Riding High and Running Low into the New Year

If I seem a little taller, it’s because I’m back on my high horse.


We’re not even through the second week of 2022 and already so much has gone wrong. Everywhere kids are home from school or daycare or afterschool programs because they’ve come in close contact with someone with Covid, or they themselves are the viral vector. Employers want to see your negative Covid test … without providing such tests. I spent a half day trying to find a store selling rapid tests since online kit orders now take weeks. PCR test results for those who have a full gas tank or half day to spend in line with sick people now take longer because labs are overwhelmed.


So instead of putting up with this level of disruption, I’m pulling out. I’m waiting until the current Covid surge and testing mania abates and laying low in the meantime. I preoccupy myself with figuring out how to get my training back on track. I’ve done four runs in the past 12 days; that isn’t going to get me where I need to be in eight weeks. (And, yes, this is a first-world problem, but this is also still a running blog.)


A year ago hospitals were care rationing here due to high volumes of Covid patients. This was before vaccines were widely available and so little was known about transmission. That isn’t the case now as we live through another mutation, another panic and a higher failure rate for cloth masks. I understand a sizeable portion of our population does not want current protections provided by a two or three shots in the arm. What I don’t get is why we, as a society, continue begging for them to reconsider. They’ve made it clear they aren’t changing their minds, so we need to change ours. 


It’s time to move on, people. 


Let’s start by requiring the unvaccinated to have more skin in the game. Limit or remove health care coverage for unvaccinated patients who require hospitalization for Covid 19. Few can afford such medical debt, and doing an end run through bankruptcy carries severe consequences too. Life could be very uncomfortable. And the rest of us policyholders might even see lower premiums if non-compliant patients are pulled from the risk pool.


I’d personally ban the unvaccinated from public transportation, but the logistics and liars would quickly overwhelm efforts. So, let’s turn to the private sector – especially airlines – to demand proof of vaccination before boarding, provide flight attendants and passengers more breathing room. There’s already certain entertainers and venues limiting audiences to the vaccinated only. Another option is to do nothing, but matching one form of ignorance with another seems counterproductive to me.


The unvaccinated may demonstrate antisocial behaviors, but they are humans who need socialization too. So, rather than ban them from large events, let’s set aside sections for the unvaccinated (and vaccinated if they wish to join them) and make them sign enforceable waivers that say they can’t sue if they die or become long haulers. (Afterall, runners sign similar waivers saying they won’t sue if injured or killed on a course.) 


With all that said, I think it’s also important to recognize that those who do lose unvaccinated loved ones to the virus suffer deeply. As I told someone the other day: A death in the family is still a death in the family. It’s a major loss and survivors should be shown grace and compassion, not cold shoulders and online harassment. Imagine being the one who must live with knowing someone didn’t need to die.


My biggest fear is that this groundswell of grief and anxiety from those with such strong convictions will manifest as terror – not of a virus but of ourselves. We’re better than this. Or, at least we will be when we finally face how much has changed – and not just for now. 

Photo: Sunset in Leucadia, just before sh*t hit the fan again.


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