This cool mask came in the mail last night, made by my sister Mary in Montana from a Kamala Harris campaign bandana given her by her daughter Gwen, one of my favorite nieces and now even more so. It could not have come at a more opportune time, because Donna and I had just learned her sister Robin and husband John would be in Phoenix tomorrow and were planning on driving down to see us in the afternoon. And they’re Republicans, and you know what that means.
My first thought, which I’m glad I kept to myself, was that in flying from Detroit to Phoenix they’d be rubbing shoulders with hundreds of total strangers, and would roll into our driveway on day one of the fourteen-day COVID-19 incubation period, with no way to know whether they’d contracted the virus or not.
What I said aloud was that it’s the wrong time for a visit, not just because of the pandemic but because we know their political views and can anticipate they won’t be wearing masks and will want handshakes and hugs and general familial closeness, which puts the two of us in the position of having to figure out how to keep us all safe, insisting they mask up, and … well, the pending visit loomed over me all night, more so because Robin and John are family and we haven’t seen them in forever, and not wanting them to visit just now made me a cold-hearted selfish jerk (how would I have reacted if my own sister Mary called to say she was dropping by tomorrow?), so when Donna offered to call them back and ask them not to come, I said no, we’ll figure something out and make it work. And then I tossed and turned in bed all night.
Turns out Donna was tossing and turning as well. When we woke up today she said again she was going to call and ask them not to come. I repeated what I’d said the night before, that we’d make it work somehow, but she told me she’d been thinking all night about how easily they might be exposed to the virus at the airport or on the plane, and that none of us would know whether we’d been exposed in turn for a couple of weeks, and she reminded me we’re in our 70s, prime targets for the ‘rona. She’d had the same inner conversation I’d had the night before, without any prompting from me. So when she said a third time she was going to call Robin and cancel, I didn’t disagree.
And she did, and the visit’s off, and I am so relieved. Not totally relieved, because I suspect that even though Donna came to the same conclusions about the risk of exposure I’d kept to myself, my name’s on the blame line for the cancelled visit.
There’s a sub-Reddit called Am I the Asshole? where people seek reassurance through shared stories with titles like “AITA for asking my husband to turn down his dream job for my career?” and “AITA for threatening to sue my mom?” I’m tempted to share my own: “AITA for pressuring my wife to ask her sister not to visit?” But I already have a pretty good idea how I’d fare in the court of public opinion.
Anyway, when Donna asked me to made Buffalo wings tonight, I fell all over myself saying “Yes!”
© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.