How it’s all about risk

October 15, 2021

riskI figured it out. What life is all about. It’s about RISK. How much you’re willing to tolerate.

What seems really risky behavior to me apparently isn’t for others.

Or maybe they don’t see the risk the way I do.

I’m not talking about skydiving or mountain climbing. I’m talking about life in this “situation” we find ourselves in. And let’s set aside (for this post) all the deniers and completely ignorant people we all see.

Shiz happens

This would not be the time I would take a months long trip to Europe. Would you?

With a highly contagious, lethal virus circulating, ICUs strained and infections that break through vaccinations resulting in some serious illnesses, I would not risk international travel right now. And yet, a friend a bit older than we are just did and had terrible luck when hit by a debilitating stroke, ending up in a European ICU.

A med-evac to southern California is next up, when possible. But SoCal’s rate of infection and hospitalization is climbing. So being in a hospital there is a risk, too.

That one decision: to travel internationally, set off a chain reaction of risk. In my opinion.

I know, shiz happens.

But. (PS They’re doing well.)

Is it worth dying over?

riskThis is not the time to risk bad luck. Is any trip worth dying over? Because that’s the real question.

We love to travel and we don’t think so.

No restaurant meal is worth it, either. No family reunion. No gathering of any kind is worth dying over.

But then, we are risk-averse. We had planned to be in our upstate New York home this fall but cancelled our trip when we realized that we would simply be trading one housebound experience for another–and spending money to do that. We’re sitting tight in California, hoping that we might get back east over the holidays, but seeing our hope dwindle as infections increase all over.

About restaurants and bars

Restauranteurs who wanted to open prematurely last year (risking the lives of their customers) were a hot button of mine. And inexplicably, I see people going to crowded indoor restaurants now, as if it were normal times. I’m puzzled. Why take that risk?

We love a good meal out, but will do this rarely and under controlled circumstances: a socially distanced outdoor patio without tent. Masked servers. And we arrive at the earliest possible time when fewer people are there. Our favorite sushi restaurant closed the safest part of their patio recently, although another part is open. This may change our visits there.

Movie theatres may be pretty empty but we are not going to risk it. Not when we can stream so much content On Demand, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime… need i go on?

Bars are just not in our current schedule and won’t be for a very long time. The last time I visited an outdoor patio bar I found it way too crowded and was increasingly stressed by my anxiety over being so close to others who might not be vaccinated.

Beaches and pools? The same.

Look. I get it. On the continuum of risk we are pretty far down the scale toward “no risk.” Our risks are very controlled and even so we are not risk-free. We are vaccinated. And a stray germ could still get us.

“I’m going to just live my life,” say some. We feel like we ARE living our lives, but in a careful way. We do not want Covid. Or to give it to anyone unknowingly. We weigh the importance of what we’d like to do against whether it’s worth dying for. Or infecting someone immunocompromised.

Recent reports that Moderna might pack a tougher punch than other vaccines gives us a little more comfort–it was luck of the draw that we got that one back in March. Everyone was going nuts over Pfizer–thanks to their effective PR machine–but Moderna has just quietly gone about the business of protecting patients, without a big self-congratulatory campaign. Turns out, they may have been the more protective choice.

I get that everyone assesses risk differently. I just wish more people acted for the greater good.
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6 comments on “How it’s all about risk
  1. Susan Cooper says:

    These are our exact sentiments. Very well said.

  2. Kathy borden says:

    I understand your thoughts and felt the same way for a long time! But I’ve loosened up a bit because I felt I wasn’t living the way I wanted and time is ticking away at 68! I’ve cancelled a few trips to Europe but I go to restaurants! I met friends! We are all vaccinated! I see my kids and grandkids! Jan my husband and I are going to Hawaii on Viking and I feel
    Fine about that! Going to Disney in March with kids and grandkids! These are acceptable risks for me I’ve received my covid booster! I will not go to concerts or Church or the gym!
    My Louis tgat covid is going to be around for May years I have to live with it!

  3. Lynda Beth Unkeless says:

    I started one high school in Florida, and graduated from another in California 50 years ago.

    Last spring I made a choice to attend my 50th high school reunion in Florida, and booked the flight and hotel.

    The Florida reunion was cancelled due to Delta.

    The airline would not refund my money (only give a credit that had to be used within a certain time) so I made another choice: to book a flight to Ireland.

    It was my life-long dream to visit the Emerald Isle one more time!

    While in Ireland last week, I read on Facebook that a woman who attended the California reunion died suddenly in a car accident on her way back home to Texas.

    Yesterday safely back at my home in San Francisco, I listened to Irish folk songs and
    thought about the sudden tragic death of my California classmate.

    “There but for the grace of God go I…”

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