"You've got to go there to know there." -- Zora Neale Hurston

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Are You Bored?

     One of the side-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is that we are all, collectively, bored out of our minds.

     We've been stuck at home, limiting social engagements, living a circumscribed life, falling into an unrelenting daily monotony. We've tried to cope. Technology has helped us out. But I know several people who have told me: "I will never do another Zoom meeting for the rest of my life!"

     Now we are getting out more. I've read that airline bookings are way up, hotels are filled to capacity, restaurants are back in business. But we are still vulnerable. Covid-19 cases are up. New cases have doubled in the past month as Omicron subvariants have spread across the country. According to the NY Times, several states from Maine to Hawaii have seen case counts surpass even the levels of last year's Delta surge.

     But most people -- especially younger people -- are so bored they are willing to take the risk, the risk of getting sick. Younger people don't care. They think: What's the problem? Covid is no worse than getting a cold. Older people are a little more worried, but it's hard to generalize. We have friends who go to restaurants and indoor events, masks be damned. Others have been traveling. One of B's oldest friends is right now on a plane to Hawaii.

     So I wonder: Where do you stand? Are you traveling? Are you going to restaurants? Are you still worried, or do you have a post-Covid mindset?

     We've been trying to navigate the ups and downs of the pandemic. But it's almost impossible to predict what's going to happen. When case counts fell in the Northeast in February, we hightailed it down to South Carolina to see our grandchildren. But when we got there, we found that while cases had almost disappeared in Pennsylvania where we live, they were rising at an alarming rate in South Carolina.

     So all during February we wore masks when indoors. We ate at restaurants only outside -- which, in February, can be pretty chilly, even in South Carolina. The result of our efforts (or maybe it was just luck): We didn't get Covid.

     In March we made a trip to Wisconsin to see another grandchild. We flew American, which at the time required masks on its flights. Covid case levels were low. We still didn't eat indoors at a restaurants; but we felt reasonably comfortable going to the park, to the zoo, and hanging around the house with the family.

     Meanwhile, my sister who lives in Florida was planning a trip to New York City in April. She wanted to know: Did we want to meet her there for a few days?

     Sure, we said. We knew Covid cases were almost non-existent in New York. So we made plans. But of course by the time we actually drove up to New York, the last week in April, the prevalence of Covid was increasing.

     The result was that we ate dinner in our hotel room a couple of nights. We did hazard one trip to a restaurant, indoors. There were no vaccination restrictions, but we knew that most New Yorkers -- something like 90% -- are vaccinated. And the maitre d' was kind enough to seat us by an open window, for ventilation, while all the younger people congregated inside and around the bar. Some were masked; most were not.

     We'd also bought tickets to a show. At the venue they checked vaccination cards and required masks. And we managed to escape New York without getting Covid.

     Now my daughter is planning a trip to Italy this summer. She's young. She has no worries. And she wants us to come along. But I checked. Covid is at a "high risk" level throughout Italy. Masks are no longer required on airplanes. And besides. the plane fare seems astronomical! Has the price of tickets gone up that much just in the last few months?

     So we're not going to Italy. We're not that bored. But the weather's supposed to be nice next week. Maybe we'll go into town and have dinner at one of the outside eateries.


DJan said...

It would take a lot for me to get on a plane right now. And the bus? I am taking it, but I wear an N95 mask, as do most of the other riders. The driver often is unmasked, however. :-(

Rian said...

I'm with DJan. I still won't go on a plane (or any public transportation) yet. And yes, we're a little bored, but not bored enough to take unnecessary chances. We still don't go inside to restaurants (although if they're not crowded, I imagine they're pretty safe). We still wear our masks when out and about... although we don't go out and about much. We are planning a trip to visit family this summer. Do miss seeing everyone and look forward to it very much! Hope we don't get a another virus surge any time soon that could disrupt those plans. And we do have family members going to Hawaii this spring - but they are super vigilant and know they will wear masks and avoid crowds. And as far as going to another country is concerned... wouldn't want to be caught there and have to be quarantined!

