You try to be honest and everyone treats you like a plague victim. Which is funny in its own way because it’s come out that most of them have had direct exposures in the past week and… shrug?
They don’t say anything. They make excuses. Rationalizations or outright deceptions to pretend like they were somehow justified. Mostly, they were simply taking a chance nothing bad would come of it (and in all fairness, it often doesn’t. COVID is a real concern, but in mathematical terms, still less omnipresent than it has been made out to be. I think we all take those little chances. The difference here is that when there’s actual contact, known contact, we decided not to behave like the one who gave it to us and actually tell everyone.)
We’re better than that. We take other people’s needs seriously. We live in an interconnected system, not a void.
And of course, our tests are negative. We don’t actually have it, or at least, it hasn’t manifested yet.
But, of course, we’re the carriers, the dirty ones. Never mind that it was brought us by someone who behaved incredibly irresponsibly, showing up already sick without warning, someone who pretended for the past two years to be a hermit, the safest person around, and looked down her nose at all of us like we were trucker convoy enthusiasts.
(A perception people keep applying to us and it’s gotten really old, really fast, especially when we’ve seen those same people, over and over again, take risks that we never would have, and try to hide it. It always comes out though – it’s the whole deceit thing. When someone lies to you, it’s a thing that really happened in your mind. An event took place that imprints itself in your memories, even if it’s just the conversation. The lie, on the other hand, isn’t a real thing to the one telling it, so it doesn’t imprint in the neural pathways in the same way, which is why so many people contradict themselves in their deceit. True fact about the whole neural pathway thing. Memory etches itself in. Self-created fictions do not. Science FTW.)
We keep getting told that we’re the bad ones, because we went to Florida twice, but we did so fully vaccinated, wore masks and kept our distance as best we could and with full understanding that if we caught it, we’d quarantine immediately. And guess what? Because we took the precautions we did, we were fine.
The thing about the travel argument these folks love to hold over us is that it’s bullshit. COVID is fucking everywhere now. You can just as easily get it going to the neighbour’s as you can travelling. I suspect you’re actually more likely to catch it doing the normal, everyday things you’re wont to do, moreso than travelling somewhere and being extra cautious because of the unknown individuals around you.
You’re far more likely to let your guard down around people you know than people you don’t, and therefore, more likely to catch it from them than some stranger. See: the person who gave it to us. We knew they’d bullshitted about how safe they were being, while lording over their family by wearing masks even at times it seemed absurd (and dropping the whole act when another particular member of the family was involved), but still. It’s the people you know.
The good news is that false act ultimately came in handy, because it likely kept my daughter from getting infected (or so it seems, thusfar. We still have a couple more days of testing to do.) So, there’s some benefit out of that individual’s hypocrisy, I guess.
Anyway, long story short: you can’t trust the people around you to do the right thing. And when you do the right thing and are open and honest about what’s going on, don’t expect anyone to be grateful you were. All they’ll do is tell you the various ways they didn’t do the same for you.
Can’t trust anyone anymore, I guess, but it doesn’t matter. I try to hold myself to a higher standard and I’ve never much cared for social norms. If the norm is to hide and conceal, then pretend and lie later, then I’m out. Rather open and looked down on, still doing things the right way, than being a complete asshole with no respect for others.
I did that for long enough, and I try every day not to anymore.
Target: 400 words
Written: 812 words, novella: The Mungk