.

Same if I just forget to leave the house for too long. I started keeping a log. I check a box on days when I spend meaningful time outside. If I feel bad, I look to see how many boxes I've missed and often find a correlation. Over the summer, I did day trips to the country to hop in a lake or walk a trail a few times. Masked up when I'd be in proximity other people or their air (like park restrooms), but otherwise went bare-faced in nature. Now I just walk in town. My city is small and spread out enough that I can walk a few miles looping around neighborhoods without needing to come near another person. Occasionally, I have to cross to the opposite side of the street. (We don't have snow blocking sidewalks here, but I do wish some of my neighbors would maintain the sidewalks in front of their houses a little better; the never-cleared pine needles and dead leaves of many seasons past narrow some paths to about a foot's width.)

Sometimes I think about how, for years, I would fantasize about checking out of life's obligations for a little while, taking a year's sabbatical to sort my shit out and process all my trauma and sand down my edges, so I could rejoin society as The Person I Was Meant To Be, perfectly self-actualized. And now here's all this time, but everything is awful, and I'm exhausted. My executive functioning isn't world-class in the best of times, and remembering all of the New Rules I must follow just to complete small daily tasks totally drains me. I did start seeing a therapist (again) (virtually) recently to try to figure things out since I have some space now. It's been good so far in helping me identify that...I feel bad.

Hugs to all.
posted by moonbeam at 7:40 PM on February 22, 2021 [6 favorites]

I am personally embittered about how my state has prioritized vaccine doses.

I'm not so much embittered with how the prioritization tiers were done here as I am with how they have actually handled the rollout. If you aren't technologically savvy and able to log into and check a huge number of websites, you are basically out of luck. And while supplies are still too paltry for most high risk people to get vaccines, an increasing number of people I know are getting them because of who they work for. (And yes, I'm bitter because that includes my former employer. There is little that I miss about working there, but it is kind of galling to know it would have come with this one rather significant perk had I stayed.)
posted by Dip Flash at 8:35 PM on February 22, 2021

I’m still in cancer treatment - for the last five weeks my husband and I take a ferry to Seattle and drive up to the Northgate area, where I’m staying in a hotel for the duration (M-F, I go home Fri afternoon, and come back Sunday) of my radiation therapy. I’m done here on March 8th.
The hotel is nice in that they let me keep my Trader Joe’s frozen entrees in their walk-in freezer - so once a day I double-mask and go down to have them fetch my food from the freezer so I can have dinner in my room (I have a microwave, a small fridge, and brought an electric tea kettle).
Other than that, since May the only place I’ve been is medical appointments. I did get my first shot a week ago last Friday - I get my second on my last day of treatment, which is very handy since it’s on the same campus as my treatment.
After radiation, I go back on oral chemo for about 4 months. When I’m fully clear of that drug, I *might* consider visiting with friends or going to a store (with a list). I’m also looking forward to a cocktail at that time - I haven’t had any alcohol since last May either.
I really hope we can travel to San Diego for Thanksgiving with our family of choice. But if it’s not safe, we won’t go.
posted by dbmcd at 10:33 PM on February 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

mochapickle, dbmcd and Lynsey, my heart goes out to you and

...everyone else as well.

God, the things we are going through. These are such hard times.

But on a sidenote, after going through some old threads, I found myself wondering if Fred Lapides aka Postroad was still with us. Boy, is he ever. And he was old almost fifteen years ago, all things considered. Or so it seemed to me at the time.

I may be grasping at straws but I found that a hopeful sign.
posted by y2karl at 2:27 AM on February 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Despite being thoroughly convinced I was in the Novavax vaccine trial's placebo group, I'm forced to conclude 14 hrs after shot 2 that my brain can't manufacture THIS much feeling like total crap. I'm gonna go feverishly barf in celebration.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:57 AM on February 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

I’m kind of a recluse tbh. Since last March I’ve been in grocery stores three times; the bakery two times; a doctor’s office two times; the IT department at work two times; a computer repair shop two times. I think that’s an exhaustive catalog of Recycled Air I Have Shared. No dentist, no haircuts — no piano tuner or other workers in the house — all maintenance that can be deferred, is. I can’t drive but I don’t take the bus and I don’t take rides, and I became reasonably proficient on my bike but not enough to ride in Wisconsin in February, so my particular combination of risk-aversion and affordances is extremely limiting.

