Most of you know me to be a “reasonable” person, so I hope you will listen to this story with your “reasonable” person ears:
July 11th my 18-year-old daughter texted me and apologized for not coming home in time to drive with Dwight and me to help her sister move. Her best friend had been kicked out of the house and she and another friend went to help him. The three spent the night together at the first friend’s house.
July 12th she sent a frantic text to me saying she’d reconsidered all of her 18-year-old choices and would be doing something different with her life. The reason why? The best friend’s dad was in the ER with COVID-19.
Cue wtf responses.
July 12th my daughter’s best friend supposedly had an expedited test (48-hour return) because he was in contact with his father.
July 13th my daughter was able to be tested because she’d been in contact with the best friend. Her test was due back within 6 to 10 days.
Prior to this, I had planned a solo trip to another part of Florida for some peace, relaxation, and solitude. Shelter-in-place, etc. had gotten the best of me and I needed to leave my home. The trip was planned for July 17th-20th.
Part of my trip would include stopping and spending the night with my goddaughter, whose friend had also been staying with her. I’d decided to alert my goddaughter of the happenings and let her determine what she wanted to do. We’d wait for my daughter’s best friend’s test results to plan next steps.
Are you still with me?
Time moved slowly. While you’re waiting for a COVID-19 test, you’re supposed to self-quarantine.
Because my daughter lives with us and her best friend had been to our home, Dwight said that should include us, too. I agreed, but I wanted to take my trip…just saying.
July 17th came. My daughter, husband, and I had been home 5 days by then. Neither my daughter nor her best friend had received their results. I decided I was still going on my trip. My goddaughter said it was fine to stay with her. (Just for the record, I offered to stay at a hotel). We wore our masks at the restaurant, as required, and she made breakfast the next day. The friend stayed at least 6 feet away from me…for the most part.
July 18th I left my goddaughter’s home, headed to my vacay spot, and received a text from my daughter. Her best friend was positive.
His dad was back home and building a new porch for their home. I also found out his father had been coaching high school basketball this whole time. Why? His family needed money.
My goddaughter’s friend was supposed to go back home with her parents. She decided not to in case she’d been exposed. My daughter still hadn’t received her results. I briefly had a thought: what if our whole family is asymptomatic? What are we to do…remain in the house socially inactive, until a trusted vaccine surfaces?
Oh…and my daughter was supposed to begin a new job, but they told her to wait two weeks.
July 18th-20th I had a great time on my solo trip. I sprayed Lysol in the hotel, wore my mask, ordered to-go, socially distanced, and otherwise relaxed.
July 21st my goddaughter’s best friend was tested.
July 23rd my goddaughter’s friend’s test was negative. She was safe to travel to her parents’ home, so she did.
July 24th (11 days after her test), my daughter received her results: negative.
I decided to share this anecdote for a few reasons:
- The only narratives we’ve had are those of people dying, which I do not take lightly. However, like many things in this society we don’t seem to realize there’s a range of stories. We’ve been led to believe that we can either catch COVID-19 and die or stay home and not die. But there are many in-between situations. I’m not saying we should remove our masks and visit the nearest bar. I am saying we should begin to make decisions based on our respective perspectives and states.
- Being critical of the world is different than being judgmental. I’m critical of the consumerist, capitalistic society we’ve agreed to participate in. Unfortunately, the entire world relies on businesses being open. However, I do not have any judgment about my daughter’s best friend’s father having to work a job to support his household. I just don’t. I do think we all have personal responsibility. For example, if I had a basketball-playing son, he would’ve sat this season out.
- I know it’s fun to point fingers at those Florida beach photos, but testing is a huge problem here. Around Day 5, when my daughter was restless, I asked her a rhetorical question: How is anyone supposed to do the right thing? If my life (and others’) depends on a positive/negative test result, but it takes 11 days to receive…how can you expect an adult person, who may rely on their minimum wage job to pay rent to make the “right” choice to stay home and self-quarantine?
Finally, I hope you saw yourself in one or more of these situations, kind of like a real-life John Quinones What Would You Do if you were any of us? I’m looking forward to any comments.
kg ~ 7/27/20