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I Will Out-Argue You: Quarantine Edition

By Anne T. Donahue

Every day, I inch closer to running through my neighbourhood streets and shouting nonsense (read: various One Direction conspiracy theories) until I’ve scared everybody enough to go back inside. Now, I likely won’t end up doing that because I don’t like to run and I don’t want to emotionally scar families and children. But I do want to issue several Julia Roberts-in-Erin Brockovich lectures that embody my frustration at watching some people believe that because it’s sunny and warm outside, germs don’t exist anymore.

So from me to you: here’s this. My counter-argument to every “But I—” COVID-19 theory you could ever hear to make sure you’re prepared. You know I’m right, but please read anyway.

You: “It’s a conspiracy!”
Me: My cousin sent me three messages this week in response to a post I made about the virus not being over just because we want it to be. Each of his messages were ridiculous, and I didn’t read through all of them because I refuse to waste my own time, so instead of writing back, “Would you like to say this to everyone who’s had it or to families of those who died as a result?” (though that would’ve been a great burn), I blocked him forever because I only ever see him when I bump into him in public by mistake.

But here’s the thing: I do not have time for your conspiracy theories in 2020. If you think the government is making up a pandemic as a way to . . . control . . . industry (?) there is much more going on in your life than I can possibly understand. But I will say this: get over it. Just get over it. Who is this for? What are you rallying against? What do you want at this point? What do you think you’re going to do? Change minds? Then what? Are you going to stand outside of public buildings, holding signs, looking like weirdos? A conspiracy theory? About a virus? In this economy? Also, my cousin did try to argue that no virus has ever had a vaccine developed against it. This is untrue, and also an idiotic thing to say. Shout-out to smallpox (caused by the variola virus), eradicated in 1980. Good day.

You: “I hate wearing a mask!”
Me: Oh you do? You hate wearing a mask? Well, I hate the threat of myself or the people I love facing a cruel and untimely death. It’s fabric. You’re wearing fabric. It’s fine. Remember how many times you’ve dressed up for Halloween? Remember how you likely go to bed each night, all tucked in with blankets past your shoulders? Remember how most masks we’re all wearing aren’t even close to being as thick as the DIY versions we fashioned ourselves out of scarves back in March? I do, I remember, because I was stuffed up from my allergies and had to mouth-breathe through nine layers of rayon. You do what you’ve got to do. Just pretend you’re the new character on Grey’s Anatomy and begin every conversation with, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives!”

You: “I’m bored!”
Me: So! Am! I! I am very bored! Do you think I like hanging out with only my parents for the last 90-ish days? (I love them so much, but honestly I would kill for a night with my pals.) But we’re not children in daycare, we’re adults in quarantine. So find your own fun. Read a book. Watch TV. Roam around outside like a Sim. Take up collaging and believe your loved ones when they say they love it. (They don’t. Unless you collage by trade, all of our collages look like assignment folders made in eighth grade.) Go to the grocery store and take a really long time trying to decide which ice cream to buy. Yes, this is boring. Life is boring. Boring is a luxury. Boring means you haven’t died. I love being boring. Frankly, I’m quite grateful to be bored. So stop complaining.

You: “Well it’s summer!”
Me: What does this mean? I don’t understand. Yes, it’s summer! Congratulations, time is passing! But also: so what? Do you think COVID overheard us and is very embarrassed to have infringed on our season? “Oh, I’m so sorry!” I imagine you thinking it’s saying. “I didn’t know. I honestly . . . oh my God, I’m embarrassed. I’ll see myself out, I’m a spring girl only.” COVID doesn’t care. It doesn’t have ears. It’s a disgustingly-shaped organism that makes me sick. Also, lots of terrible viruses exist in the summer. I scored West Nile back in 2003, and believe me when I tell you that for one blessed week in July, and the only thing that saved me was repeated trips to Blockbuster. And guess what doesn’t exist anymore. Heaven help us.

The thing is, the novelty of existing in the midst of a pandemic is hugely over. We’re used to it in a weird, compartmentalized way. But that’s how it goes. We were never given a deadline, nor was anyone adequately prepared. This, my friends, is a suck-fest. And the only guarantee we have is that there are no guarantees. Maybe by August it’ll all be over! Or maybe in December, we learn to prep for a Christmas consisting only of five people. It sucks! This sucks. This sucks and I hate it! But do I want to hear about why you think it’s a conspiracy and that masks are beneath you? No. I’m warm and I’m irritable. I live in a suck-fest.

Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!

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