Groundhog Day by
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As I enter pandemic year three, with my dance card now full after my fourth Covid vaccine jab, life is more confusing than ever. I know many people feel like they are done with this pandemic. Yet, even in a community like mine with a high vaccination rate, I keep hearing about people who test positive. The BA.2 variant is taking over the east coast. The mayor of Philadelphia has reinstated the indoor mask ordinance, effective April 18, because Covid cases rose more than 50% in 10 days. Can other cities be far behind? As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Oh no, it’s BA.2!

As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It's déjà vu all over again.”

Life feels much the same for me as last year — not as bad as the year one lockdown, but also no where near normal. I’m not sure I even remember what normal felt like. I live in a high rise, so we still have to wear masks in the elevator and common spaces, a policy I applaud. Most people still wear them in grocery stores and other large indoor spaces. But as days pass, even with cases slowly climbing, I see more unmasked faces.

Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing people’s faces and expressions. Recently, my granddaughter’s dance ensemble performed unmasked for the first time since March, 2020. The audience was masked and carded and the dancers wore masks backstage, but seeing the joy on their faces added so much to the performance. On the other hand, mask optional policies in schools worry me because the vaccination rate among younger students is still pretty low.

Great to see her lovely face

My peers are all over the place about their pandemic safety practices. Most see it as a risk/benefit decision and are willing to risk plane or car travel to see their close friends, families, and grandkids. Some have started going to restaurants and live performances. I’m probably on the more cautious side and don’t miss restaurants all that much. But having order-in dinners with the same friends and family, while still very enjoyable, does feel a bit like Bill Murray’s 1993 classic movie Ground Hog Day.

In Ground Hog Day, Murray plays weatherman Phil Connors, who has been assigned to cover groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and the festivities, an assignment he feels is beneath him. On February 2, Phil awakens to Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” playing on the clock radio. When a blizzard strikes the area, he can’t leave Punxsutawney, and every morning after that, he relives the same day, February 2. Phil is trapped in a time loop in which, no matter what he does, he wakes up to the same day.

This movie is the perfect metaphor for pandemic, year three. No matter what choices I make and how different one day seems from the next, I wake up in the same world in which 80 vaccinated people who attended the Gridiron Club dinner have tested positive for Covid. They include Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Reps. Joaquin Castro and Adam Schiff, and Sen. Susan Collins. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also tested positive last week. I may as well be stuck in my pandemic story for last year’s Retrospect, All Vaccinated and Nowhere to Go.

I could go on with my tale, but much like last year’s story, I have to make a Passover Seder tonight. Same menu and guests (my in-town daughter’s family). The Seder Haggadah ends optimistically, “Next year in Jerusalem.” I can only hope that next year, I will be able to say I saw our son’s family in Boston, attended our granddaughter’s graduation, made it to some special events for our grandkids, went to a couple of weddings, and didn’t panic when I forgot to wear my mask.

The groundhog predicts many more days of the same pandemic

 

 

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: been there, funny, moving, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, the photo of your granddaughter is spectacular. She is so lovely and yes, seeing her face helps so much. I understand the hesitancy about going unmasked in confined settings with other people. I don’t wear a mask to my gym, but do in the grocery store, where I don’t know people’s vaccination status.

    I, too, had the 4th jab, as soon as we came home from CA, almost two weeks ago. I wanted it onboard before we head back to London on May 4, though BA.2 has already come and gone there (but is rising here in the Boston area). We spoke with the London kids yesterday, who follow this all very closely and were VERY careful during the rise of Omicron. They say almost no one is wearing masks at this point and everything is wide open.

    Our Seattle kid has been extremely cautious, won’t eat in a restaurant, but is having some friends over today. So it varies according to risk tolerance.

    Ground Hog Day is a great analogy. Bill Murray does learn and grow as a human being with each iteration. I hope our population does too.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Ah, Betsy, if only we could see signs of sanity and growth of kindness and humanity in our country. Thanks for the complement. Loved seeing her joyful face to go with her dancing. I still can’t unmask in the grocery store, although every week more and more people do.

  2. Marian says:

    Great recap of how most of us feel, Laurie. I am very happy for your granddaughter that she got to dance unmasked. Seems as if we might need to sneak out when case rates are low and then resume our isolation. Just found out yesterday that my neighbors all had COVID. They are OK but the dad travels to the UK for business and the kids are in school. Not good … I applaud your energy and willingness to take each day, even if it is Groundhog Day, at a time.

  3. Thanx for your story Laurie, I feel much the same as you, but am feeling cautiously optimistic.

    In fact we’re planning to travel by plane next month for the first time since this nightmare began. But we’ll see how things are as the date approaches, and have no qualms about cancelling at the last minute if common sense dictates!

    Your granddaughter is lovely!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    The perfect metaphor for the endless COVID! If that was a picture you f your granddaughter dancing—it was beautiful. It makes perfect time sense to continue with caution—the new variants are just so contagious—but the silver lining is that being vaccinated makes a HUGE difference if/when you get it. Hard to imagine there won’t be a “pandemic year four” prompt, but it might be kicked aside by other difficult (or happy—let’s be optimistic) prompts.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I sure hope we don’t have to write about a year four! Right now, it’s baby steps for me. And yes, that’s one of my granddaughters. Other grandkids are more into sports than performing, so this drama queen often ends up in my stories.

  5. John Shutkin says:

    What a great analogy to Groundhog Day, Laura! I hadn’t thought of the pandemic that way before and you really nailed it. And illustrated it beautifully, both with the words of your tale and the great pictures, from the movie and otherwise.

    And, as noted, I share your COVID ambivalence. I love having greater freedom, but I don’t think we are really there yet from a safety standpoint — we’re all just sick of it. Dr. Fauci advising “common sense” these days is, I realize, just code for “I can’t make these morons listen to me anymore.” And who knows where we will all be a year from now? (Other than Trump still proclaiming he won in 2020.)

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Kudos to my brother, who first put that idea into my head when I asked him what was new. Even if Trump “never loses 2020” in his and his follower’s idiotic minds, I hope he is convicted of something/anything before 2024. I agree that we are all sick of Covid, but I also fear that, in our haste to be free of it, we may put ourselves at risk. I know lots of fully vaccinated people who have had it recently. Not pleasant but at least survivable at home.

  6. Dave Ventre says:

    At this point I’d not be surprised if we discover that we’ve all had it at some point. I am convinced that I got it at the end of 2109, and my wife a week later.

    It does seem like we are on some sort of miserable Möbius strip, though. I have stopped following the news; I can get depressed all on my own without the doomscrolling.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I totally agree regarding the news. I can’t watch the war in Ukraine 24/7, ad I can’t look at the daily pandemic numbers inch up again in my community. You are right that in the end, this will be like the flu, making most of us miserable from time to time, even though we dutifully get our vaccines.

  7. Suzy says:

    Great analogy to Groundhog Day, Laurie – but in that movie he keeps learning things and figuring out how to do the day better. Our country doesn’t seem to be paying attention. Anyway, I echo what everyone else has said (the advantage of commenting late), and especially how beautiful and joyous your dancing granddaughter is.

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