Arkansas Patti said...

I am bored out of my skull but still taking precautions. Age and high risk are prime factors. I so miss social interactions. I just had a lovely visit with my brother but luncheons and gathering with friends are still iffy. We have a tentative luncheon scheduled for next Friday but we will all be watching the numbers before committing. Hate it but just would hate more to waste 2 years plus of caution for a meal and some laughs. Sigh.

ApacheDug said...

Maybe I'm missing a gene or something, but I've NEVER been bored, before the pandemic, during or after! Tom I think you've done more traveling this year than I have in 10 years! When I retired in 2015, my boss said "You better have some plans in motion or you'll be begging me for your job back in 6 months." It never happened. I like to putter around, read books, watch movies, bask in the glory of not working and living my own life--The End :^)

Tom said...

DJan, Like you, we'll think long and hard before we get on a plane again now that the masks are off. Doug, well, I read and watch movies and do those other things, too, but sometimes I just want more. That's when I eat! But seriously, those grandchildren do call, and we just gotta go see them.

Anonymous said...

I live in central NY, where the cases are high. No mask mandate, but I wear my mask in public places. I have a small bubble of people (family) that I'm comfortable being around unmasked.

I have two important (to me) reasons why I do not want to get COVID. Weekly I visit a great niece, 3 years old, who is not old enough to get the vaccine. I'd never forgive myself if I gave her this disease. The second reason is that I do not want to be a long hauler. I am well protected, vaccine and boosted x2, but even so am at risk for catching the virus due to age and autoimmune condition.

I have travel credits that I don't know if I'll be able to use (Road Scholar and Jet Blue). Am I bored? A bit. I do wish I could travel. That was my big plan for 2020; two trips to Europe planned and paid for! Will I ever get there? I'm doubtful. I'm trying to make the best of it. Last winter did a family trip to White Face Lodge. Lots of snowshoeing, fun family times. It was within driving distance, so no worries about flying and airports.


Barb said...

My county and general area is actually doing well, abbot to the contrary. I've never really though of myself as a risk taker but I am mainly non masking. I haven't been on a plane or in a crowded stadium. But I'm eating in restaurants, no longer masking in church and doing most of my day to day things. I have a road trio planned in August. I did go to Broadway Dallas where masks were required. I have chronic health issues. But my mental health and well being are equally important. As for bored, I spend a few days each week home a lone keeping me nusy and leave the house for at least something the other days.

Miss Merry said...

We don't always wear a mask. But we don't go much of anywhere either. We don't eat in restaurants, we don't go to indoor activities or crowded places. I do get a little stir crazy from time to time (warmer weather might help) but my husband is content staying home.

Rita said...

I'm glad you're being cautions. I think your caution is serving you well because you haven't gotten covid although you've done some traveling.

My daughter lives in Madrid, and I usually visit in May to celebrate our birthdays. However, I held off getting a ticket to get a better idea of what things would be like in May. When the Department of Transportation decided to take off the mask mandate for airplanes on April 18, I decided not to go. I didn't want to spend nine hours on airplanes with people not wearing masks.

Then, my granddaughter got covid over Easter vacation. She want on vacation with her dad and brother to visit her dad's family in the southeast Spain. I saw the photos. No one was wearing a mask. Fortunately, she wasn't very sick and was able to go to school and take her exams.

I hope I can travel at Christmastime.

Barbara said...

I'll not be getting on a plane for awhile. Will stay close to home where I can (somewhat) control things. Since January, we have been to 4 Broadway shows, all Covid postponed from the very beginning of the lockdown. In January, NY streets were virtually empty, so easy to walk to and from the Port Authority. Things picked up and by last week, everyone seemed to be back, including packed busses to and from NJ. I felt safe as masks were still required in the theater; though they were no longer checking vaccination status, most ticket holders bought them when they were required.

Mona McGinnis said...

