Have you ever been late without a real good reason? If you’re like me, you tell yourself, “it’s 15 minutes away!” When you put the address into GPS, it turns out your destination is in Topeka, Kan. You have no excuse, other than time is a construct.
But maybe on the way, something wild happens, stopping traffic and making you even later. While it’s true you were going to be late no matter what, you may now say, “You’ll never believe it. A pterodactyl landed on the highway. It was wearing leggings and carrying a very large fire extinguisher.” And your lack of punctuality is forgiven!
If you followed that, join me at “the point.” The ongoing situation is a highway pterodactyl for the holidays. You have a perfect excuse not to go. A chance to press pause on socializing.
Let’s gather the data around 2020. A) There is an exasperating disease going around, and B) There is an exasperating election going around.
COVID-19 cases are back on the rise as we wait for a vaccine, just in time to coincide disastrously with the holidays. First, it’s Thanksgiving, that bastion of family togetherness and awkward conversations around obscene amounts of creamed comestibles.
Ah, memories. Sitting at the kids table when you are 34. Hearing about bowel obstructions between bites of mashed potatoes. Warning your children that Uncle Gary might say some things we’ll talk about on the ride home.
In these divided times, family relations may be more strained than usual. Conspiracy theories are sliding around corners like evil toadstools in Super Mario. Whereas certain topics were once off-limits in polite society, your relations may show up in gowns made of campaign flags.
Perhaps you have the best intentions to be safe at a gathering. But do the people in your clan believe in social distancing? Will your cousin Sharee accidentally use your wine glass while you are in the bathroom? Will your nephew Tyler show you his new pet, only to reveal it is the monkey from the movie Outbreak?
Were there no social restrictions, you would have to make a choice. You would, perhaps, have to be… shudder… honest. Your words may come off hostile and wrong, and you may never be invited back.
But the pandemic affords an opportunity to cool off without cutting anyone out of your life. Politely decline due to safety concerns. Stay home and eat the piece of the feast you love the most (it’s stuffing. It’s always stuffing).
Look ahead to 2021, when we can get back to what really matters. Smiling politely while your niece, who is not good at piano, plays piano for far too long.
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