Because I’m retired and living in fortunate circumstances, I haven’t been directly affected by the pandemic. The worst effect has been the weekly grocery shop and having to cancel a week long holiday planned for the end of March. Boo-hoo.
But reading and hearing about what’s happening in the rest of the country and around the world has made me think about things. For what it’s worth, here are some of those thoughts…
- The speed and magnitude of the lockdowns, quarantines, closures, and other measures was amazing. Maybe this will show us how to change in order to slow climate change, which is potentially a bigger threat than Covid-19.
- The pandemic has held up a mirror to our values. In Canada, and maybe other countries, the most severe outbreaks have been in long term care homes, prisons, and meat plants. Quite different situations, but with some things in common — people in close quarters and/or workers who are poorly paid. Care home workers are kept to part time by their for-profit employers and therefore must work in more than one facility to make a decent living. Meat plant workers live in crowded conditions because they can’t afford better accommodation. Guess what happens.
- Grocery shopping has become an improvisational absurdist play. People wearing masks dart around following arrows on the floor. If they meet someone else in an aisle, they recoil in horror, but can’t turn around without going in the wrong direction.
- Every evening at 7 p.m., I grab whatever pot is in the dish drainer and a wooden spoon. I go out on my back porch and bang the spoon against the pot for several seconds. Then I do the same thing on the front porch. A cacophony of jingling, rapping, and banging resounds through the neighbourhood. No howling, although sometimes I hear a dog barking along. It feels like the right thing to do, but from another angle, it’s absurd.
- Before the pandemic, most people were using reusable shopping bags. Now those bags are forbidden. Most stores here supply paper or single-use plastic bags. Paper bags are way less functional because they lack handles and get soggy if wet. But at least they really are biodegradable.
- Vast amounts of PPE (personal protective equipment) are being used and discarded worldwide. Much of that stuff contains plastic. I don’t know how it’s disposed of, but I think incineration would be the best way, especially if it could generate energy. But I suspect the stuff gets landfilled, along with all the single-use plastic bags everyone’s using again. Masks have been washing up on beaches. Not good. On the other hand, fossil fuel consumption is way down.
- When I read or write fiction now, I have to keep reminding myself it’s okay for those fictitious characters to go out and get close to one another.
- I keep hearing that people are dreaming more. Some think this is Mother Nature sending us messages. I think it’s because people who are working from home or no longer working don’t have to hit the ground running any more. They can wake up slowly, which means they remember their dreams. Dreams are slippery things, quickly lost in the transition from sleep to waking.
- Opening things up will be more complicated than shutting down was. By now, the people in charge may be getting decision fatigue. Let’s hope they don’t mess up.
- The role of the car is being questioned. Does commuting make sense any more? Will people keep working from home, at least part of the time?
- Even after restaurants, gyms, and spas reopen, are people really going to rush out and patronize them? Some may prefer to wait for the vaccine. Many of these businesses may disappear forever.
- What if there is no vaccine, though? We may return to the situation that prevailed when “the plague” was an ever-present threat, like war and famine. (Or flood and fire.) In any case, there will be other viruses and therefore other pandemics.
- Wearing masks when you have any kind of respiratory illness will become a normal practice. Designer fashion masks are probably available already.
- On September 11th, 2001, when I arrived at work and heard that both the World Trade Center towers had collapsed, the first thing I thought was This will change the world. What’s happening now will change it even more.
- People in the future will probably look at the late 20th century and the first couple of decades of the 21st as a lost golden age.
What about you, fellow bloggers? How are you weathering the pandemic? Are you looking forward to things going back to normal, or wondering if they ever will?
Featured image: Hubby Buns baked May 2nd, 2020