Yesterday the friend who baked the cake phoned to say that she and another friend who hadn't been able to make the meeting on Sunday were taking M out for lunch. They had decided to go for a meal at the Eating Gorilla restaurant in Penrhyndeudraeth. The table would most likely be indoors. Unfortunately I didn't have a nice smooth polite excuse ready, so floundered somewhat in my explanation as to why I had to decline. I did not actually say all this, but this was what I was thinking.
1. I know two people who have caught covid despite having had both does of vaccine. Until we see whether the vaccine genuinely results in a mild illness, I'm carrying on with precautions. Besides, people who have a mild illness can go on to develop long covid, so I'm not letting my guard down yet.
2. I am out of practice at driving to new places, finding somewhere to park and then socialising over a meal. Being with a handful of other people for 2 hours on Sunday left me completely drained. Also M (whose birthday it was) can be prickly and all the things I'm currently doing are either activities that means nothing to her (making videos for YouTube channels) or are topics of disagreement (the Welsh language). So conversations that include M are particularly exhausting as I search around for things to say and have to run every thought past an internal censor before opening my mouth.
3. (And I did mention this in my rather rambling excuses) Whilst I'd be happy to go for an afternoon tea at a cafe with outdoor tables, I wasn't sure about the choice of restaurant. M is vegetarian and the Eating Gorilla has an entirely vegetarian/vegan menu, but as I'm following a No-FODMAP diet, vegetarian dishes that are, in theory, really healthy, are not necessarily good for keeping my gut happy.
For over a year now, the one (and only) advantage of the covid restrictions has been feeling safe from invites to social occasions. As things open up again, being a risk averse introvert is going to make things difficult, especially as most people are eager to get together after such a long period.