5 min read

Two Months - Which Feel Much Longer

Reflections after two months of the pandemic.
Eventually, I think this will open the door to a more serious discussion on universal basic income around the world, employees working remotely or fewer hours in a work week, and other changes at a local level. More immediately, I think there may be a rise in creativity on various platforms as people fill their time while in self-quarantines, and a rise in entrepreneurs to find ways to make money in new ways while out of work.

Life is Changing For Us All and That’s Good

March 17th is when I write the above. It truly does feel like I wrote it a long time ago. A lot has happened in those two months, and Canada is now on the cusp of some normalcy. It’s difficult to say what will become the new norm, which has been a regular question of mine over the two months. In some ways, my life hasn’t changed; my daughter’s definitely has.

Two months of homeschooling has created some new habits for Kylie. Morning Zoom calls with her class, afternoon homework, and then more reading in the evening. This past week, the school district has been sorting out what should come next for the kids as restrictions get lifted. There has been a real push for the kids to go back part-time (two days a week, online the other three days). I find myself wondering, “Why bother?”

I don’t think Two Months Ago Me would want that. Having Kylie at home is a real disruption to my work life. It’s been a challenge at times to help her stay on task or try to decipher her teacher’s instructions in French and then explain what needs to be done. It reminds me a lot of a director from my University days, Joey Tremblay: do it like this, but don’t do it like that, plus do it in French.

I’ve been torn on whether to allow her to go back or not. On the one hand, it would be really good for her to see her peers again, to have fun in the classroom, share experiences with her peers that don’t seem to be happening on the Zoom calls. On the other hand, there are all the potential health risks (which, admittedly, are quite low in Kelowna.) The larger issue will be another disruption to the kids’ lives. It’s been bad enough that they can’t go to the swimming pool or their spring break camps, but now they have to switch gears and go back part-time for four weeks, then have two months off for summer break. A lot of other parents are posting on social media with similar sentiments. It’s a tough choice to make.

I know the school districts are treating June as a test for what school may be like in September. It’s a challenge for them to decide on what to do since we’ve never experienced anything like this before. For me, protecting their health (kids and teachers) should take precedence over instruction. I would much rather see the school teachers returning to talk about how to maintain classrooms, how to control the cleanliness of the kids upon arrival, and a system to help kids that do show up not feeling well. I’m not confident that those systems are in place which creates a lot of unease in me.

Schools are only part of the puzzle. I’ve felt more comfortable with other businesses opening again, more so offices and restaurants (with limits), and then questioning how other businesses are going to survive this (gyms and movie theatres being two examples.) I never questioned should businesses re-open until I saw this video clip:

It's not about "reopening the economy." People aren't protesting for the right to BE waitresses and hairdressers, they're fighting for the right to HAVE them. This is about white people demanding service. pic.twitter.com/KMupBTuAha

— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) May 15, 2020

That clip really made me pause and wonder if I have similar thoughts. When I think about what I’m missing and what I’m looking forward to doing, they’re mainly services like Jess is talking about. I miss going to coffee shops and taking a time-out from life. I miss going to Tommy Gun’s to get a haircut and not buzzing my head with my hair clippers. I miss going to Indigo and used bookstores to browse books, thumb through the pages, and see what resonates with me. I’ve been surviving without all those things for the last two months. It’s made me start to think about how a lot of things I enjoy doing out of the house cost money in the end. Sometimes more of a fixed amount that I’m prepared for (haircuts, coffee) and others that I overspend at (books.)

Should I expect others to go to the businesses I’m going to in order for me to have some satisfaction and escape from my life? Definitely not. It makes me question a lot of the relationships we have with work. As bosses, we expect employees to come to work to make the business more money, and also deal with all the issues we (as bosses) don’t want to deal with directly. The employees deal with the garbage tasks, at the lower income jobs, at least. I know employees are going to return to the jobs, mainly because they’ll be earning more than the CERB is paying in Canada ($2,000 per month.) Whether it is safe for them to do so is a different question.

I was hoping that after two months of everyone self-isolating that there would be some clear guidelines on how life should return to a new normal once it was safe to do so. I think we (Canadians) should be thankful that our politicians and health officials acted quickly to shutdown our cities to flatten the curve quickly. I also think we can be a little disappointed in the lack of planning for starting up again. For example, BC’s Go Forward Plan, is fairly broad with no specifics or examples of policies businesses should have in place, only guidelines. Hopefully, more information will be provided as we get closer to June 1st when schools are supposed to re-open and more businesses return.

I think it’s the biggest point of frustration for us all: we all have to wait and see what happens next. That frustration goes away when we remind ourselves that we need to all be thankful we have that opportunity to wait and see, unlike the nearly 5 million people who have tested positive, and nearly 325,000 who have died.

I consider myself fortunate that I have avoided COVID-19 so far, as we all should.

A few videos that I found interesting and fun. There has been a lot of creativity being shown while people are isolating. This first video shows an empty Kelowna. It’s a bit deceiving since it’s shot first thing in the morning as the sun rises. It’s not nearly this quiet during the day, with the exception of the airport. The parking lot that is shown is the longterm parking lot, and most days, it is packed. To see it barren is incredible.

This performance from The Julliard School took a lot of planning and practice to pull off. The end result was well worth it.

It’s not on YouTube, but I thoroughly enjoyed this video of The Anderson Guide to Surviving a Global Pandemic. If you like Wes Anderson films, you’ll love this.

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