Friday, July 15, 2022

CoViD-19: Breaking Free of Isolation | San Diego Enters CDC High Community Transmission Risk |


Ajani the Mandrill Smiling (Taken 7.14.22)

Posting this is a little premature. 

I guess everything I'm doing is a little bit premature. 

I took a home test on Wednesday and the positive line was so faint, I declared my battle won. I geared up to go to the San Diego Zoo in the evening, then thought better of it. I was sure I could make it until Friday.

Alas, I could not. And Darren had the day off on Thursday and the weekend could get a little crazy with Nova coming back from her on-campus UCSD residential program and PRIDE events and I took another test -- again with a line so faint and only visible in the bright outside daylight -- and declared myself officially over it. SHAME! SHAME! To be fair, the literature here is super murky. After re-reading tonight, I think I now know that any positive test is still positive and "dead virus" isn't being read on home antigen tests, only in lab PCR tests, so justifying one for the other was a mistake or intentionally confusing or whatever. 

Point is, I went out in public, with an N95, and people suck so bad at boundaries that IF I still have live virus and IF it can escape my mask and IF anyone caught it from me, then they should've backed the fuck off in the first place without me having to bitch about personal space. There is no reason ever for a grown ass man, a total stranger, to touch my body EVER, let alone in COVID times, and least of all so you can photo-op with a gorilla. 

And now I join the selfish masses. I'm not going to stop living for a stupid virus.

It's a lie, of course. I thought I was doing the right thing, I guess it just depends what you read. I'm still living in a separate studio from Darren and sleeping on a cot. The second cot I'm sleeping on, by the way, because I was leaning over to grab something on Wednesday night and put too much weight on a fragile end pole of the first cot and broke it. It's not unusable but I'm not using it while I sleep down here, that's for sure. 

And so this is my current predicament. I'm living life...going to the Zoo, having dinner and drinks with Darren (outside, of course), and trying to ease into normal life, all the while the thought of being in shared indoor space with anyone ever gives me the heebie jeebies, even being outdoors freaks me out if I'm not free to move often and away from anyone, certainly not being within a sneeze length of any strangers, inside or out.  I could just keep testing with home tests indefinitely until we completely run out and still get that ever so faint line, or I can just do my best, get to ten days --- YAY FRIDAY -- and carry on.  

The burden is real.

San Diego has been in high case transmission for nearly two months. This week, we moved into "high community transmission" under the CDC's standards which takes cases + hospitalizations + hospital beds into some unknown maths. That is a really big deal. The County has no courage to mandate masks again, but if they did, they would've been mandated two months ago, if not especially now. 

I don't know if I need to lay this out, but I'm on an extended show hiatus. And shopping. And I haven't eaten inside a restaurant in over two years. That's not changing. If you in the very rare, off-chance see me, maybe just say hi from a distance. And for those of you in public without masks, I really have nothing to say to you. Like, nothing. Please don't talk to me. Mind your space and spit and aerosols. Unless you catch me at the Zoo --- outside and distanced and minding my business. That, I think I'm allowed. And maybe I'll say hi. But only if you're wearing a mask and mind goddamn normal human spatial boundaries. 

Stay safe out there. 

I will say this. A Zoo trainer once told me that while most animals, particularly apes and related animals, show their teeth in anger or threat, that mandrills actually SMILE. Before I got sick, I would spend a lot of time with Ajani and Isoke, but then there was some construction on their habitat so I hadn't seen them in a very long time. On Thursday, when it was quiet and still and nobody else was around, I got some time with both boys. They do this full teeth smile, but I almost never capture it because I'm just trying to BE with them. Thus, not my greatest photo ever, but it means so much to me. 

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