Join Hafta-Ichi to find out the article “Awkward greetings and Covid bubbles: navigating the twilight zone of the pandemic | Brigid Delaney | Opinion”
We’re currently in a weird twilight zone: pre-vaccine but on the road to reopening.
These are the Covid teenage years – we’re all limbs and elbows as we try and work out a new way of being in the world. We bumble along, we make mistakes – one day we’ll laugh! But right now, things are weird.
You’ve just started dating Harry and it’s going well considering many of your previous relationships have collapsed at the one month mark after your insistence that they FULLY COMMIT.
But now, with Covid, and being Covid-safe, you have the right – wait no! – the responsibility to set down a few public health guidelines. So that’s a no to polyamory, circular dating, threesomes, orgies, flatmates and female friends. In fact, as you suggest to Harry on your third date, perhaps you should just move in and not see anyone else socially or otherwise ever, because … Covid.
You have a bad back, you need to stand up – Covid marshal says no.
You knew your pub days might end one day, for reasons perhaps of misbehaviour, but the thought that you now cannot go to the pub because you have a bad back, and are unable to stretch it, is unexpectedly sad.
I think she’s going in for the hug. I thought they weren’t allowed! I have my elbow out, ready for the bump – even though I’m self-conscious because it looks like one of those defensive postures you learn in women’s self defence classes … Hang on – it really looks as if she’s going for the hug, although maybe it’s an air hug or she’ll pivot to kiss on the cheek – omg this is stressful – she’s getting nearer, maybe I’ll stab in her the boob with the point of my elbow or my arm will get wedged in her chest during the hug. Maybe I should say something – yes NOW! “Sorry, I’m not hugging … until there’s a vaccine.”
Our region has been on fire and we’ve had no visitors since January. Everyone is depressed and broke and we need visitors. Actually – no – don’t come!! You may bring the plague with you and we’ll have a cluster and be on the news and then we’ll get no visitors and everyone will be broke and depressed, and the whole state will know the names of the Thai restaurant and the RSL, because they will become the names of a large, famous cluster … And really, who said all publicity is good publicity?
You haven’t seriously thought about the concept of picking a best friend since primary school, but now Bryony has asked you to be her best friend. “Will you be in my bubble?” she asks. You’re flattered but surprised. You don’t know Bryony that well. A former colleague, you’ve only hung out a handful of times outside the office. You haven’t even put her number in your phone. You’d only ask her to be in your bubble if everyone you knew died. The asymmetrical nature of the friendship unnerves you. You get to thinking: “What if the person I asked to be in my bubble was freaked out at my request?” You start to question every friendship you’ve ever had. Are you someone’s Bryony?
Restrictions have eased in New South Wales and you are hosting a party for 20 of your closest friends. The event, held outside in your backyard, is Covid safe and has a no-Instagram rule so that friends in Victoria don’t get triggered.
But at 9pm your friend Maria turns up with her friend Debbie – who you have not invited.
Debbie is weeping because she has just been dumped by her boyfriend.
“I couldn’t leave her alone at the bar, crying. C’mon, it’s just one person. Have a heart!!” says Maria.
With 21 guests on your property, you and your guests are now exposed to the potential of a large fine. All night you are on edge. You stand in the kitchen doing continuous head counts, you encourage people to take a short break from the party – “go out to a bar, I’ll text you when a spot opens up!” – but mostly you spend your time seething at Debbie, who looks FINE and not at all heartbroken.
You set out on a walk behind your house that takes you across a golf course and an empty playing field until you get to a main road. You’re halfway across the golf course when you realise you’ve left your mandatory mask at home! You thought you had one in your pocket but it was an old tissue.
Only last week a colleague of yours was abused in the street for having their mask hanging down around their chin. People took pictures of him and threatened to post them on Facebook!
Without a mask, your options include staying in the middle of the golf course, hiding in the bunker until it gets dark enough that no one sees you when you walk home, completing your walk anyway – and risking a large fine and social shaming, ripping up your shirt and fashioning a face mask, rolling down the fairway in a move that would obscure your face and confuse other walkers, or running home quickly (or according to the legislation “strenuously”), without stopping.
What to do? That’s the problem. You don’t know what to do about anything, anymore.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Awkward greetings and Covid bubbles: navigating the twilight zone of the pandemic | Brigid Delaney | Opinion