Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on March 23, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


“The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind” 

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

We’ve all heard this distinctive refrain many times. We first experienced it when we were children and then relived it when we had children of our own. What would life be like without a road trip? Easier on the nerves for one thing! There is nothing like travelling with a car full of excited children as you head down the highway with your hardtop camper heading to a campground. As much as you try and cajole your children, you are telling them a bold-faced lie when you suggest to them that it will only be a short time before you reach your destination.

It’s sort of like Covid.

“Are we there yet? Is this damn thing over? Can I resume my normal existence?

Ubiquitous. Adj. Present, appearing, or found everywhere.

Snap quiz. If this was 10 years ago, what would be the items that you might see most often discarded on the side of the road? A Tim Horton’s cup would be at the top of most people’s list or a McDonald’s wrapper. You would also likely see a few empty Keith’s beer cans and in this part of the world, an empty Captain Morgan rum flask would be a certainty. Speaking of Tim Horton’s, their loyal patrons are none too amused that the coffee chain has abandoned their “Roll up the Rim” cardboard coffee cups. “Say it ain’t so.” Company officials tell us that it is because of Covid. They don’t want staff handing lipstick smudged pieces of the rim. Consumers have far more troubling conspiracy theories, but I must admit that I haven’t sat in a Timmies in a while to hear the armchair “roll up the rim” experts expound on their theories.

Unmasking Covid.

A few days ago, the province of Nova Scotia announced the lifting of many Covid restrictions. The gloves are off, and so are masks.

Last week, I was out for my daily walk. Recent rains and mild temperatures melted away most of the snow, exposing the dregs and detritus of another winter, including blackened clumps of snow, soggy cigarette butts, and plastic bags.  The usual suspects were laid bare but then I started noticing Covid masks and because small things amuse me, I thought I would start counting the discarded face shields, all the while thinking about the people who left these face coverings in their wake.

Undoubtably, many of the masks ended up on the ground by accident. They may have fallen out of a lady’s purse or a student’s knapsack. Others might have fallen from a coat pocket after a trip to the grocery store. I think more than a few, may have landed in a snowbank on purpose in an act of defiance or outrage. One can imagine (no we can’t) an exhausted health care worker leaving the hospital after spending a 12-hour shift in an ICU, treating a Covid patient, and having had to wear a hazmat suit, only to be accosted by thugs protesting mask mandates. Rather than just throw our masks on the ground as a health care worker might be inclined to do in utter frustration and despair, a few people may have been inclined to roll up our masks and stick it in one of two orifices of the protestors.

So, what are the stories of the people who once wore these seventy-four (74) masks I spotted on my 90- minute walk?

Here’s a sample. All stories and characters are fictional.

During the pandemic, Jill was considered an essential worker stocking shelves at a grocery store. Jill was not eligible for the CERB or any other government programs. She had to go to her marginally above average minimum wage job and be exposed to shoppers, many of them annoyed because (gasp!), the store had the affrontery to place directional arrows in the aisles, upsetting their well -known route around the store. Jill, indeed, may have been one of those mask tossers at the end of her shift.

Jack was entering grade 10 when the pandemic struck. He was well into his school year when he was sent home in March of 2020. He did his schoolwork as well as he could from home but with poor internet, distance learning led to many a frustrating day. The rest of his high school career was like a revolving door, with school opening and closing in fits and starts. Somehow, Jack and many other young people like him, will feel like they got short-changed on their education when they graduate later this spring.

Molly is a musician. In 2020, her promising music career came to a grinding halt. The talented singer and guitar player had every single gig cancelled for the balance of the year including dozens of live performances, her bread and butter now that the music industry had been eviscerated over time making CD sales as extinct as Tasmanian emus. Things look more promising heading into the summer of 2022, but two years is a long time without a gig and the oh so important element of a live audience.

Suzanne is a single parent with three young children. She was busting her ass working in a pub trying to give her children the best that life could offer when the pandemic began. She was good at what she did and the salary plus tips gave her a better than average living wage. In short order, she was homeschooling three children and living on 30% less income. She was grateful for the Federal income support and like many single parents had always been a good money manager. But being surrounded by her children 24/7 brought its share of fatigue and agitation.

Martin is a senior citizen and suffers from depression and anxiety. Thankfully, his public library had been his refuge for many years, giving him a place to go for friendship, free internet, and a reason to get up in the morning. Sitting at home and watching daily press conferences for the better part of two years has been very detrimental to Martin’s health.

Julie and Jeff had been dating for years and finally decided to get married. It was scheduled for June of 2020. They booked a facility in the Highlands of Cape Breton and had many outdoor activities planned for their guests. A well -known Celtic band would provide the music for the reception. Excitement was building for this epic day in their lives. Covid dashed these dreams. They had to make a choice of a very small event with only a handful of family and friends and no live band or postpone. They decided to delay and hope to get married in the summer of 2022.

Eric was admitted to a nursing home in the fall of 2019. At 90 years of age, he had a number of physical problems including mobility issues which forced the family into the difficult decision to put him in care. Eric settled in quickly but not long after, started to display some symptoms of dementia. His large extended family, many of them who lived within a few hours of the home, were very attentive to their father. It was not uncommon for him to have two visits in one day. When Covid struck, nursing homes were some of the earliest facilities stricken with the virus forcing them to go into lockdown. No visitors were allowed. For days on end, Eric stood at his window wondering why his family had abandoned him.

That’s only 7 of the 74 masks. One can only imagine the stories of the remaining 67 and the millions of others around the world.

Many of us have been inconvenienced by Covid but for so many others, Covid led to unimaginable despair, destruction, and death.

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

We’re getting closer to returning to normalcy but we’re not quite there yet.  The next few months could be difficult with the relaxing of restrictions. Covid has not gone away and there will be more sickness and death before we reach the endemic stage of the virus.

Spring has arrived and a time for renewal.

Hopefully we are close to unmasking Covid for good.

Have a great weekend.

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