Usually I’m giddy right about now. Thanksgiving is a few days away. We’ll bust out the holiday decorations, crank up the Christmas music, and put the tree up Friday. The most wonderful time of year has arrived!
But it’s fucking 2020, which means we can’t have nice things. Yes, we’ll be eating turkey Thursday and the tree will go up on Friday, but so many other things that make this time of year the best are either being cancelled or greatly modified.
I’m fine with all of that. I can deal with a muted holiday season because the point of that is to get us to 2021 and to the time when most of the general population can get a Covid vaccination and only then can we start thinking about life getting somewhat back to where it was a year ago. I. Can. Deal.
What is going to make this season tough is that it’s going to be really fucking tough. Our current infection rate is frightening, and it’s going to get worse. Our current death rate is staggering, and it’s going to get much worse. I’m starting to get nervous about interactions that have become routine since we emerged from our shelter-in-place orders back in May. I’m worried about S, who is seeing more and more positive patients and families in her practice. I worry about our girls and their ability to get through this time if we have to lock them in the house for a couple months. A couple cold, dark months when they can’t go outside and get a break from their rooms.
I’m worried about our collective mental health, too. I don’t think you could call us a mentally healthy country to begin with. I fear we’re could soon begin a spiral to an even worse place, and I’m genuinely concerned about what kind of country this is going to be in a year, or five, or ten because of all the damage we are doing to it right now. I worry that between the strain of the pandemic and the emotion of the election, we are on the verge of a very dangerous time. Maybe that just means government at the highest levels ceases to function normally. Maybe it means we sink into an era of politically motivated violence. Maybe folks who suffered great economic pain during the pandemic start taking things away from those who did not.
I hope I’m wrong and we find a way to regain at least some of our national sanity by next spring/summer. When I look around, though, I see lots of warning signs that just because we might be get Covid under control as vaccines roll out does not mean people won’t still find reasons to hate total strangers.