Boredom hasn't been in my vocabulary for years. Pandemic restrictions certainly curtailed many activities. The things I missed the most were weekend stays at my cousin's or chatty lunches with friends. The social calendar was reduced to occasional dinners and card games with my "support animals". Concerts, dinner theatre, w/e away are slowly reappearing. I continue to wear a mask in crowded situations. The pandemic wasn't so hard on this retired homebody who lives alone in the country. Nature's seasons and it's requirements weren't curtailed by the pandemic.

Meryl Baer said...

I was stepping out more than a few months ago for a while. It was a joy to see people and talk face-to-face. But my husband recently had surgery and is now home recuperating. We are, once again, in semi-quarantine and very careful. I look forward to getting out - again - in a couple of weeks. We will be able to go to restaurants and eat outdoors. I can't wait.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Sometimes I feel like the only masked person in the county. Needless to say, we are planning a shirt trip to see our son, but that is all.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I always enjoy these posts when you get and give feedback from all over the country. Here in Tucson, the snowbirds have migrated north and we're cautiously enjoying outdoor patios at restaurants and outdoor walks and activities. We wear masks in crowds. We've planned a 2 hour plane trip in June to see family after 2 years and we'll be very cautious and will wear KN95 masks. Yes boredom comes and goes but staying healthy is #1. Currently busy watching a baby owl hatch and care for 2 owlets in the park!

Anonymous said...

I am so bored I can hardly stand it, although I am downsizing and that keeps me somewhat busy. So thankful for Netflix, Criterion Channel, etc., to bring much-needed media into our homes.

But I am really missing people. I occasionally see my two sisters, both of whom live 1 1/2-3 hours away, which helps a lot. I long to travel but will not get on an airplane, now that they have lifted the mask mandate, until the pandemic is well over (will that happen???) Fortunately, I love to drive so can content myself with car trips and have done that in a limited way.

I pick up food at restaurants and have eaten lunch inside on a couple of occasions when I noticed that there were VERY few people in the dining room. I'm looking forward to warmer weather when I can eat on patios more comfortably.


Janette said...

We are maskless. It is rare to see people in masks here. No one cares one way or the other. We are traveling the same amount as pre pandemic.At 65 and 72 we just don’t have that many go go years left. Hawaii in April, a number of trips to see my Mom, Baltimore at Christmas and again next month.Planes are packed and hotels are full. No one in our traveling parties got COVID. After Delta, masks disappeared(except on planes). I wish we had snagged tickets to Europe before this huge price run up. Our son is traveling monthly for his job again and is currently in Europe. I should have met him there.
I met up with my nephew and his daughter at my sister’s house for a memorial. They came from Portland and have been totally masked. My extended family is mask free- including the elders. I wore mine just to help the little one not be scared to touch me. When I took her to the park she covered her masked mouth when we got to a park…too many children were without masks. My heart sank for her and all the littles.
N95 are in our medicine tote. We are keeping them for the next one….but for now we are breathing and smiling.

Tom said...

Janette (and others) -- Good luck to you! Close friends of ours just got back from a week at Disneyworld. He got Covid (and was sick for three days, but no hospital). She didn't. Go figure.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

I'm in Florida a "live at your own risk" state. No mask mandate since almost the beginning, barely any dining restrictions back then, no ban on spring break. Hell, come on down, get covid, and then get the hell out and take it to your state is our state motto. I mask up when I go into stores, they are way too crowded. We still order take-out or delivery a lot, but we've been in several restaurants since we moved to Bradenton and I haven't been masking. But I don't go to crowded restaurants because I don't have the patience to wait.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I've stayed pretty busy but part of that is because we can go out and do things outside all year round where I live in Los Angeles. I have also flown and taken the train a few times but have always been careful, masked, vaxxed, boosted, and just plain lucky to not have gotten the virus up to this point.

Linda Myers said...

We flew from Tucson to Seattle a couple of weeks ago - masked, along with about half the passengers. We're planning a trip to Europe next month and are familiar with the rules that will be in place on our Road Scholar small ship cruise. We're careful in public places. So far I guess we've been lucky.