June 07, 2021

Pandemic Reflections

After being pretty much locked down and staying at home for 15 months, it is a relief to finally think about opening up again and moving into the next phase of “normal”.  However, despite being mostly at home for that time, life was remarkably interesting. 

Just as the pandemic was beginning, I lost my job.  No great loss as things had changed dramatically – and not for the better – since the amalgamation 18 months prior.  The good news was that the package I got pretty much set us up with financial continuity for the next 8 to 9 months.  Imagine my relief when I didn’t have to hurry up and apply for the CERB (the emergency relief funds).  I was fortunate enough to pick up a new and exciting, and challenging, position within just over four months.  Not only exciting and challenging, but a new career path in special projects management. 

Fortunately for my husband and his handyman business, he had a client who wanted to do a lot (and I mean A LOT) of work on their second home, which is in our area.  So, he spent his time doing some serious plumbing repair (after the so-called professionals completely ripped them off by installing used parts, among other things); running new wires; fixing up and painting their bunkie; planting trees; and even travelling to their main residence to do a few things there.  The steady work from this couple meant he was not stuck at home, not soliciting new customers, and able to continue getting out for his own mental sanity. 

With the schools being closed for an extended March break that morphed into summer, I spent those four and a bit months at home with my teenage son.  Talk about precious time!   This was truly a gift.  We live in the country so his access to his friends was already limited, but since gatherings with people outside your own household were discouraged and in fact not really allowed, we were stuck with each other.  We had always been close, but as happens in the teenage years, there was some drifting.  Now we had time together to really connect.  Our conversations ranged all over. 

In September the kids were back in school and my project at work was finally moving along due to being able to host small gatherings for community engagement.  However, Thanksgiving came along and people visited families over the holiday, which resulted in a spike in Covid-19 infections.  December came along and even though the government strongly urged people not to gather for the holidays, a greater spike of infections happened along in the new year, which resulted in our province being closed yet again. 

Once again, my teenage son and I found ourselves reviewing his online schoolwork together, and having those interesting conversations.  Probably the most unlikely line of conversation came about as a result of his English class.  There were several readings from a book called simply “Romance” which is a collection of poems and short stories that highlight the romance archetype and the romantic hero.  The big essay assignment had us watching The Matrix with Keanu Reeve and discussing his character Neo as the romantic hero.  We also made a good case for Morpheus as the romantic hero.  Another book they read was “Frankenstein” and at one point we debated Frankenstein’s Monster as a romantic hero.  As I write this they have moved into tragedy and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is up next.  I can’t wait for those conversations.

Now, with the advent of the vaccines, we are hopeful that reopening can be achieved with minimal disruption. 

Speaking of vaccines, and by association, masks, I have been simply gobsmacked by the number of friends on social media who are adamantly opposed to masks and vaccines.  I had a dishwasher delivered and assured the delivery guy that we were all vaccinated (he was hesitant to bring it into our covered porch).  He told me, “I don’t believe in vaccines.”  I said that was his right, but then asked if he had been vaccinated for chicken pox or measles as a kid.  He said yes, that he’d had all the childhood vaccines.  So I said, “then you do believe in vaccines”.  He was pretty young so I assumed that he hadn’t been vaccinated for small pox or polio and I told him the reason he hadn’t been was because people of my generation had all been vaccinated to the point that those viruses had been eradicated so that he and others his age wouldn’t need to go through them.  Then he expressed concern that the Covid vaccines were “rushed” to the market.  I said that it might seem that way, but most vaccines have to go through years of clinical trials simply because there are so few people in the trials.  I told him the Covid vaccine clinical trials encompassed tens of thousands of people, and that it was the single largest clinical trial ever.  EVER. 

Now I know I’m not going to sway anyone with my arguments.  Most of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are so rabid and fixed in their ‘anti’ opinions that nothing I can say will ever change their minds.  He left after telling me again that he doesn’t believe in the vaccine, but hopefully I planted a seed in his mind that will germinate over time.  I have to say though, that what makes me shake my head the most are those individuals who keep saying “Don’t be influenced by mainstream media” whenever I post a pro-vaccine opinion online.  Dudes, I’m not influenced by mainstream media.  If I were, I’d be like you.  I prefer to get my information from the actual scientists and doctors dealing with the virus and with finding a cure. 

Being fully vaccinated gives me assurance as well.  With a sister-in-law and a best friend both going through chemo/radiation for cancer treatment, I can rest easy knowing that I will not be bringing Covid to them.  We still maintain distance and sanitize, etc. but we are somewhat relieved over one less worry.  We regularly bring food to the SIL and my BFF is a widow with no children, so I'm happy to be able to help her.  

So I will keep my mask in place and follow protocols laid out by the province.  I'm not doing it because I'm a sheep.  I'm doing it because I have the faint hope that the sheep may follow my lead.