Every few hours, it sinks in – this incredible awareness that the global pandemic (COVID-19) unraveling around me isn’t a dream.
Why is this not a dream?
I’ve watched enough Netflix and government crime shows to know that the virus never gets this far – but, apparently not this time. This time, we’re dealing with a global pandemic that is about to shut down the economy and disrupt everything we know.
In some ways this is amazing – wow, talk about an opportunity to re-evaluate the shitty role we play as caregivers of this planet. But, in another way, it’s a holy fuck, I’m not financially prepared for an economic crisis. The last 6 months have been tough with railway strikes, my surgery, and protests. We have pulled our savings to survive, and started reconciling debt and paying it off. I started a new job (that I love) and finally found the kids full time childcare (that costs more than I currently make).
I knew shit was going to hit the fan when WHO announced a pandemic – that was the code word needed for countries to take this seriously. Because really, we were just crossing our fingers hoping that this would resolve on it’s own.
Because the flu kills and nobody does anything to reduce the spread. COVID-19 is not the flu. It’s an entirely different beast. It’s crazy how little we know about the virus. I feel like each day something new is coming out. It lives long on plastic/glass but not cardboard. We need to be well over 6 feet away from each other. Maybe it lingers in the air. Maybe it doesn’t. Washing our hands is important but it doesn’t do enough. So what is it? And what is it trying to teach us?
I bought groceries… On Thursday morning I bought enough groceries to survive a month (aka pantry staples). On Friday, I drove to my parents in Chilliwack. I figure, if we need to practice social distancing, I need to do it with the support of other adults. This ask – to stay at home and avoid people – is hard if you have two wild kids and snow on the ground. We’re in Chilliwack where three other adults can help entertain my kids, and when the wind dies down, we can play in the grass.
Then the world panicked and raided the stores – either nobody is prepared either, or selfish-ness and hoarding is a primal instinct for too many. Today, we went back to the store for food at my mom’s house. The pantry was getting sad looking. It was weird. There were no carrots, potatoes, garlic, or bags of apples. There were no eggs, butter, meat. The freezers were barren. The canned food and macaroni stash was low. It reminded me of the one day I went to the story after a wave of wildfire evacuees in 2018, but 25% worse. There was still lots of food remaining, but it was a weird sight to see. The store was quiet. The cash registers smelt like clorox. People put off a weird vibe – not of panic but of uncertain.
Things are changing every 3 – 6 hours. It feels like a game of copy cat. One brand takes up the courage to say – we will only be open 5 hours a day. The next brand says – WE ARE CLOSING FOR TWO WEEKS. One state says – all restaurants and schools are closed. One province says – all schools, daycares, post-secondary are closed. Then it just dominos. We know whats coming – state mandated quarantine.
Why? Because people don’t listen. They just go do things. We don’t know who is infected and who isn’t because the testing process is not wide spread available. We know that many people could be carriers and have very few symptoms. But, we also know that people who know they have COVID-19 get onto planes, go to brunches, and visit with friends and family. So, here we are. Just tackling a pandemic.
How am I handling it? Not well. I’m naturally anxious and my super power is thinking of a million different scenarios and playing them out in my head. That means that I’m constantly buzzing and my ability to focus on things that actually matter is HARD AF. I used to think I wanted to do crisis management PR, but maybe I’m not cut out for this – it’s hard to focus on the task at hand like writing this blog post expose of a day in the life of a Canadian during the 2019 virus pandemic.
I’m worried about my kids. Suddenly we are washing our hands. We can’t go do fun things. Mom is always checking her phone for updates. There’s panic in her voice. She’s rationing the milk. They are little but these are the moments that impact their lives forever. How do I parent without making this a traumatic scenario? And if tomorrow’s announcement is the closure of daycares, how do I work and not loose my mind…
I wrote in my journal about all the scenarios.
I’ve come to peace with most of them.
But, I’m still worried about food.
The unknown economic impacts.
If I’ll ever have a job in communications after this.
Silly things that I can’t control.
I’m sleeping at night.
I’m also worried grandparents will die.
But I try not to think about that too much.