On February 29, 2020, Pete and I threw a party. We drank pints with dozens of our friends all night at Dovetail Brewery. After closing, we filled our home with friends till it was late: sitting with drinks on the floor, playing card games next to folks on the sofa, making cocktails in the kitchen.
I keep thinking about that party. It wasn’t anything unusual. We dressed up, we were happy to have our friends and community all around us. I hugged my friends. We drank beers with friends. We welcomed people into our home. We talked about future plans–when we’d travel, when we’d see each other next.
It was just obliviously joyful, celebratory, and fun. We didn’t know what would happen in the next two weeks; none of it felt risky, illicit, or dangerous; and the social distancing requirements were… distant.
And that was the last time I saw most of those people. That was the last time I went to a gathering with more than 10 people. That was the last time I had anyone over to my house for drinks. That was the last time I hugged anyone who isn’t Pete or our two cats.
Within a week of that party, I had stopped shaking hands. People had started stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Two weeks after our party, Pete and I began working from home. Two and a half weeks after our party, the stay at home order began in Illinois.
On February 29th we threw a party, and I’m so glad I didn’t know it was the last one.