IIt’s Thanksgiving in the US next week, a drill for many of us at Christmas, which means a chance to make amends without going anywhere or seeing anyone. With a quarter of a million Americans dead and the virus still raging, the sensible course of action is to put it aside. Order pizza and wings (with a jumbo tip for your delivery guy), load up Disney +, and try enjoying a few days on the couch. For nine months, we have been strengthening these muscles; now is the time to use them.
Of course, this is not, in all probability, how things will unfold. the closure of public schools in New York this week it was a response to the Covid test positivity rate that rose above 3%, but also, one would imagine, was implemented in anticipation of a further increase after Thanksgiving. City-wide school closings don’t make any sense given the apparent lack of transmission in schools and the large variation in test positivity rates between neighborhoods – mine, in Manhattan, is just over 1% no exposure recorded at our school, while the Staten Island areas are peaking at 6%. It seems strange on this basis to shut down the entire system.
But it also seems strange that we are haggling over the holidays. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is tapping into the opposite side of his popularity during the first wave of the pandemic and not handling it well, criticizing reporters and continuing his enmity with the mayor. If I have any sympathy for the man, it is because of the magnitude of the challenge he faces when it comes to getting New Yorkers to miss their vacations. When the Governor announced last week that private meetings would be held starting today limited to 10 people – too many as they are – the police quickly appeared to say that this was a restriction they would not apply. Most of us know: the least we will pay to spend together on Thanksgiving or Christmas will be another month of lockdown; and many would agree that, on paper anyway, it is a price not worth paying. And yet we cannot do it.
Or rather, we can’t do it with enough emphasis. It’s like fancy math you do to wash off an extravagance: I won’t take a $ 7 cab ride, ergo, I can justify those $ 200 Apple AirPods. Or in this case: I’ve been pretty good since March, shots are on. arriving … and damn, I deserve a day off. Relative to other parts of the US and the world, New York is a model of compliance – we wear our masks on the street, we don’t host big dinners, and except for the rare, widely-publicized weddings or funerals, by and great we do what they tell us. Surely there is enough good behavior at the bank to sneak into a quick Thanksgiving meeting?
Obviously, it is not the only answer to this. This is not how viruses work. Movement and socialization guarantee viral spread, and you cannot negotiate your way out. Since the pandemic began, it has served as a strange thought experiment to consider that if everyone in the entire world had been able to stay home for two weeks, the entire disaster would have stopped. As in almost all other areas of life, we are still our worst enemies.
I should probably cancel my modest Thanksgiving plans, freaked out by the numbers and the knowledge that I’ll be contributing to a general laxity that will only prolong this endless final phase of the pandemic. I also know that through many internal weasel litigation I have already made up my mind. It is dark at 4 in the afternoon, the president has not yet relented and now the children have been expelled from school. The balance of the universe requires a small contribution of joy that does not come from watching HBO excessively.
Next Thursday we’ll bundle up, put on our masks, and sit in the subway for an hour to visit friends in Brooklyn. At the Thanksgiving table there will be five adults and three children, comfortably within Cuomo’s restraints, and in a relaxed manner, wrecked by school attendance, babysitting, and the large number of people in the playgrounds. recess, people we have defined since the summer as being part of our pack. It will probably be fine, at the same time that we are defiantly dumb and proof of how much of our lives are governed by magical thinking.
The other day, as I was exiting the elevator in my building, I realized that I had forgotten to put on a mask, and during the few moments it took me to turn around and go back, I did something so childishly absurd that it has stopped. my mind for the irrationality of this entire period: I held my breath.
• Emma Brockes is a columnist for The Guardian
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.