I do think I’m developing a weird sort of agoraphobia, like a couple other people noted. Over summer we had a few friends we would see outdoors, even for a picnic; but when my state was peaking in fall and my governor started impotently wheedling us to stay indoors, I refused to see anyone closer than about fifteen feet or for more than a very brief encounter, even outside. For months now, though, our 14-day average has been drifting down and since mid-December I’ve had a handful of longer conversations outdoors. This past weekend we had an actual meetup with a close friend of mine from work — the first time I’d seen her in person in about a year. We had a lovely walk on one of our lakes, but at the end of it we came to a crowded section of the ice, and I started to panic. At one point I slipped, and when I saw my friend reach out to steady me, I physically recoiled from her approach. I think this disturbed both of us... getting back to normal, if we get to go back to normal, isn’t going to be like flipping a switch. It’s not really a personal-health fear, even, it’s a hairshirt kind of fear. I don’t want to be responsible for this pandemic continuing, even a little bit.

My parents have had dose #1, and as they live in a retirement community they’re at higher risk than my in-laws, who haven’t — so that’s good. But they also live several hundred miles from here and there are more hurdles to clear before we will be able to see them in person. I’m really looking forward to being vaccinated but I’m not really looking forward to the psychological work of convincing myself it’s okay to experience things again.
posted by eirias at 4:09 AM on February 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Everything I do off the farm for money is high risk so I feel pretty lucky.

I still go to either the farmers market or a grocery store every morning but I go when they open and it's usually just me and the masked employees. I've been cooking dinner for 7 or 9 most of the past year and I don't have enough cold storage to not go every day for something. I also go to salvage places several times a week looking for stuff to fix up the house. I am usually the only one with a mask.

We are also lucky that we can go out the door and walk for hours on our own land. If not for that there would have been some trouble. No way we would have got through this in an urban area.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:49 AM on February 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think we're more cautious than the average, though less than some.

I go outside daily for dog walks and we visit the (huge) dog park and nearby trails for a few hours each weekend day. I don't feel the need to wear a mask outside and mostly feel comfortable, except sometimes the trails and dog park can get crowded. We step well off the path to let people pass and make wide detours when the terrain allows. A few people wear masks at the dog park but ~95% don't. We usually chat with a few people there, briefly and from a distance.

We've seen family and friends a few times, always outside in small groups. I've mostly felt ok with this except nobody wants to actually stay 6 feet apart, and nobody ever wants to wear a mask outdoors (we don't either).

I've had a few medical appointments and that was ok, precautions were high and of course everyone indoors was masked. I realized when it was too late that I shouldn't have taken the elevator in the hospital - 3 strangers joined me in that tiny enclosed space and I was profoundly uncomfortable even with masks.

We always do curbside pickup for groceries, every 2 weeks, and have not been in a store since covid started other than once at the very beginning to mail a package. Everything we've needed has been ordered online. We do take some precautions with grocery surfaces which I think are unnecessary but my partner thinks are critical. We've gotten delivery a few times and get drive-through fast food about once a week (they are masked). We're a little nervous about the food packages but probably irrationally. We've both been very fortunate to be able to work from home the entire time (in my case) or almost the whole time (in my partner's case), and we don't currently have kids so we can avoid the daycare/school pool of germs.

I wouldn't be comfortable at all going to an indoor restaurant or bar or even an indoor meal at a home (we did christmas over zoom). I miss all you can eat sushi SO much and can't wait for the first trip when things are normal enough.

