The Luv Doc: The Social Distancing Police
Reading a couple of coronavirus listicles on Buzzfeed doesn’t make you Anthony Fauci any more than being good at Madden NFL makes you Tom Brady
Dear Luv Doc,
Since a few weeks ago, me and my neighbors have been getting together for "socially distanced" happy hours - usually in a front yard or a driveway. Everyone has been good about keeping separation and not touching shared surfaces. The only exception is our next door neighbor. She is an animal lover and routinely goes around to pet everyone's dogs. She does try to keep a safe distance, but I am worried she might be unknowingly transferring virus through the dogs' fur. I would like to bring this up with her, but my husband says there is almost no chance she could be spreading the virus this way. Almost isn't good enough for me. Should I say something to her?
– Slightly Unhappy Hour
Should you say something to her? I don't know. Maybe ... if you want to be the Social Distancing Police. I'm sure that will make you the most popular person on the block. Everybody likes enjoying front yard cocktails with Hall Monitor types who feel like it's their job to tell everyone how to behave. That must be the reason they are popping up on Facebook these days like Whack-A-Moles. Thanks, Narc-y McNarcerson! The rest of us were utterly incapable of googling "coronavirus prevention."
Look, I know your concern for safety comes from a good place. I know you don't harbor any ill will toward your dog-stroking neighbor. She probably finds interacting with other people's pets soothing. For a lot of people, pets are just exorbitantly expensive anti-anxiety treatments. Sure, you can drop some major coin on Xanax or CBD oil, but can you dress them up in an adorable, ridiculously overpriced pope costume? Didn't think so. Then again, Xanax and CBD oil won't shit on your brand new bathroom rug. Other people's pets don't cost you anything unless they bite you, and you can hire a lawyer for that, so maybe your neighbor is onto something.
I think it's a healthy instinct – at least socially – to have held your counsel thus far. If you find yourself pissing with glee at every new opportunity to tell other people what they can and can't do, you might want to recognize and reel that shit in – for your mental and physical health as well as theirs. Reading a couple of coronavirus listicles on Buzzfeed doesn't make you Anthony Fauci any more than being good at Madden NFL makes you Tom Brady, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that experts generally agree you are unlikely to get the coronavirus from petting a dog. See? I might be a fake doctor, but I bet I am every bit as qualified an epidemiologist as you and your husband.
You're not comfortable with the risk. I am not sure I would be either, so here is what I recommend: Next social distancing happy hour leave your dog at home; safely out of reach of your emotionally needy neighbor's possibly virus-covered hands. There you go! Bob's your uncle and whatnot. Conversely, you could put on your orange safety vest and tell your neighbor to quit petting everyone's goddamn dogs. I am sure everyone will recognize that she's the crazy person.