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cherry picking

I have been watching Covid developments in Catalunya and the Baleares with interest, as they have recently made mask-wearing mandatory EVERYWHERE outside your home (exceptions: at the beach or pool, doing outdoor sports) and am hoping that Andalucía will follow suit without first waiting for infections to rise, which is likely now that our borders are open again and there is no test & trace programme in operation.

The thing is, as time goes on people are becoming more relaxed about this virus that nobody actually knows much about, not even the experts. And many of these deniers have decided to cherry pick the “expert information” they read or hear about, according to what they want to believe, and accept it as fact. And then expect everyone else to agree with them.

Me, on the other hand, prefer to go by information that is at least backed up by some scientific evidence. I do admit I am often looking for information that will back up my own (sometimes? often?) unpopular opinion – that there is no fucking way we are in the clear yet. Simply because I am often being made to feel ridiculous for continuing to be so careful. For me the biggest mistake made so far by the Spanish government (after not shutting down soon enough) has been reopening the borders immediately after lockdown was lifted, without any sort of test & trace programme, really without any plan other than take temps at the airport. EVERYONE knows by now that many people with Covid don’t have fevers, many don’t present at all, but they are still infectious carriers. Meanwhile other people could have a fever for other innocuous reasons, like having their periods. What is needed is a Covid test upon arrival, and seclusion until results arrive. For starters.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard it all from some friends of mine here already. Not sure if they are actual Deniers, but they are at least somewhat in denial, either because they have businesses to run or they simply WANT THEIR OLD LIVES BACK. Well, who doesn’t, sweetheart? I personally ache for it myself. All the time. Every day.

People are so quick to want to believe what they want to believe. For example, that if the government thought “fill in the blank” was dangerous then they wouldn’t allow it (SRSLY?? how fucking naive are you?). That if the virus was really so contagious then everyone would be sick by now (um, just wait a bit), that the virus is actually getting weaker (can you spell MUTATE?), not to mention the whole “oh I’ve had it already and have antibodies” trope (yes, you CAN be reinfected and meanwhile infect people), and all of them blindly accepting the standards set by our governments because… I have no fucking idea.

Yesterday a friend actually rolled their eyes at me when they came to greet me with a kiss and I put my hand up to stop them (and I LOVE kisses!). Another friend pointed around the restaurant where we’d met for lunch, saying that nobody else had any problem with sitting maskless across a table with people they might not have seen for months. Except I was actually having that very problem but didn’t want to spoil our lunch by speaking out. That won’t happen again.

And okay, it’s true, like almost everyone, I also don’t always read peer-reviewed scientific papers on every theory on this virus that supports my own gut feeling. But at least my opinions aren’t putting anyone else at risk. In fact, they are keeping YOU safer while making my life a bit sadder. Meaning that my life, for now, is still very restricted in terms of human contact and, well, everything. I am basically still in Phase 2.

Yes, I have issues with my ol’ immunocompromised system, thanks to previous cancer and chemo treatments, and it doesn’t help that I suffer from chronic anxiety and bouts of agoraphobia. You might think all of that might be actually “helpful” about the whole staying indoors thing, since often I have no choice anyhow. Except it isn’t really easier for me. It also doesn’t mean that I “deserve” to stay in Phase 2 forever just because you want a fucking holiday.

But what it does give me is a perspective that “entitled” people will never grasp. That this is not all fucking about you. I never once asked “why me?” when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2008, I just followed doctors orders, stayed home, mostly because I was too sick to do anything else, and somehow came out the other side. So I know what it’s like to have one’s life shut down. And maybe that is why I don’t see this virus as an affront to my “personal freedom”. Especially when things like staying home and  WEARING A FUCKING MASK can make all the difference, and guess what, not that hard to do if you actually care about the rest of humanity.

So while I cannot control what you choose to do, I can and do control my own behaviour in public by ALWAYS wearing a mask (except when safely seated and enjoying a cold beer). It is the very least we can do. From now on if ANYONE has a problem with me asking them to put their mask on when I am with them, I will simply walk away.