I woke this morning to the smell of disinfectant. I used to like that refreshing, reassuring smell of clean after a weekly scouring. Now that I am at home like everyone else, I have the time I don’t usually do, to wipe surfaces and spray doorknobs, handles, stair railings and light switches once a day – twice when one of us goes out to grocery shop and on those days, I sanitize the interior of the car. I’m not in love with that clean disinfectanty smell anymore because it’s constant and it signifies a really dark time on the planet. A time, quite frankly that was going to come sooner or later.
When I am not de-germing, I think about life and how we got to this point. Life today is so fast. Information is so immediate and mistakes humans make are there on the internet for all to see and re-see and this accessibility takes up so much of our time. It takes time away from conversation, and work and our families. It took a virus to keep us at home and re-acquaint us with ourselves, with our children,noticing how much they have grown and changed. It took a virus to gather us around the kitchen table for more often than for just a hurried breakfast and dinner, maybe in our usual rushed way of living. It took a virus to lead us back to our hobbies and passions and forced us to be creative in a time of need.
Yet, some of us can’t listen, obey, comply or think if not of ourselves, of others. This virus has shown us how kind many of us are and how selfish some of us can be. It separates the ignorant from the knowledgeable, the leaders from the followers and if you look at the news and at some of the people in the grocery store who still don’t understand social distancing, personal space and separation, you’ll see that many of them resemble sloths.They have what I call sloth face – blank stare, clueless, slow moving, stalling for minutes in front of a product, handling it, hugging it, in some cases smelling it – it is amazing to me how stupid and downright inconsiderate some humans are. I don’t know how people aren’t finding things to do at home, especially in such a high speed digital world. How can being at home be so difficult when I’ve seen people out in public in regular times, glued to their phones. We still have cell phone service and data and wifi so now that we are home, we actually are in less danger of getting hit by a car, or falling off the side walk while texting. There is plenty to do at home, believe me! And for the phone addicts, maybe they can try something new, like reading a book. But instead, the stupid humans are looking for loop holes in the protocol, thereby running the risk of contracting and spreading the disease and possibly killing someone we love.
My mind also wondered about industry. With a shortage of medical supplies, mostly because the world relies on importing goods made with cheap labor from the East, the people able to heal us are left poorly protected and at risk of contracting and spreading the virus as well. It is time for Canada to make our own supplies. We have many abandoned factories as a result of American companies pulling out of Canada in favor of cheaper far East or Central American labour and as I recall, there is a particular former auto plant in Oshawa, uselessly empty. We have college graduates and trades-persons in need of employment. We have the bodies to create a manufacturing work force to make medical supplies in Canada and we should – not just now, but moving forward. We don’t need to import things we can make here. I say pay Canadians to make what Canadians need. We rely too heavily on cheap crap from overseas. Any political leader in any future elections who’s platform includes making that happen on a large scale in this province/country, has my vote.That way we can flip the bird to America and it’s impostor of a leader and take care of our nation’s needs Let’s face it, Trump has been (badly) impersonating a president for 4 years and is such an ignorant hindrance to us so many times. He is at best an ignorant bully, voted in mostly by trash.
Moving forward, we have to change the way cruise liners are operated with regards to disease. A cruiser myself, the company we travel with is quite clean but new ways of boosting hygiene and stepping up disease prevention must happen. The way we dine out and commute and shop has to change. I thing the queuing and cart and hand sanitation must continue long after this virus is conquered. I think when you are sick, especially in North America, you should stay home from work, school, activities. That’s what sick days are for. Also, sick days should not be abused because it make it worse for everyone when privileges are abused. If you must go out when you are sick, wear a mask. Trust me, if frivolous aesthetics are your concern (hmmm…who recently said that this week when he publicly said he wouldn’t wear a mask) know that for many of you who think like that, a mask is a damn improvement. Spare us all your face and your germs.
Having time to slow down and take the time to think has happened to me a few times in my adult life and it’s not a bad thing. Surgery, child birthing, raising a special needs child, raising my other child, not having work for a while when we moved more than once, waiting on a terminally ill parent to pass, living in Montreal during the ice storm….I have had my moments of doing nothing and getting by without human contact or certain material things. I am still here. I have learned something valuable from all these moments and I am learning a lot from this pandemic now. Humans need to be slapped in the face by disaster to recognize what they could do better. This is different from a typhoon, hurricane, earthquake or a tornado. This is affecting every one of us on the planet and we have to change how we protect ourselves from disease. We have to stop black market sales of the things people will consume to achieve virility, longevity and hocus pocus cures for diseases or defects. We need to not be medieval in our thinking and trust the proven facts that exist; facts that can protect us. We have to want less material things and work harder to sustain the things we need like clean air, clean water and a clean environment. We need to stop taking shortcuts and we need to take ownership of the things we do wrong and fix them.
Looking out the window, I see birds going about their springtime business, the sun is shining and the wind is gently winding it’s way through branches speckled with buds about to bloom. As the branches nod in the breeze, a chubby rabbit hops up onto the top level of my back deck and is staring straight into our kitchen as if to say, “hmm…still stuck in there huh? Your species needs to rethink some things,” And before I can get my camera (because I too don’t know how to leave things to memory – plus we have to prove everything to each other with visual evidence on Instagram) he hops down the stairs and out the back gate which someone has left open. The rabbits and birds have their freedom. They can go wherever they want just like we could 3 weeks ago. But the spread of this disease is our fault. Humans are incapable of listening, reasoning and following orders for our collective good. I have heard and read stories of people who lost loved ones, pining that they could not be at their side to take their hand, kiss their foreheads and usher them out of the world with love. And while people do die instantly and unexpectedly sometimes, the saving grace of illness is that at least, someone you love could be at your side as you leave your life. This virus has taken that grace away. We are a highly emotional species, yet we don’t take into consideration how we react when our loved ones die…we keep doing the wrong things, over and over and over again.Then tragedy strikes again, we are emotional again, we ask “Why, us?” again, and in two weeks we are back to doing stupid things.
So as we move into week 4 of being at home, we spend time with our family members, we find ways to pass the time and we make the most of this time of re-connection with the people in our home. We re-connect with those far away by phone or computer and we try to stay upbeat, positive and push our creativity to a new level. We have learned to determine what things in our lives are non-essential and moving forward we probably will choose to continuing living without them. We will watch this disease ravage the world and watch as some of us just live like we just don’t care. We watch them spread disease and we watch people lying in hospital struggle to breathe and watch as others are wheeled away shrouded to be stored in a parking garage, an arena or a refrigerated trailer – people who were perfectly fine just days or weeks before. We will watch day after day, hoping in our hearts for an end to this brutal time, thinking of doing the things we love to do and never taking those things for granted again. We will tell our family and friends how much we love them more often and I feel many of us will emerge from more grateful for what we have and who we have in our lives and we will be more appreciative of every person, every place, every action, every bit of joy and beauty around us.
Those of us who survive will have to change. We have to do things cleaner, better and more responsibly. Let us think of ways we can change the way we do things in our lives which will change the way we affect others. We have lots of time to think. Today is a good day to start.