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Last week, my husband and I attended a family party in New York. Joking about “social distance,” family members did refrain from hugging as enthusiastically as we might ordinarily have done, and the cousin who had just returned from Milan was mock-shunned and chided for not informing us of his travels before he had intruded into the new, six-foot diameter personal space bubble we’d been told we should maintain around ourselves.
My husband and I got home from New York just as the cancellation cascade commenced and things began to look less ha-ha and more serious. Family e-mails have been arriving daily, offering health updates; one family member has a slight fever, everyone else seems okay, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Had we known then (that is, two weeks ago) what we know now, the party might have been canceled altogether. Certainly, my Milan-visiting cousin would’ve been politely un-invited, or offered the option of virtual attendance via Skype. After all, the focus of the party was my aunt’s 85th birthday. She’s hale and hearty, but … she’s 85.