No more pandemic excuses – this Thanksgiving we are going to a party | Emma Brockes squib

Covid is finally starting to recede into the background to join all the other risks we accept as part of living our lives

One of the hardest things about adjusting to life in late-stage Covid has been the making and seeing through of plans. A sniffle – or, more probably, a child’s sniffle – can get you out of anything and, far from looking like an excuse, still be presented as selfless deference to public health. I have been out twice this week, to Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera, and on both occasions have had to fight the urge to cancel at the last minute. Now it’s Thanksgiving and 53 million Americans – only a fraction fewer than pre-pandemic numbers – are expected to be on the move. It’s a celebration, a reunion, and given the atrophied state of our social muscles, also kind of a drag.

For many of us it is strange, simply, to have plans. On the morning of Thanksgiving, my kids and I are travelling 45 minutes north of our home in New York for lunch with friends and extended family. My dad has flown in from London. Other guests are travelling from the midwest, and returning from college campuses. It is the first time we will have attended a party in someone’s house for almost two years, and in the days running up to it, figuring out the rules – or rather, remembering there are rules to figure out – has been hard. Last year, no one was vaccinated. This year, most of the adults present will have had three vaccinations and even the six-year-olds have had one. We’re over the line. Aren’t we?

Emma Brockes is a Guardian columnist

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