Welcome. Who knew this time last year that we would be entering an era that will forever change the world. Last December we watched the news to learn about a super aggressive virus that was devastating China.
Here in the new world, we sat smug in our homes eyes wide open amazed at the deserted streets of a huge city. The governments of the western world seemingly ignorant to the possibility that such a virus would ever be able to land on the shores of Canada (and the United States). Our lives went on as usual December 2019. People went to work, parties, travelled internationally – yes we still allowed for flights to land on our soils from the infected countries. Remember – this will never reach us.
Come January – early February we hear of cruise ships out on the seas with this new virus. Infecting passengers faster than any norovirus ever did. (Come on now, we do know that a cruise ship even in the best of times is really a floating petrie dish). And still somehow flights from the most infected countries are still landing on our soils. My family cannot possibly be the only people watching the news and wondering why on earth we are still letting them in. We are an ocean away from the hot spots. Surely the Pacific and Atlantic must be a large enough buffer to keep us relatively safe.
By end of February it was clear, well at least in our house, that things were heading out of control. So, we keep doing what we always do. Keep your hands to yourself, wash up often, bleach door knobs, light switches. Ok… so in all fairness my mother is a germaphobe at the best of times and the cleaning regiment never really changed. In the past she was well known for disinfecting food court tables and chairs in the mall, airplane seat buckles/arm rests/table trays , the railings in disneyland. All the typical OCD Mom stuff.
By first week of March she says, it doesn’t look good, we should get some extra groceries so we won’t need to be out every day, maybe some seeds for veggies in the garden – spring is coming. We watch, rivetted as the case numbers are posted each evening. She says, if the numbers rise exponentially we better hope we don’t need a Dr for any other ailment. By mid March she comes home from work and says “it must be bad, the churches in Abbotsford are closed today”.
By end of April we are in this surreal state of lockdown. A weird version of house arrest where some people are so fearful that they will lock themselves down the hall from the their housemates. Others keep going to work and just avoid the close talkers.
School is closed, so are restaurants, theatres, sports, most shops in the malls, gyms, pools, bars. Well, you name it. If you were not selling “essential” items (wait as deemed essential by the government) you were closed. The governments start to hand out money left right end centre. (Sadly, as a teeneager I do not qualify for these payments but I know I will be paying it back til the day I die with higher income taxes and probably a rise in the gst by next year – money does not grow on trees.)
The graduating class at our local high schools all mourn the loss of the traditional events, many with no graduation ceremonies, no awards banquets. School administrators scramble to do their best to balance a flood of angry emails from students and parents. All of whom are just mad and don’t have anywhere else to vent. (Mr.P – we know you are doing your best, but sometimes you can’t help crazy). Money is spent on prom gowns that mostly hang in their garment bags in the closet. Yes, definitely a prom for the history books.
Summer comes along, as so does lockdown fatigue. People are going broke, businesses pushed beyond the point of no return. The retail landscape will be forever changed. Just look at the list of bankruptcies… Haggar, Swimco, SPF Cards (Carlton Cards) and others on the brink with NOI’s filed – Geox, Ann Canada (Ann Taylor), Stokes, Bouclair, Bentley Leathers. And the list goes on. As if brick and mortar retail weren’t taking a big enough hit by online ecommerce already.
We are now 9 months into “the” pandemic. The restrictions continue. Mandatory face masks, no gatherings , and in some areas people are reporting tickets and fines as neighbours call out neighbours.
They are rolling out a vaccine. Funny how up until very recently it would take years to produce viable safe vaccines for diseases and viruses and now, in a year where seems like everything has gone to down the tank there are multiple companies producing this and pumping it into the eager populace.
This too (probably) will pass. But things will never be the same. There will be more controls and checks to make sure you are vaccine carded before attending certain events, or maybe even needing to submit blood samples and fingerprints before crossing any border. (Hey, who here remembers how pissy everyone was before the privacy act came in – how dare you ask for my email at the crafters store.) Maybe, just maybe… these distopian themed movies and stories were more forshadowing that one would like to admit.
I hope that the anthropologists are now all researching the demise of all the great ancient civilizations and drawing parallels. I also hope that the theologists are checking their bibles to see if this is just the penance for greed and corruption.