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Covid & Me: I Was Bad, But I’ll Be Better

I was bad. I admit it and I’m sorry. On Thanksgiving, I joined a dozen or so friends and some strangers, too, for a feast.

We sat outdoors on a farm. Sadly, we did not practice social distancing and we did not wear masks or any facial covering. I ate, I drank, I talked and I went home. I felt well, though more than full on goose and pie. I had no COVID-19 symptoms: no fever, no cough, no diarrhea. I took pictures of the Thanksgiving gathering and posted one of them on my Facebook page. Someone saw it and wrote a comment in which she expressed real concern that we didn’t follow COVID-19 protocol. That was the first awareness that I’d done something wrong. Then I saw a health practitioner and told her about my Thanksgiving. She nearly freaked out, though she was kind and caring. She insisted that I be tested.

I called a phone number, went online and made an appointment for a test at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. I found it challenging to locate the actual site. After all, the fairgrounds are large; signage was in my view inadequate.

I parked my car and joined the line which went quickly. A woman in white, and with all the necessary protections, stuck a stick in both nostrils and gathered what she needed.

I went home, I carried on, wore my mask and did the social distancing thing. A few days after the test I heard that I was negative. I told all my friends the good news.

I’m writing this now because I want to say that I was as bad as anyone else. Maybe I wasn’t bad, just sloppy and stupid. Before I went to that Thanksgiving gathering, I thought that “other” people didn’t wear masks and didn't remain 6 feet apart. Suddenly I was one of them, and I had a Ph.D and was a professor emeritus at Sonoma State University.

I realized that all my supposed “smarts” didn’t help me when it came to Thanksgiving and COVID-19. I know that I went to my friend’s farm because I didn’t want to be home alone. I wanted to share the time and the experience. Now I’m thinking of Christmas.

I don’t know what I’ll do or where I’ll go, if anywhere. I know that I can stay home, be by myself, prepare a meal, say grace, go to bed early and be happy.

(Jonah Raskin is a professor emeritus at Sonoma State University. He lives in Cotati.)

One Comment

  1. Mitch Clogg January 10, 2021

    What the hell kind of personal note is that, professor? Is it about your sad solitude, your narrow escape, your awakening? What do you profess? I hope it’s not Creative Writing. You’re a lousy storyteller. Your self-criticism has a laughably hollow sound. You sound like a bit of a jackass, professor. What other great advice do you have for us to get through this plague?

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