by Roxanne Tellier
Okay, I’m tired of the pandemic game now … can we play something else for a while?
I’ll tell you, I thought I’d be just fine with ‘social distancing.’ I’m not great with staying up late; social distancing is how I basically spend most Saturday nights.
And as the daughter of a hoarder, I was weeks ahead of most when the penny dropped, and people got into panic buying. Way ahead of you guys! I panic when I can see bare shelf in my pantry; I like to have at least six tins or packages of our favorite foods tucked away ‘just in case.’
I really thought the libraries being closed would be the straw that broke my spirit, but even there, I’m pretty much covered. Books, DVDs, CDs … I’m better than good. On top of that, there are all sorts of musical and theatrical libraries that have flung open their virtual doors to allow the locked down citizens to wallow in unfettered streams. (And yes – that includes Pornhub …)
Never been big on greeting people with hugs and kisses. The Real Housewives or Kardashian-style easy kisses gross me out. Hey, I don’t know where those lips have been! Like the Georgia Satellites, I’m good when you “keep your hands to yourself.”
With my flotilla of medications on hand, and being currently addiction free, I am, strictly speaking, good to go, as long as Shawn gets out to the shops to bring home some milk and fresh fruit and veg occasionally.
So I really should have no reason to worry. But guess what? I do. I’m worried about YOU.
How are you coping? Are you having problems being isolated, or are you enjoying the quiet? Do you feel like you’re going to be okay for as long as this goes on? Do you have someone you can count on to help you out when you need something – or when you just need to tell someone you’re afraid, and do they think this cough sounds serious?
And what do you miss the most?
Some people are frantic that they can’t get together with their friends and family. It can be painful not to have the comfort of our loved ones when we’re also dealing with so much uncertainty, and fear of the unknown. On the other hand, not everyone has a happy family. I wonder how those families are coping with so much enforced togetherness; are they enjoying a reprieve from the morning madness rush to get everyone up and out, or have they just substituted another kind of busy-ness?
Those who enjoy watching or playing sports, even pickup games, are finding it hard to have an enforced cessation of that diversion. And a lot of kids, who just a month ago were looking forward to summer vacation, are now discovering, to their surprise, how rich their school and social life was before lockdown.
Others wish that the music and theatrical venues would reopen. Three events that I was looking forward to have been cancelled, and won’t be rescheduled this year, which is maddening, but hardly fatal. I’m far more concerned about how those in the entertainment business are going to keep themselves fed and housed without an income. There will be benefits for those hit hardest by unemployment, but when you’re already spending most of your life behind the economic eight ball, things start tight and get really constricted very quickly.
I worry about those on fixed incomes as well; relying on a pension or a disability benefit is a tightrope walk for many, especially if anything disrupts the carefully laid plans of those who know there is just so much money coming in, and bills to be paid, crisis or not.
It was just last October that, following several economic studies, millennials were told that they need to prioritize putting at least 40% of their weekly income aside now, in order to have any kind of pension security when they’re seniors. Tell that to the kid who’s living in a corner of someone else’s basement, and frantically trying to find any kind of job that will allow them to pay for that AND their food.
The stats say that 44% of US residents could not cover an unexpected $400 expense. I’m not sure that there are that many less Canadians who could either, at least based on what I’ve heard people say in the past.
So yeah – I’m worrying about you. I’m hoping that people are coping without accidentally harming themselves or others. Keeping my fingers crossed that those who are healthy and able are sparing a thought for those that could really use a hand in getting through the crisis.
These are difficult times for everyone. We’re not used to this uncertainty in our lives, with no idea of how long it will last, or what changes will come as our dance with COVID 19 goes on. I know I’m going a little stir crazy, and I’m becoming prone to inappropriate laughter and/or tears, though my husband might disagree with that having had a sudden onset.
And though I utterly, thoroughly, completely abhor wearing any kind of face mask, it looks like masks will be in our public future for the foreseeable future, so we may as well get on that.
The plain truth is that we’re in this for however long it takes. We are helpless to change what’s going on in our countries, and must trust in our leaders. We can only control ourselves in this time. We know that many of us will get ill, many will recover, and some will not. But there’s little we can do at this point but wait and see.
Eventually the world will ‘re-open for business’ and, like Queen Elizabeth said in her special speech to the world today, “we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when.”
We have an opportunity to use this time to move from a reaction of fear, to a period of learning and into societal growth. I hope it’s an opportunity we choose to take.