Thursday, July 7, 2022

Call me Buttercup, while I suck it up, by Catriona

With Covid restrictions starting to ease, many of us are thinking of conferences and festivals. What are you planning? Any fond memories of past events you’d like to share?

I'm going to sprinkle this blog post with selected photos of earlier conventions and other gatherings in easier times. Starting with:

Women Kill at Mysteries, Bouchercon Long Beach

I write this in my parents' house in Scotland, where I've been since yesterday. Yayyyyy. I've been in *Scotland* for two weeks, mind you, with my husband (who has gone on to Spain for work). We stayed in a hotel until all his professional mixing was done and then, five days later, negative COVID test in hand, I checked out and landed back in the family home.




And that's not all: a week past Sunday nineteen adults and ten children all got negative tests on the same day and had a family party, at which I met three under-twos I'm related to and had only seen on Zoom until that glorious day.

With Diana Chambers, at Left Coast Crime Vancouver

So I'm feeling pretty lucky right now and I'm not going to push it. I won't be at the Edinburgh Book Festival, or any of the Fringe events, or indeed at any crowded indoor venues (including restaurants) at all. I'm filling up on family and that feels like plenty.

My take on this summer is: COVID restrictions easing is one thing, COVID easing is another and - spoiler alert - it hasn't. (One in eighteen people in Scotland had COVID last weekend.)

Edinburgh Book Festival 2016

So I'm ploughing my own course. If I'm the only person in the room in a mask, so be it. If I upset someone by saying no to an invitation, I don't care. If someone I'm due to hang out with says they won't test, that frees up my day nicely. There's no way I'm bringing COVID home to my 87-yr-old parents if I can help it. (Penny Manson, from my SinC chapter would whittle me into kindling, apart from anything else. She heard my summer plans, fixed me with a glare, and said "You DON'T want to be taking no COVID to your mama." She's right.)

A To-Die-For Panel at Malice 2018

Also, I'm feeling cussed about it now. I haven't had it. I dodged it at LCC (as did we all) and at Malice (as didn't we all) and when that husband I mentioned flew to Florida for a week, then Kansas for another week. At Bouchercon, where I'm planning to be, I will be the one in the mask even if no one else is wearing one, the one not eating inside even if it's boiling hot outside, and not crammed into the bar even when all my best pals have just won Anthonys.

My SinC chapter. Penny Manson, third from left, middle row 

It does take a certain amount of  . . . what would you even call it? . . . resolve? . . . to be a COVID-avoiding outlier as huge swathes of the rest of the world throw up their hands and say "Enough!". (Hint: That's not how reality works. Not even close.) But I've been pretty lucky there too. I've had my comeback line ready for over two years:

    "Why are you wearing a face diaper?"


But I've never had to deliver it. It helps to be tall and "not slight"! And to live in the People's Republic of California. (I was gobsmacked that it turned out to be in Edinburgh, last week, that I finally experienced someone doing persuasion and propaganda instead of information and discussion about a social event. Guess whether I attended . . .)

Left Coast Crime 2015. Where was it????

I'll be as happy as anyone else when COVID becomes a reliably treatable endemic disease instead of what it is right now. Maybe it's the fact that that same husband (now getting his third mention in a single blog post) is an epidemiologist . . . I hear echoes of him teaching his module on "epidemiological methodology" (snappy, eh?) to the students on the Global Diseases major, as he did from our livingroom in 2020. Twice. "Uh huh, uh huh," he'd say. "Do you think the data support that?" I've managed not to say it to anyone in a social setting so far, but my God I think it every day.



Brenda Chapman said...

How great you're able to see your family! I support your efforts to avoid Covid - I also wear a mask shopping etc. and avoid the indoor crowds. Just seems sensible at this point as we're into another wave.

Vinnie Hansen said...

I'm also one of those people who has dodged Covid for over two years. *knocking on wood* I also plan to be at B-Con so maybe we can eat outside together six feet apart.

James W. Ziskin said...

I’m with you. Distanced, of course. My fantasy response to anyone who asks me why I’m wearing a face diaper is, “Because I have Covid. Shall I remove it?”

Catriona McPherson said...

Vinnie - it's a date! Jim, I love your answer. And Brenda, it is wonderful to see them all. Cx