To: The Nemesis

On the way to Discovery Park this morning with the dogs we passed through the Ballard neighborhood, a part of town west and south of us that was first inhabited by the Shilshole people who were displaced by Nordic people in the mid-1800’s. As we passed the main drag, I reminisced out loud about how we’d wandered through the little old town part of the area last year about this time with Laura’s brother and his new boyfriend and wished that we could do that again this year. Laura was quiet for a minute and then said that lately she’s felt like every memory she has sets off twinges of melancholy and longing for a time when our degrees of freedom weren’t curtailed by Covid worries, when we could go and do so many more things than we can do now. She then tagged in how guilty she feels whenever she finds herself wanting anything – to be able to go out to dinner, to replace a pair of nearly worn out slippers, to plan an actual trip out of town – anything.

Actually, I’m projecting, she didn’t list out those specific things, they’re my current top three wishes, but I’m guessing hers aren’t all that different. In unpacking the mental minefields, which I dubbed ‘mindfields,’ we talked through how much more loaded the situation with Covid is because we’re so clearly not collectively in it together – not the two of us – the big US. Obviously this is nothing new at all and we didn’t come up with anything novel or insightful; it was just helpful to acknowledge it and share the sadness for a bit.

It really is staggering how you managed to politicize the whole damn thing. From the get go you did a brilliant job of making mask wearing, social distancing, even hand washing, things that cleave along party lines. And now you’re screwing up the vaccine program. Leana Wen shares some very scary math in her WP column today (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/29/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-slow-testing/). She reports that although you all are proudly touting the fact that 2.1 million Covid vaccines have been given in the past two weeks, the reality is that at this rate, it’ll take 10 years for enough Americans to be vaccinated (80-85% of all of US) for us to have enough herd immunity to be safe. She goes on to say that if we’re to get anywhere close to the goal you all set of having that many of us vaccinated by the end of the third quarter (June, 2021), we’d need to be administering 3.5 million doses per day.

I know most of the effort is going to fall to the Biden administration and while I trust that he and his team will make heroic efforts to clean up the messes you made, this six or so weeks of continued f***-up when it comes to responding to Covid will have horrible ripple effects we’ll be feeling for a very, very long time. As you screw around with the vaccine program, the World-o-meter says that another 3,398 of US died from Covid today and nearly 195,000 new cases were recorded. 

Another WP person (not sure which one now) said yesterday that you’re desperately trying to keep the spotlight on yourself as the reality of your growing insignificance sinks in. Unfortunately you continue to do this in ways that put US all at risk and leave many of us doing our damnedest to stay distracted and away from all those ‘mindfields.’

May we be safe enough to feel ok letting our minds wander freely.
May we be willing to do what it takes to compensate for our current POTUS’s “issues.”
May we hold tight and stay strong.
May we accept the current reality as reality but not ever settle for it.

Tracy Simpson

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