I haven’t blogged in a while, and this last week has been quite a year so far. This is one of the few blog posts I’ve ever started in order to “chronicle” what’s happening around me.
COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is taking the world by storm. It’s started in other countries around the end of last year, then inevitably made its way to Canada and now Southern Manitoba. As of yesterday there are 17 presumptive cases in Manitoba. Where it’s really being felt for everybody is the number of event cancellations, and the relentless (but important) messaging to practice good hygiene and distance ourselves from each other as much as possible for the foreseeable future. Many public spaces and restaurants are voluntarily closed.
We had a spate of panic-buying of supplies & food last weekend, and it seems that’s evened out somewhat as the supply chain is still functioning. Everybody went quite mad for toilet paper in specific, based on a vague notion that we, our nation I guess, were going to run out (and who wants to be without toilet paper?) Flour and pastas were also quite popular, as were hand sanitizers & disinfecting wipes. Stores have implemented policies and posted signs reminding us to only buy what we need and not stockpile, because that really isn’t necessary and of course impacts people in the community disproportionately.
Bottled water was also very popular, and I’m not entirely sure why. My best guess is that making sure they’re well-stocked is something that people feel they can Control, in these unsettled times, and any measure of control you can gain on a situation is gonna be a plus.
And of course, things are tense. There’s a nonstop flood of discussion and breathless updates everywhere you turn, and misinformation is out there too. The atmosphere becomes oppressive. Seeing the way an event like this bring out the worst in certain people, the isolation, the…up-ending of normal society. I was at my worst on Monday, listlessly trying to shop in an electronics chain store in the mall (which is now closed until further notice). New gadgets or games are my go-to when trying to distract myself or somehow soothe the uncertainty of modern living, but it hasn’t really been working. I’ve tried hard to curtail my consumption of the news, but even so, my favourite online spaces for video games or silly jokes have been taken over by constant reminders of the virus.
Here at home we’re tense too. Cassidy is blissfully unaware, and her biggest problems are power struggles over how much Mario Odyssey she’s allowed to play and what happens when you put cucumber slices in your glass of milk. We totally want to keep it that way for as long as can. This whole thing will be a distant memory to her, though she may live with the fallout forever. Lori suggested that this would be the sort of event that we’d mark historical time with, like pre- and post-9/11. I’m in daily discussions with the management team at our business about how to keep jobs moving while respecting employees’ and customers’ health, as well as the safety of the office. Lori just had her first hospital shift in a while and says the mood is “heavy” — people waiting for the shoe to drop and things to get uglier.
I’m taking a day off today, but I’ve got a scratchy throat brewing and I may be working from home after today. Guess we’ll see.
Thing I Saw: A Gentylle Dogge curled up next to me on the couch while I blog. He gets a skritchy now because he is cute.
Thing I Learned: A good thing you can repeat to yourself to help calm down is “Right now, it’s like this.” This helps bring you an awareness of how things are in the present moment, rather than letting your brain run all over time and space. It also acknowledges that what’s happening now isn’t permanent. Read more about mantras if you want! (h/t MetaFilter)
I’m Grateful For: The resources and ability to work from home, and that our livelihoods isn’t currently threatened by the pandemic. We’re truly privileged that way.