I'm currently in a higher-risk group and knock on wood, we've avoided catching it so far. Just have to make it through the home stretch while Canada slowly gets its shit together with vaccines.
posted by randomnity at 7:17 AM on February 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

mochapickle, dbmcd and Lynsey, my heart goes out to you and as well, EmpressCallipygos: a broken knee -- Yikes!!! -- at this time of all times: You are in my thoughts and prayers as well.
posted by y2karl at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2021

I was such a walking fiend the first 6 months of stay-at-home that I developed painful plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I got new sneakers, and tailed that off dramatically and it's basically gone. Dusted off my son's old rowing machine for crew and that has been a decent substitute.

I try to do as much delivery as possible, although I stopped grocery deliveries because of the waste and guilt over the insulated packaging the local store uses, although I appreciate that they are trying to prevent spoilage, it's a bit much.

Therefore, I've mastered the art of doing errands during the least busy times of the week.

Grocery Store: Monday mornings at 8am is consistently empty.

Drug Store: On the flip side, mornings at the local CVS are typically busy and I have a medication that I have to physically pick up every 30 days. The pharmacy section of our local CVS closes at 10PM and I've found anytime after 9 is generally empty.

Those two locations are pretty much the only places I am obligated to enter. Anywhere else, I generally scope out the cash register lines and only go in if they are empty.

My mom lives in Florida and is getting minor surgery in a month and will need my help for a few days, which will require me to get on a plane. Not really looking forward to that whole experience.
posted by jeremias at 10:42 AM on February 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

thanks, y2Karl - I'm actually on the home stretch of recovery (I literally just came from physical therapy and they told me that!), and I've been consoling myself with the reminder that "well, okay, yes, I can't really easily go out to movies or to restaurants or out for a stroll on the streets right now, but neither can anyone else, so it's actually okay."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on February 23, 2021

I had a mammogram appt today and I’m glad I went because it’s necessary but wow, there is just no way to get a mammogram without the technician being all up in your face. She was great and professional and fast, but I haven’t felt that anxious in a long time.
posted by bookmammal at 1:04 PM on February 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

oh yeah, I forgot to mention, one of the people in my bubble goes to the gym regularly. It's a small boutique kind of affair where they schedule folks so there are no more than 4 people at a time, with cleaning and ventilation breaks throughout the day. I'm wildly jealous because my own gym is a regular big-box deal with horrible protocols, but I can't afford the fancypants kind and am not really interested in the boutique crossfit type of experience anyway.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:07 PM on February 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I walk a lot. Like 25 miles a week, minimum. I live on the cusp of a university forest. It's been a lifesaver.

I hang out on the deck with the occasional friends (at a distance). We also hang out at the occasional firepit in a driveway (at a distance).

Mostly I order groceries, but I go to the co-op every so often and the ABC store. I also, every now and then, go for a lavender latte at a coffeeshop in town (it's 2.5 miles from my house, so a perfect halfway to ta walk) on Saturday mornings. I have not been inside any other kind of shop (hardware, clothes, books, art supplies, Target etc) since February 2020.

I have sat on a patio and had a beer (a single beer) in public four times since last March.

When it was warm out, I went to the Farmer's Market. I also went swimming in a friend's outdoor pool once, back in August.

I have been to the doctor three times (I have lady issues) in the last year.

I went to the gravesite to see my grandmother buried in September.

Oh, and just before Christmas, I went to one rooftop art fair.
posted by thivaia at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know all the local parks & trails very well now, having walked them over and over again with various friends (we are all getting quite fit!). Excited that over the last two weekends I've been to two new parks.

I go to work everyday in healthcare, but thankfully have minimal contact with patients, only outdoors and never for more than a few moments. All of us at work have received both doses of covid vaccine, so I'm breathing easier these days.

I shop at grocery stores, farmers markets, and Trader Joe's & Target once in a while.

Everything is slowly re-opening now that the post-December surge is on the decline, but it seems like we're just headed inevitably into a Spring Break Surge. As humans, we have created/structured holidays every few months on a social level, which is a great way to keep covid cases surging every few months.

Take care everybody; we're almost out of the woods. Wear a mask (or two), wash your hands, physically distance, and don't eat/drink around other people indoors.

I absolutely need a hug (or two).
posted by honey badger at 10:07 PM on March 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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