In a liquor store, tired of following pandemic arrows to nowhere, I say:
“I’m looking for a dry Riesling…”
“Well, I don’t drink it.”
“But isn’t your job…
“… to help people with their wine selection?”
“Well, we don’t have tastings during the pandemic.”
Finally, she points at a dry Riesling bottle.
Moving to the cash, I’m asked:
“How are you doing?”
It’s the familiar routine. I understand. But who wants to answer that question right now? Who wants to keep lying?
I’m being melodramatic.
I answer that I’d rather not answer that question, and follow up with: “how are you doing?
“Not great in this place.”
All three of us are not doing well. Clearly. And we certainly did not make each feel better this morning.
But there’s noting out there to make us think we’re not alone feeling this.
It’s still all “look at all the many beautiful places I can drive to”, “look at the great meal I made”, “I sew masks”.
Every once in a while, you see a “number to call for your mental health”. Would you call?
Of course not. That’s for people who have no one.
It reminds me of my dad who drove his entire life and kept telling me it was just great to have to take the bus.
There are special activities for children, the elderly, students…
If you don’t fit in these categories… you’re out of luck.
Schools will open this fall. There will be no patios, no parks to sit in for any amount of time (I think the city even removes most benches).
We’re to think that all is normal.
It won’t be. It will be quite different, not likely good different because everything is still seen through the “normal” lens.
There is no innovation, no creativity from any level of government.
Schools, hospitals, clinics, etc. are to make do with the same amount of money in facing never seen in over a 100 years challenges.
The media sphere (social and not) is still filled with “all in this together” when at this point, most of us have seen that we’re on our own come hell or high water.
Personally, come October, I will not be seeing any of the 3 friends who have been “brave?” enough to see me in a park over the summer.
I spent 3 months (March to June) not seeing anyone I knew outside of a video call. I’m now facing many more months, including holidays like this.
I’m not alone.
Our voice just isn’t out there. Everyone else is too busy clinging to normal or fighting against those who do.
At the best of times, dark winter makes us want to scream at the top of our lungs.
People are already tired, resentful, fearful and lonely. How will the next months amplify this?
There is nothing there for most of us to hang on to.
The only governmental refrain is filled with “getting the economy going” and “keeping businesses open” and gibberish about schools.
But small and medium size business owners are super stressed, their employees bearing the brunt of their bosses and customers’ worries.
It’s not enough.
We need creative solutions to the issues will be facing.
But we can’t have solutions until we admit there are festering problems, identify them, and start talking.
Politicians can’t figure it out? Not surprising, like the heads of public service organisations, they are the winners of the current normal.
Then, crowdsource for the love of all that is good.
Stop hiding your head in the sand.
Invest in something else than construction and businesses.
Municipal councillors are the closest to their population. How about setting up some social distancing park meetings while the getting is good? Then virtual town halls, leveraging social institutions’ help – not everyone has access to a computer and wifi. Still.
Better equipped people than me, with a terrain view could come up with much more viable ideas.
There just isn’t a platform for them to be heard.
Governments need to invest in a different way of life.
We’re running out of time.