Back to a Future Past…

I’ve been afraid to state an opinion.

Afraid to rock a precariously tiny boat on very troubled seas.

A friend recently suggested I “Woman up” or, in essence, to stop being a coward.

So here goes:

I am truly terrified of COVID-19. Everything I’ve read convinces me this is a plague of biblical proportions. And that’s saying something coming from an agnostic!

But even more than a highly contagious disease, I am afraid to lose friendships because of COVID-19. So afraid, that I have not asked people to wear masks when I’m in close proximity. Even though I have worn mine in my yard…while by myself…while weeding.

I desperately cling to friendships, even when the cling-ee isn’t that keen on tolerating the stranglehold I have on them. I have lost friendships before. I will likely lose friendships again. Possibly over this. And I truly hate the thought.

I have been a coward; and I’m going to try very hard to stop. But even contemplating telling my friends my position, I’m feeling a welling, choking sensation I haven’t felt for years.


I had a job once at a place we’ll aptly refer to asDeepHell University.” It was in the fundraising department. I had a very challenging boss who, in her defense, had a very weird secretary. Me. I was the secretary.

(TRUE CONFESSION: I accidentally read a highly personal email from one of her friends when the I.T. guys accidentally linked my new email to my boss’s mail system–and I read it…and replied to it…at length…because I literally did not understand what the internet was and how it differed from emails.) This happened the very first day I worked there, but the boss forgave me. Kind of.

We managed a rocky half-year of an increasingly challenging relationship. This boss made me nervous. Like cat-on-a-hot-plate-in-a-room-full-of-rabid-pit-bulls, nervous. I took everything she said as criticism or complaints. I felt stupid, clumsy, and unsuited to the job. Everything I heard sounded like blame and hostility. I became so nervous I would plot a course around the entire department in hopes of avoiding seeing her. (Her office was right next to me, but around a corner.) It got so bad, I started doing a thing. A thing I did NOT know I was doing. I started holding my breath. I passed out several times before finally wising up and seeking professional help. I’m lucky I didn’t give myself permanent brain damage via concussion or oxygen deprivation. I have never been so grateful to be fired from a job in my life.


So, if you see me, and I keep a six foot distance from you while you are unmasked, do not be surprised and try not to take offense. Please understand, I am not judging anyone. I am not trying to make any kind of political statement. I’m just trying to make the best choice I can in a very bad time in our world.

I’m supposed to see family tomorrow. They prefer to go maskless. (Apparently they didn’t have the same fantasies about becoming Zorro I did as a child.) I really want to see them but I’m also a ticking time bomb of terror–albeit one with a love of alliteration. It tears my heart in two when I’m faced with this dilemma. I don’t want to be considered a nagging worrywart. And yet, if the wart fits…

So I’m asking them to move the get together into the backyard. And crossing my fingers that I am not dropped from future invitations of this kind–especially seeing as I organized this one. But my family has forgiven flakier behavior than this. [More on this topic in another blog post. I’ve confessed enough for one day. It’s best to spread the crazy out a little bit at a time.]

I’d like to think someday we’ll be safer and these extreme measures won’t be necessary. But that future isn’t here yet. (I’m feeling an overwhelming need to throw in another Back to the Future reference, but I’m coming up blank. You’ll just have to picture me driving a Deloreann and wearing a white, fright wig.)

And for those of you too young to get that reference, here’s a YouTube clip. (Proving I am slightly more technologically capable than my younger self.)

Back to The Future Present Tense–Plague Edition

Do you hate me now?

If you knew that, by catching COVID-19 there is no one who can watch my son, would that make a difference? Any sign of even a cold nowadays, and I lose all the help that comes into my home throughout the week. Help that keeps me from going bat-guano crazy. If I really caught COVID, I would be on my own, struggling to take care of a special needs child and afraid to ask anyone to help because I just couldn’t risk exposing somebody else to the disease.

So I will wear a mask. I will try to stay a six foot distance away. And I will not hold my breath waiting for others to understand. I am scared. For all of us!

In parting, I ask you, my viewing audience:

What would you do if you had to choose between friends…and safety?

What would you choose?

…a question that tempts me to include the following:

34 thoughts on “Back to a Future Past…

  1. I’ve lost patience with the nonmaskers and COVID deniers. I think this is a very good practice at setting boundaries, being okay with them, and if they are not honored, then that person may not be a good person to have in one’s life. Unfortunately poor leadership has turned a public health crisis into a political debate, which means we’re all left to our own devices for risk assessment.
    We can choose to become stronger in adverse conditions or give in to the malaise that is complacency and potentially die or live with chronic illness. Worse yet, we could sail through, but infect and hurt someone else. Temporary inconveniences and some creative skills will get us through this pandemic faster than anything else. You made a good decision.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kiri dear, you are doing the absolutely right thing for you and Alexi. If you lose any friends as a result of that, they aren’t very good friends. Do what you must to protect yourself without regret or apologies to anyone. I would make the same choice myself, safety over friends.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It took a friend kind of yelling at me about my crazy choices to remind me that, uh, yeah, I’m somewhat immuno-compromised as of last year. Radiation + lungs = Don’t Catch Even a Fecking Cold!

      But, the pathological drive to get together with friends is a strong one. So, if I want to do it, I ask if they are okay with the great outdoors.

      Things might get dicey from about November through April though…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you have to choose between friends and safety… are they really friends?

