Politics and religion are two subjects that everyone knows are best left out of polite conversation. They can cause consternation, as people can have very strong differences of opinion. There are also other topics that fit into this realm of “off-limits”.
In fact, pretty much any emotive topic that challenges a personal belief can lead to raised voices and arguments. Such topics are best confined to familiar surroundings.
The pandemic has added a few topics to this “best-avoided” conversations list
Sometimes things get added to this list unexpectedly. It can go like this. Person A makes what they believe to be a seemingly innocuous comment about a topic, but gets a completely opposing view in response from Person B. The situation can then be exacerbated if Person A defends their position which further aggravates Person B.
I, it appears now naïvely, made a comment about the slow pace of the Irish vaccination programme to a relative abroad
The pandemic has added a few topics to this “best-avoided” conversations list. Leaving anti-vaxxers to one side, to my surprise, vaccination has joined the list. On this subject, I recently found myself as Person A.
I, it appears now naïvely, made a comment about the slow pace of the Irish vaccination programme to a relative abroad. The response from Person B: “I won’t be getting it unless I have to travel”.
This induced a spluttering: “Bbuuttttt WHY?”
The reasoning was given: “There is no disease in the population so why get vaccinated?”
I argued my point. Vaccination helps protect the vulnerable in society who can’t get vaccinated or those with compromised immune systems.
The resultant “We will have to agree to disagree” was achieved by dropping the subject.
In truth, my argument is semi-irrelevant in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine as, thankfully, by the time the HSE gets to my name on the list the majority of the vulnerable people will be already vaccinated. The vulnerable protecting the healthy.
And when it comes to the vaccine in Ireland, the more off-limits topic has really been – “Who gets it first?” But let’s confine that to the list.
How the past 15 months have impacted on people has been very different and intensely personal
The other pandemic item that seems to get peoples heckles up, or provokes an out-pouring of very specific personal opinion, is on the topic of “What will happen after lockdown?”
How the past 15 months have impacted on people has been very different and intensely personal. There is the section of people who have cut out a commute to and from an office and have never been happier with their new way of living.
Each group is justified in feeling the way they do
An example of this is our cover feature, cellist Patrick Dexter who has seen his dream of living and working rurally become a reality due to the pandemic. Then there are others for which the solitude and mundanity, or worse, has been a nightmare. Each group is justified in feeling the way they do and should not have those feelings disregarded as the country reopens.
Katherine in her column this week says that with COVID-19, “the handshake is probably gone”. But I see people on social media in other countries – either vaccinated or where there is “no disease” – sitting together, embracing, living life as we all once did. So in this instance Katherine, you and I will have to, respectfully, agree to disagree.