Late last night I was thinking, as Will would say to me; what have I told you about thinking. This is our little inside joke we share. I was thinking that this Covid19 Pandemic has change fundamentally the way we live and it is unlikely we will return to the way things were before March 2020.
It has been 10 long weeks of staying at home and only going out for essentials. The word essential has become the key word in our life. Someone is essential or not, shopping is essential or not, businesses are essential or not. All Government directives are based on what is essential or not in terms of services etc.
These 10 weeks which upset our lives are lost forever, we followed the rules because this is what was required in order to stay healthy and not infect anyone if we happened to be Asymtomatic. I believe in Civic Duty and responsibility in such cases so we did it.
However this pandemic also revealed the ugly side of many people, the selfish, self-centred attitude, ME first is their mantra. That is very disturbing to see and hear. People who place the economy first and foremost and do not care how many will get sick and die. The economy is more important, really? Obviously such people do not know that you can’t take the money with you when you die. We have them here on PEI, and such people are a sad spectacle.
But my thinking was more about how our lives had changed, we went in just 24 hours on 11 March from having lots of social activities with friends to nothing, zero, zilch to do. Could not meet anyone, ok will do zoom instead, well it’s not the same. Also having nothing to do plays on your mind. We did try to keep busy and that lasted all of one week. I started to forget what day of the week it was and had to look at the calendar and my iPhone for confirmation. It all looked the same, nothing had any order, time became irrelevant. Streets around us were deserted, no one anywhere, we took the dogs out for walks but it was eerie, no one anywhere, the silence. We have two large parks by the house and the Hillsborough river in front but seeing the snow melt and then the grass grow, the City employees were not coming, garbage collection was cut back, all businesses closed including the bank branch. All of it was very strange and unsettling. The only distraction was going to the gas station to fill up and going to the grocery stores but we were told only once every 2 weeks. Lucky us, we never really had any shortages, though on 13 March we had the great toilet paper caper, that was silly and we all laughed at it, within two weeks that was resolved.
Now since 1 June we are in phase 3 and businesses have re-open and so has restaurants, but we are not going. We will do take out but that is it. Our Club is also re-opening but no we are not going there either. Because of the frustration of being limited in what we could do, far to many people are now behaving thoughtlessly, not observing social distancing, no masks or gloves.
I miss seeing our friends, good conversation, cocktails, birthdays or having dinner parties. I joked in March that this would last 8 months, looks like I was right about that one, it may be longer. What we have now is fear, the fear of getting sick. The fear that something may go terribly wrong. Fear for the future, fear for the economy, though so far nothing major has happened. Yes there is a lot of unemployed, in PEI it’s 20% but it is not apparent so far. Our tourism Season will not happen and fishers are complaining of no markets. People are fearful but what can we do. Everyone is hoping that life will return to some kind of normality, even if this means a new normal. I can see it with the Dentists and Doctors, procedures for patients is very different now. Wearing a mask is not mandatory but strongly recommended. Everything is done through a plexiglass window and there is lots of cleaning going on. It really feels like a twilight zone, a bad dream.
Climate change has not gone away and we see signs of it with strange weather no one remembers ever happening before. We have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we may have this pandemic for a long time, it may not go away and coupled with worsening effect of Climate change, quite the combination.
So on New Year’s Eve I thought to myself what will 2020 bring, I thought well for sure there will be some disaster or incident, something to make us pay attention. Well we had our load of disasters for the year in the first 3 months, from the downing of a commercial airliner over Tehran by the Iranian guards with all those Canadians on board, the month long railway blockades by native groups across Canada over a pipeline in British Columbia, the price of Oil in Alberta dropping to almost zero, the crisis with China over Meng of Huawei and her possible extradition to the USA and then Covid 19. Now our border was closed with the USA in March and will remain so for the time being and all our seaports are also closed until 31 October. Maybe it is a good thing we cannot see what the future holds. I do hope to see our friends this Summer, I miss them and I hope that we will remain safe and healthy.