    I accept all manner of bizarre behavior from my friends. All 3 or 4 of them. They accept my own idiosyncrasies. Both of them. My own aspie-ness and nudie-ness are probably much bigger hurdles than wearing a mask and staying outside.

    You can think your friend is being whacked out and weird and still be their friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This explains so much. (I’ve wondered what the Au Natural part of your handle signified, but was too polite to ask.)

      I’ll say this…you can be nude around me as long as you agree to wear a mask if we get closer than six feet! Deal?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL! Obviously haven’t checked out any of my older posts. Go to my main page and click on the Naturist header… 🙂 No need to be polite around me, I’m quite out of the closet about it these days.

        I also have an Asperger header you might be interested in. The diagnosis didn’t exist when I was a kid, you were just a bad person or retarded or whatever. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 59.

        I’ve hated clothing my entire life. I know many Aspies do not like the feel of textiles against their skin but for me I think it goes even deeper than that. OTOH I grew up in a extremely conservative family in a fundamentalist community, so that was a non starter. I had to learn to “pass” in many ways.

        In the mean time:


      2. Oh, it just hit me. AU could stand for Autistic. Doh! *slaps forehead*

        I’ll try to check it out, but my phone couldn’t load the site. Must be using up the WiFi or something. My phone is an old iPhone 6–which is practically an antique. I think it’s getting dementia.


      1. If friendship is contingent on proximity–we are all doomed. I have a fairly broad definition of friendship, as a necessity, otherwise I might feel I had no friends at all.

        Jeff, if you really need a friend, you only have to ask. Most people can be friendly on line, it’s the in person commitments that are going to be on hold for the foreseeable future.

        That said, I can be a fair weather friend. Even people who’ve known me for years have come to accept that I drop off the face of the planet for months or years at a time, and then surface to look around for whoever is left post abandonment. So, if you have a day-to-day need, I might not be the friend you are looking for!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I actually have plenty of online friends (but I accept your offer anyway), it’s the ones you need to social distance from that I’m lacking. With that said, volunteering with my son’s team is helping the IRL process.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I applaud your willingness to approach children under normal circumstances. While balls and equipment are involved, even more so.
        *bows head respectfully*


      4. Might make for an interesting cross-over sport though. Like when people go target shooting and cross-country skiing at the olympics. Baseball on Bikes. Considering what people are watching instead of traditional summer sports–it’s not that far fetched.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Safety comes first. And if choosing safety for yourself, your son, and others around you jeopardizes any friendships, well,maybe they aren’t really friends. You are not over-reacting to COVID. It is dangerous, and masking/social-distancing are our best strategies for staying safe.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Choose safety, every time. Take no criticism for your priorities. Hard to understand from here how mask-wearing divides people, especially those who love one another. Your mask protects me, and mine protects you. Friends and loved-ones should at the least respect your desire to do what YOU believe to be best for you and your son. Stay healthy. x

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ahh! Yes I now have a tasteful selection of linen masks to suit every outfit too. Now, if only there was somewhere to actually GO!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been puttering in my garden wearing one. Two ladies walking home got to admire it. Perhaps you need to post some selfies of your mask to get it some exposure?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve struggled with the same dilemma you’ve so artfully described. I’m single, living with two dogs, no family nearby. If I became so sick I needed hospitalization, who would care for my dogs? Recently, the one friend I agreed to meet with socially for a glass of wine on her deck (outside!) with another friend, all of us mask-less, wrote to say a few days later that she had been “coughing up a lung” so went to get tested for Covid-19. Yikes! Knowing I had been with her two days before her symptoms started, I had my first serious worry about being infected. I was forced to create a plan, address all the what-ifs that come with becoming infectious and sick. Not fun, and I don’t have a child to worry about, as you do! Thankfully my friend got negative results back less than 48 hrs later so my anxiety decreased significantly. But there’s a lingering worry, and I won’t be caving to well-meaning pressure to socialize again. Just not worth it. If friends don’t understand, they’re not people I want/need in my life. It’s hard, but many of us are learning that we truly need to put ourselves first, no matter how many toes we step on, because we can’t help those we love most if we’re sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being single in any circumstances would be hard. Living without interactions of any sort is tough unless you are very reclusive and good with the silence in the room. I’ve done pretty well, but, I’ve been careless about safety. Forgetting not to touch my face or, heaven forbid, rubbing my eyes if I’m out and about. It’s tough being vigilant all the time, especially knowing one screw up can have such significant consequences. Stay safe and I’ll hope you make through unscathed and your dogs are your happy companions throughout.


  7. If a choice even occurs, they are not your friends.

    Friends understand.

    If they don’t understand they are not friends, they are random wankers who have wandered into your life. I am completely flummoxed by this total fear fest about masks. I’m in the same boat as you. There are two of us but there is no-one here who can look after McMini if we get sick. We get sick and he has to go to my brother 300 miles away and the cat starves I guess. There is nobody else close who doesn’t have loved ones they will risk by looking after him. Furthermore my mother is 86. She has dementia. These are our last months together before she turns into someone different. I am sure as fuck wearing a mask so I can carry on going to see her and enjoying her company these last precious few months. And if other folks refuse, they can fuck off.

    I totally understand your point of view. I do not know where this anti mask stuff has come from. For the most part, wearing a mask is a lot less likely to kill you than covid 19. It seems to be mentalist, bat shit crazy right wing hype. What the far right think they gain by it I have no clue. I guess they just like to see people hating on one another.

    Do what you gotta do and sod em all.

    Take care you,


    Liked by 1 person

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