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.)