Because of the pandemic, for the past two years, like Repunzel, I’ve been confined to my retirement tower with no hope of visitors. My 85th birthday came and went without a friend’s hug which is why I have sympathy for Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Yes, he was caught celebrating Christmas at #10 Downing Street, but people need people.
To follow Dr. Fauci’s medical advice has been as unwelcome as being told to lose weight after I’ve purchased a bag of glazed donuts. Nonetheless, like most patriots, I’ve bared my arm to three doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the past two years. Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Americans have done the same. Their reluctance has given the virus room to surf from one unvaccinated individual to the next, mutating as it goes. Omicron is the latest iteration. The medical jury is out on its potency, but anecdotal evidence suggests it will be as dangerous as the Delta virus that preceded it.
Omicron’s arrival couldn’t come at a worse time. By now most of us who have been good soldiers had hoped December would see us celebrating with old friends. There’s little hope of that with the new variant in the wings.
Social mavens with more experience than I have given the obstacles to socializing much thought and come up with some survival suggestions. A compendium of their advice appears in the new issue of Towne&Country. (“he Social Network,” by Marisa Meltzer, Towne&Country, Dec/Jan 2021, pg. 39-40.) Some continue to be super cautious about human contact. “Thank you, but no thank you,” says one who reigns supreme in San Francisco. Before she’ll raise a cocktail glass outside her apartment, there must be “complete vaccination compliance and plenty of fresh air.” May she live so long.
Keeping longevity in mind, another aficionado suggests limiting a guest list to 60. “I can do that!” I brightened. I’m 85. I’ve barely enough friends to fill a walk-in closet. Another expert advances the “virtual party” option. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for virtual canopies. A third proposes I ask “guests to show proof they’ve been vaccinated.” That’s logical. But would I have friends after I’ve blown up the trust issue?
One hostess with lots of cash suggests parking a mobile testing unit at the entrance to my event and paying for guests to be tested. Frankly, I’d rather donate to the preservation of crabgrass. What would I do with the used swabs?
Mask wearing is a tried and true precaution. But how do we eat, drink and be merry in masks?
Desperate for more advice, I flipped the magazine page and got lucky. Someone suggested I trust my friends when they say they are vaccinated. Wonderful! The idea is cheap and I wouldn’t have to skulk through a dark forest hoping to dump a bag of used swabs.
Of course, I’m not naïve. People do lie. To that end, I’ve invented a backup plan. My party invitation will come with a warning. Guests who fail to practice physical distancing will be sent home with a large fruitcake.