Before the coronavirus, there was something I used to worry about. It was called screen time. Perhaps you remember it...
Now I have thrown off the shackles of screen-time guilt. My television is on. My computer is open. My phone is unlocked, glittering. I want to be covered in screens. If I had a virtual reality headset nearby, I would strap it on.
— Nellie Bowles, Coronavirus Ended the Screen-Time Debate. Screens Won.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how life was shifting for us all and how it can become a good thing. Those two weeks seem like an eternity ago now reading back through it. Everything that was happening then was a shock, now it’s the new norm. When I read Nellie’s piece about disregarding the limitations on technology before COVID-19, I could relate. I, too, have succumbed to bad habits.
The last two weeks were supposed to be spring break for my daughter. They certainly started off that way, and then a day or two into the first week, the BC government closed the schools indefinitely. I wasn’t prepared for a regimented day of learning so the first week was admittedly rather slack. We did go out for walks almost every day to get some fresh air, but our options are rather limited. I live in a condo building and don’t have a yard we can hang around in.
A large part of her day was spent in her bedroom, chatting with her friends on Google Duo1 who are all stuck in the same situation. They were spending their time sharing videos, music, talking about what they will be doing after all this, and so forth. It was interesting listening to them talk and be able to hang up, then return at a better time without missing a beat. It was also annoying to listen to, but anything to occupy my daughter while I try to work and study, which means trying to avoid all the other temptations surrounding me.
Keeping my daughter occupied is one thing; it’s been a challenge with myself too. I’ve been watching The National on CBC more often than I have in years. The full telecast is now completely about COVID-19, in Canada, the US, and Europe. It’s hard to watch because the situation isn’t improving very much, especially in the United States. Twitter (my main news source) has been a bit draining to read through as well: stories from the hospitals, stories of people not following social distancing, economic problems from small businesses to people being laid off, and so on. It’s emotionally exhausting.
This is definitely a first world problem to be drained reading about the bad news rather than experiencing it first hand. Kelowna and the Okanagan hasn’t had the spread like other areas of the world. When I last hit publish, Canada had experienced eight deaths. As of today, we’ve reached 214. Following the United State’s line of deaths, this is the point where things really took off for them. 208 on March 19th, 301 two days later, nearly 1300 in a week. It’s impossible to say whether Canada will be like the United States or will be more like South Korea that peaked a month after their outbreak started (with fewer deaths than Canada has now.)
I can’t control what is happening in the world or my city, only how I respond to it. Right now, I haven’t been responding as well as I would like to. These situations are demoralizing for us all. Watching the death counts grow, wondering how much the next pay cheque will be or if the money will come, how to pay rent, how to teach our children at home, and so on.
Everything that’s happening makes it so easy to sit here scrolling the news feeds to see how it’s affecting everyone else and end up doing nothing at all. I set out with the good intentions of being productive and creative, but find myself questioning whether it really matters anymore. While I battle with myself over that, I need to keep improving upon having a frictionless life that I wrote about earlier. Being in self-isolation provides a lot of time to think about that.
I feel powerless during these times. I don’t have the means to contribute financially to the charities and workers that need it. I have to remind myself to do the best I can with looking after myself and my daughter, while practicing social distancing and keeping everyone else safe. It’s the best thing any of us can do for everyone.
The last few weeks has been full of news about COVID-19,but also full of creativity with how people adjust and make parodies about our situation. There are quite a few funny videos published, but I’ll highlight a few of my favourites, starting with the last real show of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that was recorded in an empty theatre.
I really enjoyed this family singing ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables.
And don’t miss Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare soliloquies on Instagram.
There was also this informative video about how the coronavirus attacks the body from one of my favourite YouTube creators, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell.