City Mouse, Country Mouse – Covid Edition

Submitted by a country mouse

During the covid era, I appreciated living in a red county in a purple state that is trending red. Comparing stories of limitations, lockdowns and mass behavior, I realize how lucky I am. Kids had activities and schools re-opened. We had mask mandates, but they lifted relatively early. The state lockdown ended late in ’20 and most people were over it by summer ’21. This is not the case everywhere. My wife and I know this. A visit from my parents revealed how our nation is divided into two populations shaped by geography, media consumption and paranoia.

Pre-flight Facetime Call

“So did you vaccinate the kids,” my mother asked.

“No, kids are super low risk. I don’t like what I’m reading about side effects in teen boys, too,” I answered. They just stared at me on Facetime.

“Why are you so anti-vaxx,” my dad asked.

“I’m not. Didn’t I tell you and mom to get vaccinated as soon as you were eligible? It just doesn’t make sense for young people to get it. Long term side effects for you, ehhhh, who cares because you might be dead in 10 to 15 years, us we would have to live with the unknown downsides,” I shrugged.

“That’s not nice to say, like we’ll be dead in 10 to 15 years. C’mon Jim,” my mom replied. My dad nodded his head with his serious look. Note to readers, my parents are both 70. I’m afraid my parents are both Boomers who think they will never die of old age.

Arrival was joyous and everyone was happy to reunite. They had seen us months before after their vaccinations when the entire media and government message was that Americans could relax because vaccines were here and America was open for business again. America was back, remember that month?

Day Two

“You’re not gonna believe what happened at the gas station,” my mom said with decaf in hand because we don’t have decaf in the house, “This guy asked me if I was going to wait for the governor’s permission to stop wearing my mask! He then asked if I was from Chicago!!!”

“Yeah, masks have become political and it’s different out here,” I answered and cast an eye at my wife.

“That was rude, why would he say that? That’s all you can say,” my dad asked.

“Did you two say anything,” I asked back.

“No, we just paid and left,” my dad replied.

I assume my parents media consumption does not include the weekly freak out videos from masked people losing their cool and accosting unmasked Americans in stores, on planes, on sidewalks, in restaurants, and just about everywhere they can.

“Well this isn’t St. Louis, this isn’t Chicago. Look around, people don’t wear them except our really old population. Yeah, that’s forward of him to say, but you know the same thing happens when someone goes to a city? It happens all the time. Different areas have different norms,” I shrugged again and saw my wife crack a smile.

Day Three

My youngest son sneezed. My dad stared at him a second and then asked if he was ok. My little 5 year old smiled, what else was he going to say? My dad moved on the couch a cushion over and got back to watching Encanto. The extra two feet must have made him feel safer after snuggling with my son for the first hour.

Day Four

My youngest son spends the day randomly sneezing but in good spirits and high energy. We think nothing of it. My teenage son shows my dad the new video games he got for Christmas and mentioned feeling tired. My middle son coughed. I did not know this was the calm before the storm.

Day Five

My youngest son was still peppy but sneezing. My middle son was lethargic, but painting a birdhouse with my mom. My oldest son slept in a little longer than usual. He came down and plopped himself on the couch. It took an hour but my dad finally cornered me.

“Are you going to test Sammy,” he asked referring to my youngest. As this is my child, I know he is a sneeze factory all winter.

“No,” I answered, “Look at him. He is perfectly fine besides sneezing maybe, what, once an hour. He did this all Christmastime, too.”

I texted my wife. If my dad asked, he must have done post-game analysis of the sneezing situation last night with my mom.

Dad asking about testing

OMG I knew this shit would happen

I know. I wouldn’t for a 5yo but they are visiting

Aren’t they boosted

That doesn’t matter

IKR

I’ll grab a home test and we can wait. I’m not testing a 5yo

I told the house I’d grab some tests just in case. My dad came with me. He’d pay for those. We walked into a Walgreens, me unmasked, him masked up in a fabric mask he was using on their last visit. He also grabbed some digital head thermometer and some Pedialyte. He bought the 12 tests on the shelf. Yes, 12 tests.

I waited to see how the day unfolded, and my oldest was definitely down for the count. No other symptoms besides low energy, but if there was a child I felt comfortable testing and having them understand the test, it was him. Just after dinner, I explained to Mike that we would test him. He got it, and I told him it was for his grandparents’ peace of mind. Fifteen minutes later, he tested positive for covid.

“Dad, I have to tell the wrestling coach for exposure at last practice. I can’t go to the meet tomorrow. ARGGHHHH, I hate this stupid virus,” he stomped around the dining room and returned to the living room, “Now I can’t go to Kyle’s birthday party. We can’t do anything with this stupid thing. I hate this. I don’t want it, and who cares anymore! Half the team had it in December, I can’t give it to them!”

He buried his head into a couch cushion and punched it a few times. My other two boys were ignorant of the situation, and they went back to playing. I patted him on the back and told my wife to text Kyle’s mom that Mike wouldn’t make it. Then my dad decided to console Mike. My mom had her head in her hands.

“Don’t be upset buddy, you have a low chance of dying,” my father said. This made my son lift his head up and have a weird, horrified look on his face.

“Hey bud, go upstairs and let your teammates signed on Fortnite know,” I ordered him.

“He doesn’t have to go upstairs,” my dad said, unaware he unnecessarily told a teen he had a low chance of dying.

“No, he should,” I grabbed Mike’s arm and guided him to the staircase. He hustled upstairs. Tired or not, he still had speed for running to his Xbox. When I turned back, I could see my mom shaking, likely crying. I gave my wife a quick look, and in nearly 20 years of marriage, the silent communication is pretty solid. She grabbed the younger two and told them it was time to get pajamas on and do nighttime fun upstairs. My dad was consoling my mom.

“For two years, I’ve done everything right, been extra careful, this is bullshit,” my mom was angry and upset, “When do I test? Like test now or wait?”

“Well you were exposed a couple days ago, so I’d wait two days so you don’t get negatives but really do carry it and then fly home,” I advised.

“I’m not flying with it. I’m going to be responsible,” she answered.

“Yeah I get that, you could always fly out tomorrow morning and take a chance before any symptoms show,” I offered.

“Yeah we could do that,” my dad answered. Obviously, all his news watching didn’t inform him that you are contagious two days before symptoms show, but at this point, I was willing to take the chance that their vaccines might work. My parents went silent. My dad went to his phone and checked their flight schedule.

Everything was pretty quiet downstairs as the kids had fun upstairs and went to bed one by one. Everything was fine until about 9pm when my dad started coughing. It couldn’t be the coof yet. He kept coughing. After a minute, he walked to our kitchen sink and vomited.

“Dad, hey dad, please run to the bathroom. There are dishes from dinner, the splatter,” I asked and walked towards him.

“I… I can’t make it,” he replied. I plucked a sports jug from the cabinet and handed it to him. I grabbed him by the armpits and walked him to the bathroom door 10 feet away. I was doing heavy lifting because his steps were weak and wobbly. He made it and proceeded to vomit some more.

“Ma, this isn’t covid. Did he eat something weird? It was pizza and garlic bread,” I was really confused. I rinsed the dishes in the sink and put them in the dishwasher. A swirl of dishsoap and spraying down the sink disinfected it.

“Oh he did this last month, too,” she answered. Then it clicked. It was not dinner. Last month, there was a covid exposure scare around Christmas for my parents. My dad was not sick at the idea of my kids having covid. It was fear that he’d get it. After a few minutes, he rejoined us. They sat on the couch in silence. I excused myself to see my oldest before lights out.

“You okay buddy,” I asked as I entered the room.

“Dad, I don’t even feel sick, just tired. I’m just pissed off,” he answered, flexing the teen vocabulary a bit.

“Kyle’s mom already said she cancelled. Two other kids have it, too. Probably all got it at wrestling. They will reschedule for February. The Laser tag place is booked for two weeks,” my wife assured Mike, and this seemed to please him. We shut Mike’s door and we chatted in the hallway.

“It’s morbid down there. My mom is angry but isn’t crying anymore and my dad puked,” I let her know.

“He puked,” Jenn asked.

“Yeah I had to carry him to the bathroom. I had to come up here to hide my amusement,” I said and raised my eyebrows.

“Aren’t they vaxxed and boosted,” she asked with a smile, “They’re fit, they’re healthy, what are their chances? 1%? Maybe Mike could tell them they have a low chance of dying.”

“Babe, I know. Don’t get me started. Everyone they know, even my great aunt who is 87, has recovered from it,” I answered with a little exasperation, “Two years and they don’t know a single death!”

“They need to get a good night’s sleep and relax. Can you believe he told Mike he had a low chance of dying,” she said.

“Yeah I know. It’s why I sent him upstairs. This evening, all this shit in a slightly stressful situation, is my entire childhood in a nutshell. It’s ’88 and I’m playing adult in the room again,” I informed her. She gave me a hug and we went downstairs. The rest of the evening was uneventful.

Day Six

The morning was a sequence of checking temperatures of everyone like we were in Singapore and debates about when my parents should test. I grabbed our calendar and told them just to reschedule their flight for the next weekend. That would give them enough time to have symptoms and recover. They didn’t want to make moves yet until one tested positive. After all, why spend the money on rescheduling until they had to? Consideration for additional time with their grandchildren was not part of the debate.

It was around dinnertime when they decided to test and once my mom’s came back positive, they didn’t waste a test on my dad. Would we want to test the rest of the family? No. We assumed we’d all get it.

“We have Vitamin C, D, NAC and zinc if you want to take those with dinner,” I offered.

“Why,” my parents both said with a confused look.

“Oh those are just good to take when you get covid, just like any other cold, to help boost the immune system and fight the virus,” I answered. Actually treating your body is not part of their covid approach. This might be a blue state blind spot. My dad and I went to Walgreens again to get some Sudafed. He was still debating flying out himself and leaving my mom here. I saw a Few Good Men opportunity.

“Well ya know dad, if you are confident in that vaccine, mom could fly as wasn’t the vaccine supposed to prevent transmission, and heck, you won’t even get it,” I played dumb.

“We just want to be responsible,” he answered.

“Oh of course. No need to freak out. As you said, only the unvaccinated are dying, you’re set, just be good to the kids,” I looked for Sudafed.

“Just be sensitive to mom,” he reminded me.

“It’s really good she’s vaxxed. She has nothing to worry about, right,” at this point I had to suppress laughter over last night’s antics and the switch from my son having a chance of dying to now being cognizant of my parents’ chances of dying despite them vaxx shaming me a week earlier. The trust in vaccines was resting on a slender reed of repetition. A trip in the middle of a winter wave was their idea, but I now believe the vaxxed and media consumer crowd did not anticipate a winter wave like last year. They really did think the late summer ’21 wave in Southern states just like summer ’20 was due to Southern stupidity not seasonality.

We returned home and my parents decided to reschedule their flights. This was a 20 minute process, where they expressed anger that they had to be charged for a rescheduling since they had covid now. They were being responsible and good. To hear them, the airlines are so despicable, and it was bad enough they had a rental car to pay for that they didn’t even use! Now I did remind them that it was their choice and all Americans are aware that some people are flying positive or not. I reminded them that it is weird how they could go anywhere they wanted in America right now since they are vaccinated despite actually having covid. This paradox was lost on them.

Days 7-13

Each day was the same. My parents had minimal symptoms. My wife caught it too, but had very mild symptoms. Everyone took vitamins, everyone took naps. I managed to avoid it. I told my wife that even if I did develop symptoms I would deny I had it just to mess with them. We kept performing temperature checks on the hour. At the end of the week, they were still shocked I had not caught it. I reminded them that I did catch covid last spring at the tail end of the winter wave, so maybe my natural immunity protected me. They did praise the vaccines for working since their symptoms were mild.

“It’s just cold symptoms. That’s what covid is. A bad cold. These supplements and the naps are getting you through it. Like only 3% of people get hospitalized,” I said.

“Well the vaccine is working,” my mom said.

“No, it did not work since you still caught it,” I said.

“But it’s working on us,” my dad replied.

“So it’s not a vaccine then, it’s like a pre-infection therapy,” I asked.

“I guess,” my mom answered. They don’t know what they got injected with.

There was nothing to note for the actual symptomatic period except for my parents’ reliance on watching the national news. We used to mock the GI Generation for reading newspapers when no one else did, and we will repeat this with Boomers and the nightly news. After one such broadcast from that wonderful teleprompter reader Lester Holt, my dad said, “Man, don’t you feel bad for nurses.”

“No,” I answered plainly.

“Really why not, they are busy. This is wild,” he replied.

“Well if they are busy, the hospitals could hire more, but they don’t. In fact, we bailed them out last spring and they fired nurses. They didn’t hire them back. They just use traveling nurses now to handle covid waves. Did you know about the 6, 8, 10 grand a week they pay those nurses for 6-8 week contracts rather than staff up,” I explained. The confused looks meant this was not part of their newsfeed. All they know is what the screen shows them at 6:30pm.

“If the National Guard is doing anything at these hospitals, why don’t they hire back the nurses and CNAs they let go with their vax mandates? Why not hire full time nurses for the job,” I asked. No answers.

“This, it’s just really stressful for them,” my dad answered.

“Yeah this is crazy times,” my mom added.

“It can be. It’s like ER but real. This is the dramatic moment they’ll always remember being a part of. It’s like being in the military during wartime versus peacetime,” I was not going to get through to them. It was bad enough that each day they’d keep clear of whichever kid was coughing or sneezing more than the others as if they could get infected again. Maybe I was too hard on them but when we caught it in ‘21, they didn’t check in with us or ask what we took for it. They did remind us to vaxx.

They took off for the airport early one morning and hugged and kissed their grandkids goodbye. We waved to them through the window. Five days of the mildest of symptoms. Five days and it was over. The city mice took off for their blue zone, returning to the land of masks, passports, and paranoia. All that paranoia for five days of low energy and two days of a stuffy nose. One day of coughing. Country mouse was thankful for living where he does, but he has a strong feeling the city mice are not aware of the physical and mental prison that they not only endure but relish.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Lil Tony says:

    Lmao at

    >Don’t be upset buddy, you have a low chance of *dying*

    To me that really captures the whole thing. The studied ignorance, the inane faux-compassion (not that your parents aren’t caring people, but this certainly brings a crazy thing out of them, they’re being misled instead of well-led in their old age).

    My own parents are entirely casual about the virus, perhaps as anti vax in practice as me, but with a much more elaborate hidden world built up around it (graphene, 5G and more). It annoys me less than if they were TRUST THE SCIENCE boomers, but I do see a lot of wasted energy. Don’t take it, don’t jump through the hoops, but literally also quit obsessing over it! They’re too fanciful to be persuasive, and this is something where persuasion can save lives.

    Like

  2. miforest says:

    sad sad commentary . what utter and complete brainwashing . they are deep in mental illness now. Stockholm syndrome on steroids. best of luck to your family .

    Like

  3. Tunisias says:

    >“So it’s not a vaccine then, it’s like a pre-infection therapy,” I asked.
    The term is prophylactic, which you correctly surmise, is a type of therapy.

    Like

  4. Sarah says:

    So sorry you have such dumb parents. Very sad.

    Like

  5. Lamprey Milt says:

    This was spectacular. Thank you for posting.

    Like

  6. Cthulhu says:

    Ponce de Leon was right, the Fountain of Youth is in Florida, these days it seems like everyone who lives there is two years younger!

    Painful jokes aside, this was also my exact experience. Caught COVID while out with friends, never realized it, unknowingly spread it to my family, everyone had a fever and felt sick for a day and just like that it was over, same for vaxxed and unvaxxed. Same for all ages. Pandemic cancelled, good luck picking up the pieces everyone!

    Like

  7. NC says:

    “Note to readers, my parents are both 70. I’m afraid my parents are both Boomers who think they will never die of old age.”
    Afraid to die, well that’s how 3 of 4 my parents/step boomer are.

    Dad/step dad and step mom all think if you aren’t vaxed you need to lose your job and be isolated form society.

    So now I only have 1 parent I talk to. Pitty, but I’m not going to bow down to some rebel from the 60s that is a full on conforming commie now.

    Like

  8. divcurl says:

    This story is very similar to my experience with my in laws. My own parents are ‘country mice’.

    They pride themselves on their education or liberal enlightenment or whatever but in reality they just watch CNN or BBC 24 hours a day. I’ve listened in on it – just repeating the same fear-hype nonsense over and over. What a waste of time and brain cells.

    Their eyes glazed over the one time they asked me something about the vaccines and I brought up ribosomes and amino acids and stop codons. I didn’t finish explaining. They only respect me because of my graduate degrees. My wife, who has a M.Sc. and has written libtard-coveted peer-reviewed papers, does not get the same respect and they told her that she had to ‘stop doing her own research’ and sent her that infamous article. How insulting.

    Meanwhile, our young son caught non-covid pneumonia twice and they were not really concerned at all – neither about my son’s health or their own health ie. catching pneumonia from him. At least it’s not covid, right? And when he has a normal runny nose, they put on masks. I know they’re lying when they say they’re only concerned about giving him covid, when in reality they’re only concerned with themselves.

    Like

    1. Snotslugger88 says:

      “Dad/step dad and step mom all think if you aren’t vaxed you need to lose your job and be isolated form society.”

      Big demands for people who raise other peoples kids lol.

      Like

  9. LIL TONY says:

    An under remarked aspect of the covid thing is that the sanest people on it, on average, are women who’ve had kids. Normally women are crazy herd thinkers, but something about this, it just DOESN’T WORK on mothers, or at least it works less well on them than the typical psyop works on the typical woman. Much to consider.

    Like

    1. Snotslugger88 says:

      I can not confirm that since wamens with kids are very easy to emotionaly blackmail with nonsense like “you are endangering the health and safety of my kids if you don’t wear six million masks and get a bazillion booster shots”. There is no more sane in this postmodern hellscape.

      Like

  10. Snotslugger88 says:

    I hope this is all a fictional account because these parents sound like total pussies i would do everything to avoid. My brain freezes just trying to imagine my dad or any of his pals saying a thing like “that was rude”.
    Also my mom was once escorted from the airport because she got into it with a TSA employe and calling her a fat black beast years before the covid scare. So any mandates and rules regarding covid where out of the question from the start.

    Like

  11. Milarpa says:

    This is a great example of why the right gets caught up with anecdotes instead of using actual data to form the basis of knowledge on a given topic. I find it funny that you point out the rudeness of your father towards your son about the low chance of dying due to Covid, but seem to ignore that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when you talk to your parents about long term symptoms. Come on, mom, you’ll be dead soon is what every parent wants to hear. I would guess regardless of how soon they’ll be dead, they’re somewhat worried about the quality of the rest of their lives, which seems reasonable to me.

    I also find it strange that the “do your own research” crowd consistently and predictably cannot seem to understand the simplest parts of medical science, like vaccines. I understand the desire to neatly package all of the world’s problems into some grand conspiracy that you can wrap yourselves up in like a blanket, never having to broach the discomfort of actually addressing real issues, but I would like to think we are better than that. Although I’m sure I’ll just be dismissed as part of the psyop, please seek to abandon the more fantastical aspects of your worldviews and join those of us who live in reality so we can start to build better lives together.

    Like

    1. DocSmith says:

      “Build better lives together”

      “Civilization is the emasculation of Men”
      J LaFond

      Like

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