Right Now, It’s Like This (pt.2)

It’s been just under two weeks since I last wrote about what’s going on, but reading back that post it also feels like months. Ages. I’ve been working from home almost exclusively since then, stopping in at the office only for a brief moment or two. I got over the cold I’d developed at last writing, and have been fine, but being physically present there isn’t worth the risk. I just wonder what’ll become of my cactus. It’s probably thriving without me there to dote on it.

I’m a person with a fair number of ‘regularly scheduled’ activities and friend hangouts, but those are suspended. Working from home also means I’ve gone days in a row without leaving the house at all, which is unusual for me. It has the effect of blending the days together, which I’m not used to. Last night, in comparing my experiences with Lori’s I realized she’d been through this sort of thing before — on maternity leave. I don’t love it.

At the ends of the days, just before bed, I’ve also been feeling unsettled, tense, and uneasy. It occurred to me that I’m still hanging on to this notion that I’ll wake up the next day and everything will be back to normal. I think I’m suffering because I’m clinging to the hope that this, even though logically I don’t think it will. This pandemic, and our precautions, are set to extend into the indefinite future, and they’re going to leave a mark. We’re not going to be the same on the other side of it.

It seems to me that this is what people talk about when they talk about grieving, but I don’t entirely know what to do with that information. Maybe I don’t need to “do” anything right now, but to open myself up to experiences and feelings the way I tried to when Mom passed; give myself space to get angry, or sad, or reminisce happily, or just feel whatever I feel without judgment.

I’ve got a (video) chat with my counselor coming up. I’m definitely going to be bringing this stuff up.

Let’s look wider. Manitoba has 103 confirmed and probable cases as of yesterday. We’ve officially been in a State of Emergency since the 20th, which gives the government extra powers to tackle the situation. Gatherings are now limited to 10 people or less, so the choir I’m in is almost definitely cancelled (he said bitterly) though I haven’t heard it for sure. The order also came down on Monday that non-essential businesses are to close for the duration, and restaurants have to stick to take-out or delivery only. Somehow, construction is considered an “essential service” so our jobsites are all still going great guns. I heard yesterday that schools are also closed indefinitely. It’s technically Spring Break now, but playgrounds and activity spaces are closed anyway.

I went to the Co-op grocery store yesterday to do our household shopping for the week. Per provincial guidelines, there are handwashing / sanitizing stations in the entrances, and workers are wiping down the shopping carts constantly. There’s signage everywhere about maintaining safe distances from other shoppers and employees, and you’re encouraged to shop alone. Many stores have implemented a hard limit on the number of shoppers inside at any one time.

Inside, the music has been changed from our local country radio station to soothing instrumental guitar tunes interrupted by pre-recorded announcements. The announcements were focused on reminding shoppers about our “current global situation” and things like keeping a safe distance, not touching products you don’t intend to buy, and so on. They mostly ended with a reminder about Community and that we’re all in this together. They were a bit unsettling at first, then started to fade into the background as I shopped. Except! Except for the announcement that tagged on a “Keep smiling!” at the end. Highly dystopian. Do not recommend listening to detached feminine voice reminding me to ‘keep smiling’, zero stars.

Happily, most of the panic-buying seems to have tapered off and only sanitizing wipes were completely out of stock. A lot of stores have implemented policies to limit buying of specific items on a per-family basis. Also, they’re really leaning into grocery pickup and delivery, which is probably something we’re going to keep on doing once the pandemic recedes.

The trip was not tense exactly, but I felt wired up and incredibly aware of my actions and surroundings in a way that I’m not usually dialed into while shopping. It felt like being back in Japan, famously a country of customs and rules and politeness, and feeling entirely too aware of trying to do the “right” thing at all times. People can get used to almost anything. Eventually even this style of shopping will become second nature.

Anyway: Let’s stay hopeful, but realistic, and help each other out where we can.

Thing I Saw: Two Canada Geese on their way North, honking to one another as they flew. They were some distance apart; I guess they get the bulletins as well.

Thing I Learned: A Dazzle DVC100 USB Video Capture device doesn’t get on terribly well with OBS. The Dazzle is for importing console game video and audio to my computer, and OBS is for streaming it online – but they’re so mismatched in age and features that I’m having to tweak a lot of video settings and (apparently) use weird old Japanese programs as go-betweens or something.

I’m Grateful For: After being sick individually and together all year long, everyone in my house is fine these days.

well, we are