There I was, standing in my closet, picking out a clean shirt and digging into a tote bag to find swim goggles for my first ride on public transportation since March. It was New Year’s Eve, 2020. My beloved in-laws—my angels throughout this pandemic—were grilling up steaks and chicken wings to mark the passing of this dreadful calendar year. Instead of staying home and waiting for my wife, Maria, and our son to return with leftovers, I thought it would be a righteous note to end the year by dining with them. No one else was coming to their house, and we were in each other’s COVID-19 bubble.
While I got dressed and ready, I had to pee twice. I also started to involuntarily cough. It had been a while since my nervous cough surfaced: the first weeks of the pandemic back in late March whenever I got ready for a weekly solo supermarket shopping trip.