We’ve entered the Wild West phase of coronavirus, where total lockdowns have given way to an unnerving liminal space where everyone must decide for themselves the activities in which they’re comfortable engaging. Obviously, not everyone is choosing well.
For those of us still bitterly cloistered inside, it can be a tough pill to swallow watching those who are less cautious resume their lives...until they host a splashy dinner party and accidentally expose all their guests to the virus. I call this feeling schadenrona, or, the secret sense of smugness you feel when someone acting recklessly contracts covid-19. (Of course, this smugness is immediately destroyed when you consider the innocent people who were also unwittingly exposed.)
The Washington Post is here with the perfect story Ashley Taylor Bronczek, a D.C. socialite who hosted a “fabulous backyard soiree during a pandemic” before promptly testing positive for coronavirus.
Bronczek threw a party on June 18 following an online fundraiser for the Washington Ballet, hosting a catered dinner for a couple dozen friends in her backyard:
“It was, by all accounts, a picture-perfect night chronicled on (per usual) her Instagram account. Then Bronczek, 37, was diagnosed with covid-19, along with a few other guests at the event.”
The story is weirdly long, with all sorts of irrelevant details about Bronczek’s social ascent and how she was “the perfect choice to co-chair the gala.” But the main thrust is, of course, that Bronczek missed throwing parties! So she threw one! This turned out to be a mistake:
But Bronczek, apparently restless for a slice of her old life, invited friends to an in-person viewing party and dinner on the night of the ballet’s virtual gala. Some declined, citing health concerns.
“It’s just common sense,” said an invitee. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic.”
Within hours of the dinner, Bronczek began showing symptoms, and was diagnosed with covid-19 shortly thereafter. If hosting the dinner was a poor choice, the way Bronczek handled it was even worse:
But the hostess was slow to share her diagnosis with her circle — fearful of the social fallout, according to some friends, as much as the virus. Eventually, she texted the news, and families rushed to get tested.
And that fallout has been unsparing — not just for hosting the party, but for failing to immediately notify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
“Everyone’s angry,” said one neighborhood mother, who declined to give her name while discussing Bronczek. “Everyone’s trying to figure out who has it.”
The drama! The idiocy! The total disregard for the waitstaff who had to work at this event! I hope that Bronczek learned her lesson, but...I somehow doubt it.