I spend my time doing a lot of dumb things, like composing eulogies in my head for people who are very much alive, that I may (or very well may not) be asked to give.
These days, I worry a lot about this: When COVID breaks, everybody’s going to be mad at everybody else for not traveling to see them first.
“You went and saw _______ before coming to see me? After a year and a half. Seriously?”
I’m pre-eminently banning that. I’m demanding that we all follow what I used to call “The Guy Rule,” until I realized long ago that guys don’t actually follow it any better than women do.
But The Guy Rule holds that you’re simply not allowed to act butt hurt about being overlooked, about not being invited to a thing, about not being chosen for this or included in that.
That doesn’t mean you are not, in fact, occasionally upset about same. But life is too short, drama is too dumb, people have lots on their minds and you know you ought to have been too busy with your own amazeballs life, to notice. So pretend you didn’t notice, and move on.
This is going to be tough, after COVID. Before COVID, the most common sentence exchanged between family and friends was, “We never see each other enough!” And the second most common we, “It’s been too long!”
Well now it’s really been too long, and it will be impossible for all of us to ever quite catch up.
So please don’t take an inventory of other people’s priorities in their impossible efforts to catch up with the people they want to see, the places they want to be and the air they want to breathe.
Please don’t tell someone she should visit her family before taking a sailing trip with her buddies. (That goes for you, too, sailing buddies, if she bails on the trip at the last minute to go see her brother.)
Apply The Guy Rule.
In fact, let’s rename The Guy Rule.
Let’s simply call it the Post-COVID Social Protocol.
And let’s please, please, please not ruin our first year of freedom by making it a referendum on how much everybody matters to everybody else.
It’s not a contest, as my mother used to say.
And if you make it one, everybody’s going to lose—and you might just lose everybody.